How did you begin collecting, and do you have a strategy for building your collection?
Collecting has been a natural response to our creativity and love of art. Toni is a painter and I am a dreamer with an obsessive interest in collecting things of beauty. We started collecting over 30 years ago. In our case collecting started as a spontaneous process. We acquired our first works purely because we liked a particular piece. Over time our choices have become more educated but still the ‘zing factor’ has to be there. Naturally we have discovered new artists and our tastes have grown. We are still discovering and enjoying the journey.
Our choices are instinctual. We collect works we like and it does not matter whether the works were painted by established or emerging artists. We both have our favourites but we are always excited to discover a new talent. Now we have limited empty wall space but the collecting never stops. Love of art has always been our common interest although we don’t always agree with each other’s choices of artworks. The differences between us enhance our collection because they do bring an interesting diversity.
What does living with art mean to you?
It is fascinating to be able to engage in a silent dialogue with different personalities and characters. Every artist has their own voice and the artworks communicate a multifaceted language. Being surrounded by art is invigorating, stimulating, comforting and colourful.
Tell us about the favourite work(s) you’ve acquired.
R: Wendy and Joseph by David Griggs. This painting haunted me for years. It is now proudly gracing a wall of our bedroom on the South Coast. I consider it an essence of DG’s imagination. Wald Weg by Hayley Arjona. One of the early works by this talented and ballsy artist. Toni and I visited Hayley on her farm in country Victoria last year where we got mesmerised by this quirky fairy tale work. I am also in a privileged position to have access to Toni’s works, which I absolutely adore.
T: I’m drawn to period figurative portraits. When I first saw Paul Ryan's 'Colonial' series some years back I was enchanted so when the opportunity to acquire his work eventuated both Radek and I agreed. Similarly Craig Waddell`s interpretation of 18th century portraits appeal and we have acquired a few. We also have some Mclean Edwards paintings and I love his energetic figurative works. We also hang many of my own works in our home and while I totally understand them, I alternate between loving and not loving them.
Advice for an emerging collector?
It would be dangerous for anyone to take my advice in regard to collecting art because I am too adventurous and impulsive for many would be collectors. If you are buying art as investment get yourself an art advisor or align yourself with a big name gallery or two. If you are passionate about art follow your heart and collect what really appeals to you and enjoy it.
In these uncertain times, why is art important?
To surround your living spaces with colourful and meaningful artworks really is a distraction and the paintings make us feel good. Art strengthens and enhances a sense of home and security. Most importantly it looks fabulous.
IMAGES: Radek and Toni's house featuring some of their collection; ABOVE: Toni Messiter and artist Paul Ryan, Radek Lasota and artist David Griggs
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