Amy Nebout, talks to Cleo Tse about her passion for collecting art...
...what informs her taste and how she selects a piece for her collection. With insights into the Hong Kong art market, and of course that all important advice for first time buyers.
1. What was the first piece of original art that you purchased? What drew you to it?
Elizabeth MacGill's Blue Hold. I love how the colours she uses and her style are both uplifting and soft, yet at the same time there's an intriguingly spooky element to her pieces.
2. What styles or mediums are you most attracted to?
All really, I love mixing up styles and mediums in my home - from beautiful, simply mounted photography, to wall-mounted bronze sculptures, and pop art printed on wooden plinths, to acrylic paintings on canvas.
3. What is your most cherished piece and why?
I have a small piece from Veronica Green that I absolutely love - she creates these incredibly whimsical mixed media pieces, with phosphorescent elements incorporated so that they come alive at night, turning into a completely different piece under a black light, or in the dark after being exposed to light.
4. Do you purchase multiple pieces by the same artist, or have a collection from multiple artists?
Whilst I am often drawn to different works by the same artists, I prefer to keep my collection more varied and buy work from different artists every year. Saying that, I'd like to buy a larger Veronica Green piece as her work really appeals to all ages - so perfect for a young family's home.
5. Are you drawn to up-and-coming artists or established names?
Definitely both - it's very exciting to buy a piece from a well-known artist - even if it means you can only own a numbered print! But it's also fantastic to buy works from up and coming artists and then to watch as their style and career grows - when you see them doing well you can feel proud that you spotted them early on in their career.
6. Do you have a process that you go through when considering a new art purchase?
I really trust my eye and if I love something on first view, that usually won't change. But I will spend time thinking about it before I buy something - if it keeps coming back into my mind, I know it's a good choice. I'm also lucky in that my husband and I share similar tastes and really agree on art - one of us will spot something, usually at a fair, and then convince the other one - then we both end up loving and treasuring it in our home.
7. What changes have you seen in the art market over the years?
I think on a more general level art feels more accessible now than it perhaps did in the past - there always used to be this fear about going into galleries in places like Hollywood Road but since the evolution of art fairs and the ability to access information and grow your knowledge so much more easily, buyers and potential buyers have more confidence to start and to build their collection. I read a quote the other day that out of all the things people are happy 'investing' their money in, even in tougher times, art and wine remain strong favourites. At the top-level art is being pegged to overtake fine wine this year as the best performing luxury investment asset.
8. Do you buy art because it is a good investment?
I see it more as a good investment for our life - for our home and for our enjoyment stretched over the years, rather than buying a piece and expecting a return on investment a few years down the road.
9. Why do you like going to art fairs?
I love the buzzy atmosphere and being able to view a huge amount of art all in one place. Sometimes it can be a little overwhelming but that's more of a time thing - if you're in a rush it's hard to find a piece that you love and want to buy - it's just too much pressure! Art fairs are great when you have lots of time to roam around freely and mull over the pieces that have caught your eye. Even better if you can chat them through over a glass of wine, or go home and sleep on it with a view to coming back the next day with fresh eyes!
10. What advice would you offer to those thinking of purchasing their first piece of original artwork?
Art fairs are a great way to see a lot of different artists and variety of mediums in one place and to explore your taste and test your eye. Take your time looking and buy something you love - be true to your instinct and don't be caught up by what anyone else might think - art is very personal!
11. What will you do when your walls are full?
We have a decent amount of wall space in our home so we're ok for the time being but I would start rotating the pieces and maybe put a couple that I needed a break from into storage - preferably one with climate control as in Asia humidity can be a bit of a problem, especially for paintings and photography. Moving your art around can be a great way to renew your love for a piece - I recently added some fun Mucha style Parisian prints alongside an oversized sketch of racing horses by Clare Trenchard, they really compliment the colour scheme and tie the entire area together, making the wall look much more interesting.
Amy Nebout lives in the Southside of Hong Kong Island with her husband and 2-year-old daughter. She works as a marketing consultant and has been collecting art since 2013 when Affordable Art Fair first came to Hong Kong and opened-up her eyes to the wonderful world of affordable, contemporary art.
Affordable Art Fair Hong Kong 2017
Images from first to last:
Elizabeth MacGill, Blue Hold, Lithography.
Veronica Green, Dark, Mixed Media & Phosphorescent, 2016.
Natasha Barnes, Water Garden, Acrylic.
Various artworks collected by Amy Nebout in her home.
An art-lover browsing the works at Affordable Art Fair Hong Kong.
A couple enjoy Affordable Art Fair Hong Kong.
Clare Trenchard, charcoal and wash on canvas, Will’s Art Warehouse.