Inside the Homes of Art Collectors

What does it mean to actually live with art? Much attention is paid to the finding, acquiring and installing of a work of art, but what about the years after? How does it feel to wake up, brew a coffee, brush your teeth and make your bed surrounded by a collection cultivated over a lifetime?
The Age newspaper recently profiled six private collectors across Australia, all with disparate interests, philosophies and stories. For collector of contemporary art, Andrew Tuckfield, his entry into art was via a former partner who was an artist. Decades later, he has designed a house with walls in mind – shaping his domestic enclave around his love for art. Street art collectors Sandra Powell and Andrew King offer their home to artists for exhibitions, while for Neil Hobbs and Karina Harris, wall space is an endangered species. Even their ceiling now houses a painting.
As in any home, domestic art collections can fall prone to haphazard co-habitants. Rob and Patricia Postema encase their smaller works in perspex to protect them from their cat, while Rachael Hart recounts the time her son “added a bit of pencil” to an abstract piece which thankfully, “blended right in”.
The pleasure all these collectors unite in lies with memory. Neil and Karina wander around their house, wine in hand, recalling where they were when each work was discovered. Andrew ponders the same thing, asking of his older pieces “Oh my god, Andrew, what were you thinking” or else “I still love that to this day, that was a good one.” Just as a home must move between the lives of its owner - operating as home office, restaurant, refuge and childcare centre - so must domestic art collections. They are addictions, passion projects and memory banks.
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