Peter, a Medical Director from Bristol, has long collected thoughtful pieces of art to mark memories and significant moments in his life. With a beautiful and eclectic range of paintings, sculptures and curiosities, he tells us the story of his life through the artworks in his home.
MEET EXPERIENCED ART COLLECTOR, PETER COLLINS
Can you tell us where you were, when you bought your first piece of art?
This is one of the first pieces that I bought, and it was on holiday actually. I was with some friends and we went along to an art fair at a pier by the river in New York, at the time I thought it was just interesting to see all the different art and it made me want to take home something that was more than just a plastic memento that you would just throw away in five minutes, and this was the piece that caught my eye.
Has travel played a large part in your collection?
Yes, I like to collect varied objects. The art that I collect, I think, reflects the travels that we’ve made – both in life and geographically. Our lampshade was bought in Taipei, it arrived flat-packed and took us a few months to assemble each little part and then slot it all together, but that was an exciting thing in itself. One picture is from a trip that we made for my husband’s thirtieth birthday, we bought it in Sydney, and the mask was from Malawi from a trip that I made as a medical student there.
What other types of art do you like to collect?
One of the things I’m really interested in is emerging art, and the art of young artists - this piece for instance I bought at a graduate art fair a number of years ago now. I think it’s really interesting to see how artists develop over time and to go back and revisit their work and see whether it’s changed. It’s also a really affordable way of getting in early and buying from artists whose pieces might become difficult to afford later on.
Do you have a method for choosing art when you visit the Affordable Art Fair?
Choosing art as a couple is a really difficult thing. When we go to the Affordable Art Fair, what we tend to do, is go around separately and look for the pieces that we like. We then introduce those pieces to each other and usually then if we both like something then we’ll think about buying it.
Sometimes we don’t agree, these toffee apples here are a painting that Simon really liked, I didn’t like it so much, we but agreed to buy it if we could get a lovely picture of a sailing boat at the same time. The good thing is, we both like both of them now, so it was a really good compromise!
Do you buy with a specific space in mind?
Sometimes you just have a space that you need to fill, and I think buying art online is a really good way of being able to see quite a lot of art at one time and look at the sizes and find the perfect piece. So for instance, we had this small space and wanted to buy a painting that looked very similar to the toffee apples painting and these cherries, I think, are a perfect match.
What does collecting art mean to you?
Art is a really powerful way I can connect with people and places from my past. I bought this painting when I got my first consultant post, and whenever I look at it, I think of the excitement that I had at that time.
Also, I think buying affordable art is a great way of making your house look individual, bare white walls look exactly the same and I really like that I have pieces of art hanging on my wall that nobody else owns. I get excited every time I think about somewhere new to put a piece of art.
What kind of positive effects has owning art had on you?
Wow, that’s an interesting question, I think it’s probably helped us stay connected with each other, especially when we’re travelling with work. Sometimes looking at a piece of art that we’ve bought can really connect you back to that person, and it’s a really special way of remembering them in a different way perhaps to making a phone call.
How does it feel to fall in love with a piece of art?
I think you know when you’ve found the right piece of art, it’s the piece that you want to keep coming back to day after day and you always see something new in it. I’ve had this piece of art, that I bought at the Affordable Art Fair, for 2 or 3 years, and I never tire of looking at it. When I drive home after a busy day at work, I can see it through the window, and it gives me that feeling of calm, coming home and feeling settled.
What advice would you give to someone buying art for the first time?
I think go for it, go with your heart and not with your head and if and if something calls to you, don’t hesitate. The worst thing you can do is walk past, I’ve done that on occasion and come back to a fair two or three hours later and to find a piece has gone and you never get that chance again, so, if you like it, buy it.
There’s something so thoughtful and honest about Peter’s answers that clearly shows his emotional connection to art. Whether it helps him connect friends, family or happy memories of past travels. If you would like to fill your home with similar meditative pieces, why not browse our curated collection of works inspired by Peter’s taste, ethos and international travels. Plus, don’t forget to mark your diary with the dates of the upcoming Affordable Art Fair's – follow the link below for all the details.