The Collector Base
D. Dominick Lombardi talks with collectors Richard Smolin and CJ Follini
Over the years, a few artists have made a point to tell me they care little, if at all, about ever selling their work. Whenever I hear that sentiment, I always feel this twinge of suspicion, as I know what it is like to sell one’s own work. In point of fact, there would be little art to see if there were no collectors. Commercial galleries would not exist and a lot of very creative people would be stressed, repressed and totally misunderstood if there were no patrons or collectors.
Richard Smolin, creator of the website artcycle, is a private, New York based collector who sees collecting as “a happy convergence of events."
In speaking of how his passion for collecting started, Mr. Smolin said, “The first 'new' New York Armory Show started just about the same time I had some modest funds left over after paying bills. That was 1994. The Armory Show was held in the Gramercy Hotel -- a very intimate and modest show where you shuffled from room to room. I went with a friend who was very interested in the work of a Tracey Emin. To be truthful, the work seemed very odd to me at the time. I don't remember being bowled over -- just challenged. Thinking, OK my friend found this stuff fascinating -- so what am I missing? This was the beginning of a journey of discovery that lead up to purchasing a Tracey Emin work of art for the princely sum of $150! It was significant for me, in both monetary terms and the fact that it was my first step in art collecting. The whole process of finding something new, learning about it -- the community of art, artists, galleries, art shows -- was all very new to me."