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My first time... buying art

Fiona Ackerman's oil on canvas, "Playing the Stage" 

We all remember our first time. You were probably as nervous as you were excited about this new milestone that was about to happen in your life. Soon you would be able to stand up tall, look yourself in the mirror and say: IKEA “art” is not ok. 

The beauty behind every piece of art is its story and everyone we’ve ever spoken with always remembers where, when, and how they bought their first piece. People don’t just become collectors overnight; cliché or not, it has to start with one step…or in this case, one purchase.

These are the stories we were told when we asked 5 people to tell us about the first piece of art they purchased:

Dan Jover, Chartered Accountant, KPMG

“When I was 27, I went to the Art For Life Charity Auction with some friends and had absolutely no intention of buying a piece of art at a live auction. I decided to register for a paddle because I didn’t want it to look like we were only there for the party. I was low-bidding on a few items that I liked, knowing that I would never get them. It wasn’t until my piece was up on the auction block when I saw an abstract painting by Fiona Ackerman that I had to have. Before I knew it, I was bidding $1,000 on this painting and I was handing over my Visa with one hand and balancing my drink in the other. I still love the piece, and I think it adds a lot of character and colour to my apartment."

Fiona Ackerman:

Zoe Pawlak, Artist

“I was 18 when I bought my first piece of real art. I would frequent a place in Montreal called the Belgo building that housed some of the finest contemporary art being made in Montreal. As an art student at Concordia, we often attended show openings and went there on the weekends to see the latest work. I was waitressing at the time and had just made a bunch of cash. This cash should have been spent on food and rent, but I was so moved by a piece I saw by Steven Spazuk that I immediately handed over half the payment for a piece and took it right there from Gallery SAS. 

Months later, I returned because I thought I still owed them, but turns out they had put the other half on my mom's credit card which I had given them at the time I took the piece. So, I guess she helped with the purchase too. At the time it was a lot of money to me, but I was obsessed with studying the figure and I knew that I would always love it because the feeling I had for it was so strong, and also the content of the work was so timeless.”

Steven Spazuk:

Zoe Pawlak:

Patrick Barron, Executive Director Communications at TELUS

“I was a late bloomer, I didn’t buy my first piece until I was 30. I had heard about The Cheaper Show and wanted to go down and check it out for myself. After almost nine hours of standing in line in the sun on the day of the show, I had gone mad and actually got into a fight with someone who I thought was trying to budge in line. I had spotted a pair of pop art, mixed media works by an artist named Randy Grskovic. When the doors opened I ran to get the numbers of the works to take over to the cashier. I was catching my breath in front of my new art when the line-budger himself walked over. I’m pretty sure he said something like, “Hi, I’m Randy, the artist. Thanks for buying my stuff.” Not only do I love his work, I love telling the story. For the record, Randy is an awesome guy.”

Randy Grskovic:

Farouk Babul, Development Manager at Concert Properties

“Last year I bought my first apartment, and wanted to find a unique piece that I could hang in my new home. I had actually moved across the street from the Jennifer Kostuik Gallery in Yaletown. I was drawn to a Reece Terris architectural piece that was hanging in the window of the gallery. Being in development, I loved the idea of having a print of a blueprint of the Ought Apartment from an installation at the VAG, and was very surprised when I found out it had a price tag of only $450. I always thought that art was very expensive and I would not be able to afford a piece for a long time. I am so glad I went into the gallery and asked how much it was, because I still have it hanging in my front hall. I have since added seven new pieces by various local artists in the last year to add to my growing collection.”

Reece Terris:

Debi Coll, Business Development Consultant at Incite Business Solutions

“Fifteen years ago, on a road trip across the southern United States, I found myself wandering in a hotel lobby in Atlanta. I became captivated by a piece of art that literally took my breath away. It was a majestic African woman with her hands outstretched on either side – beautiful, colourful cloths and blankets were sitting on her head. I could not take my eyes off of it. To my surprise (and good luck), Charles A Bibbs, the artist was displaying his work that day and he provided me the background for  the piece and the inspiration behind his work. Even though it was well over my student’s daily budget of food and accommodation for the trip, I bought it immediately – right off the wall.  I purchased it for the feelings it inspired in me and I still love it today. “The Gift 2” is a centerpiece in my home. As an added benefit, it has increased almost ten times in value.”

Charles A. Bibbs:

More in The Art Market

The Cheaper Show celebrates 10 years of offering art for affordable prices

This Saturday, June 25, numerous art lovers are getting ready once again for the 10th installment of The Cheaper Show in Mount Pleasant.

Vancouver’s arts scene changing its look

This spring marks some big changes for the Vancouver arts scene.
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