How and why do collectors collect?

A useful series of films created by Axis and Own Art talks to ordinary collectors about their motivations, passions and reasons for buying art.

This series of films, commissioned by Own Art as a way to introduce their programme, also gives an interesting insight into how and why people decide to collect art, and their motivations for doing so.  Rarely for investment, and overwhelmingly for the happiness living with works of art brings them, the collectors interviewed in these films share the stories of how they decided to begin buying art.

Own Art enabled the purchase of a special ring for Jenny Wilson and Gideon Seymor. The significant purchase was to mark Jenny's 40th birthday and the birth of their daughter, Stella. They wanted to acquire something unique which could be handed down and remain in the family for generations. Jenny and Gideon advocate taking advantage of the expertise and experience of gallery staff and not being afraid to ask questions when it comes to buying contemporary art and craft.

Michael and Hilary Quick prefer to support artists and buy art rather than invest their money in the bank. They really value the relationship they have developed with the gallery they like to buy works from, as the advice they receive helps them to make informed decisions about their purchases. They often buy works that remind them of times in their lives and places they have lived. 

Daniel Khan is a first time buyer of contemporary craft. Over the years his tastes have evolved from liking practical earthenware to preferring Grayson Perry. He suggests trusting your instinct when you are trying to decide what to buy. For Daniel, there is a great pleasure in owning something that an artist has invested a significant amount of time and effort, and themselves, into creating. 

Ian Murray is a filmmaker from South London and talks to Own Art about his passion for collecting contemporary art. For him, great art is about a gut reaction; feeling it in his nervous system and finding something which makes him genuinely excited. For an artwork to have real value, it’s got to be truly original. His addictive personality helps (out of all the vices he chooses art!) drive his enthusiasm for buying more and more pieces. The better an artist is at conveying an idea through their craft, the more he likes the work.

John Broadbent has always had an interest in art – part of his student grant was spent on buying paintings whilst he was at University; he likes the way art affects him. John tells Own Art he’s made a conscious decision to only collect works by living artists and that it’s often the initial visual impact that draws him in. He doesn’t worry about where something might go in the house or if it matches the curtains...