Living in what, at one point, was the UK’s slimmest house – at just 90 inches or 2.2 metres wide – Aimee Luther has taken a creative approach to filling her slim home with as much art as possible! Managing Director of über cool creative agency, Fortnight Collective, Aimee has a passion for art dating back to her first pay packet, which she frequently indulges at the Affordable Art Fair.
DISCOVER WHY AIMEE LOVES COLLECTING ART
What started you on your art collecting journey?
I first got into art collecting in 2000 when I got my first job as a graduate after leaving university. I wanted to buy something really significant, something I could buy and keep forever. I spoke to my step-father and one of his greatest friends who is an art teacher in Dulwich, who said “Listen the best thing to do is buy pieces that you love. You don’t need to be an art critic or know what you’re talking about, or be educated in art, but just buy pieces you love.” So, I bought this signed print by Tracey Emin. I found it online, I hadn’t seen it in person and didn’t know much about Tracey Emin at the time, and I love it as much today as I did the day I bought it. And I’ve continued that trend, every time something significant happens in my life, whether it’s a pay rise or a promotion, I buy a piece of art to sort of mark the occasion.
How much time do you spend contemplating your collection?
This piece, called Before and After by Joakim Allgulander, gets quite a lot of conversation when people visit, I actually bought it at Affordable Art Fair Battersea Autumn in 2017. It’s a beautiful and uplifting piece… completely mesmerising. I don’t actually know anything about the artist, or the method, at first you think it might be completely upside down because the majority of the print is in reflection. I love it because it’s such a joyful scene of a Father and son in the sea in the top half, with their reflection which dominates the bottom of the print. So yes, I spend a lot of time looking at that one.
This piece here is actually a silk scarf that I bought and had framed and professionally stitched in. It’s an amazing journey rather like snakes and ladders, of Grayson Perry’s life story. It starts with his parents, goes through his early years, a key moment when he was inspired by a teacher, his teenage years, through art school, through money and celebrity and then finishes at his exhibition at the Tate Modern. I can sit here for hours looking at it, and yet it was something like £60, and it gives me as much joy as any of the others.
How do you choose the objects in your home?
I don’t think I have an educated art background in terms of buying, and I certainly don’t go out to buy with a space in the house in mind, it’s completely spontaneous. I think I just know what I like, it’s something that brings me joy and happiness, that I can just keep looking at. I bought my lido sign from Gods Own Junkyard in Walthamstow – which is the most amazing neon shop. It’s owned by a Grandfather and Father who started the business making neon signs for circuses and funfairs and then went into Soho and the red-light district. It’s quite the most beautiful piece and it’s a real focal point, it just draws you in, so even on a cold wet miserable winter’s night, having the lido light on just brings warmth to the space.
I bought these two beauties probably about four years ago, they’re called The Story Keepers and the story goes from the artist, Kate Williamson, that they listen to what’s going on around them and they’re full of stories, so I dread to think what’s inside! I saw them first at the Battersea Autumn fair in 2014 and fell in love with them straight away. But I couldn’t afford them. A year later I was given a bonus as for a 10-year work anniversary, so I immediately emailed Kate and bought them! They took 8 weeks to make and were £395 each.
What do you like about the Affordable Art Fair?
The atmosphere at the Affordable Art Fair is really buzzy and unintimidating – I’m not an art critic, or an art know-it-all at all, but it’s fun to go there with a glass of champagne in hand and just be with hundreds of other people, looking at the art, and hopefully, or usually, coming away with something.
At its most basic – it’s just a really nice day out in Battersea Park, it doesn’t cost much to get in, you can wander round and look at the art, often meet the artists and on top of that you can purchase there and then, take the roof down on the car and have this huge sculpture sticking out the back to take it home with you. There’s all sorts of payment methods, I’ve put down a deposit and then paid per month, which means you can get that instant gratification and come home and put it on your wall without having to worry too much about paying for it in one big lump.
I bought both of these from Will’s Art Warehouse. I really like the lovely shadowing on the screen print (below). The oil painting (bottom) is by a local artist, of Richmond park, I love the colours and the depth in the picture. Will’s Art Warehouse is actually in Putney, so it’s just a short drive from me. I used to spend many a day at the weekend taking some time out and wandering around looking at the art.
What does art collecting mean to you?
I think collecting art, brings me utter joy, it’s uplifting, and living in a house which is akin to a tube tunnel, I could still be stuck here for months on end and be fed through all of the pictures I have.
I’m not an artist myself, and have no artistic ability, but I get drawn into the pictures and sculptures. I find myself imagining what the artist was thinking when they were putting a piece together. I think it’s a real honour to own an artwork that started as a blank sheet of paper or a lump of clay but was turned into something that makes you feel something inside! I feel very proud that I can own something that an artist has crafted from nothing.
What advice would you give to someone buying art for the first time?
I think there’s no rules when buying art, there’s no right or wrong, the only thing I make sure is that each piece that I buy makes me feel something - it makes me feel uplifted and excited to bring it home, to be part of my home environment. You don’t need to know all about the techniques, the artists or the paper that it’s printed on, but if it makes you feel something inside then I’d definitely go with it.
I even buy art online now. Thanks to technology you can zoom in and out of the painting so it’s almost as if you’re touching it, so I think it’s taken the fear out of buying online. And you can often buy it, take it home and then return it, if for whatever reason it’s not working at home. There’s no reason to be intimidated by buying art online anymore.
We couldn’t agree more with Aimee, that art should be selected for love over investment. Why not browse our curated collection of uplifting pieces inspired by Aimee’s collection and discover the joy of collecting art. Alternatively, to enjoy the buzz of a fair for yourself - see our list of upcoming fairs and snap up a ticket to join in with the fun.