At Enter Gallery we champion our artists and the art they create. Now, we are celebrating the people that support the arts and make it all possible… YOU!
Meet Enter Collectors, Becky and Darren...
What was the first piece of art you acquired?
D: I’m a massive Lego and Star Wars fan, so the first couple of pieces were the Ame72 Star Wars Lego men - a Stormtrooper and Darth Vader, which we spotted from the street one day.
B: The Lego men purchase made us visit the gallery more frequently and then one day we saw the Dave White pieces. We both love animals so over a few months we picked up the squirrel, fox and hare – and it spiralled from there.
D: This all coincided with us moving from a tiny flat in Preston Circus to a bigger place, so we suddenly had a lot more wall space. We didn’t like the thought of wallpapering, so we thought, we’d take the opportunity to grow our collection a little bit. The trips to the Gallery became more frequent and that was when we saw the Kozyndan Seasons collection with the rabbits and we realised that it would be nice to group works together by artists.
You are obviously avid art collectors. What are some of your other passions?
D: I love my Transformers, Star Wars and Lego - I’m a child of the 80s and I don’t think I have ever really grown up! I remember always watching the cartoons and films and playing with the toys so it’s nice to remind me of my childhood. I also love my music too, so buy a lot of records.
B: I collect the Swarovski glass animals. They’re very cute. I also read a lot of books and murder mysteries and would like to get some first editions together at some point.
Which artists are you really loving at the moment?
D: I love my Murakami and Dan Hillier pieces – especially now that we are having to spend more time at home due to COVID. Working from home is made that little bit better when you look up from your screen to see brightly coloured images of Doraemon and Murakami’s signature smiling flowers. I have also recently have fallen for Geckor’s reworkings of classic, iconic characters with bold lines and vibrant colours after seeing the Looney Toons collection in the Gallery – so we will also be keeping an eye on him from now on.
B: We really love the Lady Aiko Edo City Girl that we recently picked up from the Enter ‘Street Art’ show which now sits pride of place in the living room and we have just got into Richard Berner too – after many months of walking into the Gallery and looking at the Brighton Pier piece – we finally crumbled and then saw his Stormtrooper helmet and, now we suddenly have another new artist within our collection!
We’ll always enjoy looking at what Dave White releases. We tend to skip the releases of animals with scales and the feathers (with the exception of the lovebirds) but any animals with fur just look amazing and works well when hung with the animals we currently have.
What drives you to collect art? Do you feel emotionally invested in every piece or do you buy for investment?
B: We just buy what we like. It’s got to make us smile or make us want to look at it everyday. We have some household names like Damien Hirst and Tracy Emin, but we bought them, because we loved the image and not because we thought they would be safe investments. For us, the name is nice but it’s not a reason for buying.
D: We try not to think of them as investments, and definitely would not buy something just because we think the value will go up. I’m sure there are some pieces that we like and can’t get because someone has bought one for investment and has it hidden it away in storage which is sad.
Is the art market something you keep an eye on?
B: Not really, no. We keep an eye on individual artists that are already in our collection via their social media and through regular visits to, and events at Enter Gallery. Occasionally we go to museums and shows – one example of that was Murakami, who we found out about when visiting the MOMA in Boston. Then when we came home, we spoke to Enter Gallery to see if they could obtain them and they said “yes”.
Is there an artist you would like to meet?
D: I really want meet Murakami because he is just as mad as a box of frogs! You see the way he is on social media and the way he behaves and the way he dresses. He’s so eccentric. The majority of his stuff is really happy and then suddenly he does something really dark and it’s really surreal.
What is your dream piece you will love to own?
D: Murakami, has created a number of prints of his 727 piece – the original is in the Guggenheim, but it’s a significant investment in terms of money and also space so we’re still thinking about it.
Do you have 1 piece of art which was ‘the one that got away’?
B: Jamie Hewlett’s Stained Glass Window prints of the main Gorillaz characters is one that springs to mind.
D: We were lucky to get a different set of the Gorillaz from Enter’s rare print show a few years back, where Lawrence released some bits from his personal collection. There have also been a couple of Dan Hillier’s that we missed out on initially, but thanks to Enter we now have managed to get.
B: Missing out on some has also made us more impulsive now. If it’s a one off or small edition we know we have to move quickly because you can’t leave it for another day – once. It is gone its gone.
What do you love about visiting the gallery?
D: It has great appeal from the outside. The big glass front means you eyes get caught by bright, bold colours as you are walking past, which then draws you inside. Then, when you’re inside, there’s always something new to look at, lots of variety. Some of the galleries are too specific. It also feels a lot less pressured than other places we have been in. You have two big open rooms and you’re invited to have a look around without any pressure and it’s a much more relaxed space.
B: It’s in the dead centre of town, it has a great open space that is inviting to look around. Some of the other galleries are very small and a lot of stuff rammed in your face. That’s the big difference for us. The team are all really friendly, so it is nice to see they guys as well and have a chat especially as they know us now and so they know if something comes up that we might be interested in.
D: Also, it matters to us is that you see the love that the artists have for Enter too. It doesn’t go unnoticed that a lot of your posts showcasing artists have been liked by other artists, even if it has nothing to do with that artist. It shows that you have a good relationship with all of them and they support each other.
B: We love the artist events at the gallery as well.
D: Yeah, I really like how they enables you to connect with the artist and understand more about them. I know it’s quite easy to do that nowadays because they are quite prolific on social media.
B: It’s never quite the same as meeting them face to face and having a bit of a laugh.
D: It’s nice It’s a two-way thing; You get to share your appreciation that they’ve done something that makes you happy, and on the flipside you are doing something that is enabling them to have a career.
B: It’s not essential to know about the artist but it’s an added extra.
D: It’s good to have an understanding and a respect for the person. They say never meet your idols but of all the artists I’ve met it hasn’t happened yet! Dave White, RYCA, Dan Hillier they are all nice. You kind of know that you will connect with them a bit over something. RYCA for example is a massive Star Wars fan and CassetteLord likes Transformers and you can see that in their work - so you know you will have that in common.
Do you try to identify emerging artists to add to your collection?
D: It’s too much of an overload of information to look on Instagram and the like. It’s so much easier for me to walk into a local gallery and look around a curated collection. Or check the gallery’s social media feeds. I wouldn’t have known anything about Geckor had his work not been in the gallery and it caught my eye.
What advice would you give to someone who is trying to get into collecting art?
B: Get something you like, not something you think you should have.
D: Buy what you love and use the schemes like Own Art that are around to help you. The Own Art scheme is brilliant, and we’ve used it a lot as it makes art so much more accessible to more people. In one way it’s brilliant but on the other hand its dreadful as well because more people are trying to access the same artwork. We’ll walk in and now see all sorts of different people looking at Dave White’s and Murakami’s which means we know that if we see something we like we can’t be slow!
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