Richard Anderson has been collecting artwork for several years. His collection consist of mostly contemporary artwork from various well known artist in the space. We thought we'd have a conversation with Richard, so he could share with us what it's like being a collector for so long.
Many want to start collecting art, but don't know where to start. Some even still think it's only for the wealthy. This interview along with many of our articles, show you yet again that just about anyone can get started with both collecting and investing in art.
OWITY: Many enjoy art but only some collect it. When was the first time you realized you'd like to start collecting artwork?
RICHARD ANDERSON: I don’t think there was a specific moment. It was more of a financial matter of having enough income to purchase what I like. But around 2010, I really dove into collecting. I was in graduate school with the artist Justin Vining. I was in my first year and he was in his final year. I had heard about him through classmates and saw his work on Facebook. Justin had a piece available and I purchased it from him. That was definitely the real start.
OWITY: What inspires you to collect artwork? Do you ever think your collection is getting a little big?
RICHARD ANDERSON: I just really love visual art. It moves me emotionally when I see something I like. I can really get lost in a magnificent piece. For example, we own the Joel Rea painting “The Precision of Luck.” It’s an incredible hyper-surrealistic painting of four young men and a giant wave. Even though the painting has hung on our living room wall for the past six years I still find myself absorbed in all of the detail and the story that plays in my head.
The story a piece creates in my mind is a major reason for my adding a piece to the collection. Give me a Rea surrealistic piece, or a Robert Kipniss landscape, or a Benny Sanders portrait and I’m just lost in the story. And I think that emphasizes the most important rule of collecting. You have to like the art. Our collection may be getting a little big but I’ll keep adding to it. But I have slowed a bit in my acquisitions.
Joel Rea - Precision of Luck
OWITY: After our conversation, I've understood you've got quite the collection. How many pieces of artwork do you think you own?
RICHARD ANDERSON: We currently own a bit over 180 pieces. Ha ha is that too many?
OWITY: Since our site focuses on investing in art. I have to ask, what piece has increased the most in value in your portfolio?
RICHARD ANDERSON: That is actually a challenging question to answer. For a lot of work there isn’t a definitive reference point for recent art. I compare prices on sites like Artsy and of course EBay. And it is amazing what the spread can be between various sites. One of the more surprising pieces I own price-wise is a print by the Australian artist Ben Frost. The print is titled “Trump Reich.” It’s an image of Donald Trump over old Nazi-era stamps of Adolf Hitler. I acquired the print from Vertical Gallery here in Chicago in 2017 for a few hundred dollars. It was a small edition of 30 pieces. Recently, I’ve seen the piece on Artsy for $4,000. And someone has a copy listed on EBay for $10,000…which I think is insanely overpriced.
OWITY: Who are three established artist's you believe are not only underrated but also seem to be gaining a lot of traction as of late?
RICHARD ANDERSON: It’s challenging to say an artist is underrated. They might not have a certain amount of exposure, but I don’t necessarily think it makes them underrated. With that said, here are some artists I think are doing well as of recent:
1. Bisa Butler – She is one of those absolutely amazing artists who has become an “overnight success” after working for 20 years. But things have really exploded for her since the 2018 EXPO show here in Chicago. I was fortunate enough to see her work at that show and immediately fell in love with it. Fast forward to last year and she has a solo exhibition at the Art institute of Chicago. She has also received a lot of coverage in press and magazines since EXPO. And the great thing is, she deserves all of her success. Not only does Bisa create incredible art, but she is also one of the nicest people you will ever meet. We are very fortunate to have a print of one of her early works in our collection.
2. Winston the Whale – Winston was an artist who became a tattoo artist, but still paints and creates prints on the side. He is based in Portland, Oregon. His work is really cool, and when he posts paintings or prints they are gone in a few minutes. He has a couple hundred-thousand followers on Instagram but I feel he is still a bit under the radar.
3. Matthew Grabelsky – Matthew is an interesting guy. He double majored in Astrophysics and Art in college. Art won. He does very cool paintings of people with animal heads in various settings; but usually on subway cars. I commissioned him for a piece with a snow leopard (my favorite animal). I really love the piece. It is at the bottom of our staircase, so I see it first thing in the morning, and last thing at night.
Here are a few other artists I really like and collect: Homeless Cop (L.A.), Johnny McKee (Indianapolis), Melanie Farris (Texas), Brett Scheifflee (Ithaca, N.Y.), James Lipnickas (N.Y.C.), Jason Rowland (Indiana), Planet Giggles (Minneapolis), Jennifer Violette (Vermont), Lisa Goesling (Chicago), Craig Whitten (Indiana), Justin VanGenderen (Chicago), Haroshi, Blek Le Rat, Aron Wiesenfeld, Shepard Fairey, Grant Haffner, Takashi Murakami, Wayne White, Cleon Peterson, and Keith Haring.