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Christian Bradley West

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Collecting Stories Part 6: To Theme or Not to Theme?

This series chronicles my (and I hope soon others') journey to becoming an art collector, with the goal of demystifying the whole concept of collecting. As you will see, I do not have an art history background, and I do not have Picassos covering my walls. There are just pieces of art that I love, and I buy them. That is collecting. See? Not so scary.

Previous installments in this series discussed how I started buying art, some embarrassing early purchases, how I learned about editioning, and building relationships with the artists I collect. In this post, I'd like to talk about themes in art collections. Many collectors I know have themes they collect within as a way to narrow their focus - photographs of musicians, black and white street photography, still lifes. . . anything really. Some may focus on a very specific time range and origin (1890-1920 American paintings, for example). But can you collect without a theme?

Hells yes. My theme has been the "everything I love" theme. And it is diverse, because my tastes range from straight documentary-style portraits to dreamy, etherial images to just about anything that makes me feel something. However, over time I have realized there are some types of images I am drawn to over and over again. My former gallery manager once pointed out my over-the-top affinity for forlorn women and birds. I also love beds and windows and intense portraits, often of rough-around-the-edges men. I don't only collect these things, I just tend to be drawn to them. I do have a bird room though (after my husband said, "can you at least put all of that bird sh*t in one place?").

an recent image of a wall in my bird room (rearranged constantly),   featuring Joshua Meier , Rachel Chabot, Tristan Spinski, Christian Bradley West, Angela Bacon Kidwell (x2), Kathleen Robbins, John Bohannon,   not pictured: Keith Carter, Randi Lynn Beach

an recent image of a wall in my bird room (rearranged constantly), featuring Joshua Meier , Rachel Chabot, Tristan Spinski, Christian Bradley West, Angela Bacon Kidwell (x2), Kathleen Robbins, John Bohannon, not pictured: Keith Carter, Randi Lynn Beach

I love white on white or mostly white images, and I recently realized I had quite a few of these and/or snow photographs. Recognizing a mini-theme, I decided to hang several of them together, similar to my bird room.

clockwise from top left: Ben Huff, Sarah Moore, Sarah Moore, Daniel Coburn, Maureen Drennan (waiting on another piece. . .)

clockwise from top left: Ben Huff, Sarah Moore, Sarah Moore, Daniel Coburn, Maureen Drennan (waiting on another piece. . .)

And then when I purchased my beloved David Hilliard, Anna Walker Skillman (owner of Jackson Fine Art) suggested I hang other photos with kids in them (seems I had a bunch of those too) on the wall with it.

counter-clockwise from the top left: Brandon Thibodeaux, Mark Steinmetz, Daniel Coburn, Daniel Coburn, Joshua Meier, Mark Steinmetz, David Hilliard

counter-clockwise from the top left: Brandon Thibodeaux, Mark Steinmetz, Daniel Coburn, Daniel Coburn, Joshua Meier, Mark Steinmetz, David Hilliard

So don't get hung up on rules. Just buy what you love!

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Walk Away With Art, Send Me Off With Love

I am so fortunate to be part of such a warm and supportive community.  The last few nights have been incredible - a small send-off party co-hosted by a dear friend and a long-time project supporter on Tuesday night, and then the big Walk Away With Art Party + Fundraiser on Wednesday night.  I am exhausted and glowing and ready to hit the road. Here's the language from the Walk Away invite, to give you an idea of the awesomeness:

Walk away with an original piece of art from one of Atlanta's hottest emerging artists and support an important arts-forward cause at the same time.  

This is your chance to party it up in style and then literally take the art off the walls when you go.  For $100 per person ($125/couple) you can be a part of this unique event.  It's going down Wednesday, March 27 from 7 to 10pm at the W, Midtown.  

Fifty pieces of art (five each from ten Atlanta artists) will be on display and ready to hit the door with you.  Walk Away ticket holders will draw a number that determines the order they can select from the fifty pieces.  (Any white-elephanting or bartering that happens after the selection is on you!)

Walk-Away-Artist-Collage
Walk-Away-Artist-Collage

Supporter tickets are also available at $25 per person.  While you won't be able to snag a piece from the Walk Away, you will being able to enjoy the party, and there will be plenty of amazing pieces of art to bid on during the silent art auction.

On deck are complimentary drinks, live turntable action, and a silent auction, which also benefits Crusade for Collecting.

It was absolutely the most fun.  Since I typically just work with photography, it was really exciting to have a chance to collaborate with Atlanta artists of different mediums, all of whom I have long-admired and in many cases can call myself their collector.  We also were fortunate to have great sponsors - W Hotel Midtown, Binders Art, Cathead Vodka and The Atlantan.  Also a special thank you goes out to Liz Lapidus PR for doing a great job promoting the event and even landing me this tv interview!

All photographs taken by the talented Joey Appie: http://www.joeyappiephotography.com

artist-huddle
artist-huddle
Stuart Shapiro from Binders and his wife check out the silent art auction pieces
Stuart Shapiro from Binders and his wife check out the silent art auction pieces
Cathead Vodka sponsored the event and mixed up the “Crusade Cocktail”
Cathead Vodka sponsored the event and mixed up the “Crusade Cocktail”
More silent art auction lookers
More silent art auction lookers
Guests could sponsor different items for the tour and hang their selection on the nails on this poster (see next image).
Guests could sponsor different items for the tour and hang their selection on the nails on this poster (see next image).
For different dollar amounts, guests could sponsor certain things for the tour. For example: “Choose the theme song for the tour”, “Put a bird on it in Portland”, “Caffeinate me for the tour”, “Sponsor a tow”, etc. (This is an image from my iphone, not one of Joey’s pro shots!)
For different dollar amounts, guests could sponsor certain things for the tour. For example: “Choose the theme song for the tour”, “Put a bird on it in Portland”, “Caffeinate me for the tour”, “Sponsor a tow”, etc. (This is an image from my iphone, not one of Joey’s pro shots!)
Each of the Walk Away artists spoke for a few minutes about their work. Nathan Sharratt gives us some insight here.
Each of the Walk Away artists spoke for a few minutes about their work. Nathan Sharratt gives us some insight here.
Rapt Audience
Rapt Audience
Meghan and I call out the numbers. Background: When guests arrived and checked in, they selected a tile. Each tile had a number on the back, from one to fifty. The number you choose is the order you get to select any of the fifty pieces of original art. So if you chose number one, you are psyched (no trading). If you chose number fifty, not so much (although with such talented artists, you would be lucky to have any of the fifty pieces!).
Meghan and I call out the numbers. Background: When guests arrived and checked in, they selected a tile. Each tile had a number on the back, from one to fifty. The number you choose is the order you get to select any of the fifty pieces of original art. So if you chose number one, you are psyched (no trading). If you chose number fifty, not so much (although with such talented artists, you would be lucky to have any of the fifty pieces!).
I shouldn’t be allowed to have a microphone.
I shouldn’t be allowed to have a microphone.
Another happy collector (with a Kevin Byrd piece)
Another happy collector (with a Kevin Byrd piece)

It was a fantastic night of art, but also for me personally, it was wonderful to experience such an outpouring of support and encouragement.  I intend to do you proud Atlanta!

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