I interviewed Chicago art collector and artist, Amy Roach. She’s been collecting art for over 10 years. She loves collecting art because of the unique way it brings joy to her life. Amy, an avid dog lover, is also pet portrait artist. I find it terribly interesting that she creates and collects art. I asked her a few questions about collecting art.
Amy, where do you find art work you may want to purchase?
I have a vast number of artists friends and I attend gallery exhibit openings [on a regular basis].
Social media is a way to experience art from afar. How have you used it as a tool to navigate the art world?
I use social media to sell and promote my own art. I also belong to a few artist pages that help the members promote their art.
What venues did you buy art from?
Art galleries, art students ( my favorite), and art fairs
What type of art do you collect?
I mostly buy wall art but lately have been purchasing ceramics and sculptures.
What subject types of art do you collect?
Abstracts -I love abstract art!
Dogs - I collect a lot of cat art work. I am a pet portrait artists so usually if I like someone’s work I will collect it.
Figure studies - I love figurative art, I am not the best with making human figures so I am fascinated by those who can.
Wildlife - Yes but mostly I make this type of art so I don’t tend to purchase it
Why did you start buying art?
As an artist myself, I know the struggle artist’s go thru to sell their work. I am an empathetic to this and have found if I truly like a piece, I will purchase it.
What drives you to continue to do it?
I have a degree in art history and I am getting my graduate degree in art history. I am fascinated by the stories behind the art. Every piece I have purchased I have spoken to the artist to find the story behind the work.
What part of collecting do you love the most?
The joy the art brings me.
How would you describe your art collection and is it changing as it develops?
It is very eclectic. I have noticed that I tend towards the more abstract or surreal pieces. But lately, my favorite pieces are figure drawings/paintings. These consist of strong female images.
How many art events do you attend a year? Which ones do you always go to?
I try to go to 7 to 10 in a year. I always go to the local shows. I am a member of the Beverly Art Association and I get invited to tons of the shows they are sponsoring. I also attend the exhibits at St. Xavier University, where I attended school. I worked at SXU gallery.
We all read something different into art, and what is a good story for me might be a sad story to you. A good piece of art has an interesting story. What art narratives are you most attracted to -and that you have in your collection?
I am attracted to the stories behind the artwork. One of my favorite pieces is by Carla Winterbottom. It depicts a small house. She works primarily in assemblage. This piece represents a time in her life when she was leaving her marriage and she was searching for a new place to live. It is a soul-searching piece and hangs above my dressing table where I see it every day. I also have 3 pieces by Mays Mayhew that give me joy. I see the women in the drawings as mirror images to parts of my life, times with my sisters, my chase for freedom, and the jumbled hair in your pieces reminds me of the jumbled thoughts and life I live.
I buy art that mirrors my journey.
The best works in a collection keep having a certain energy and relevancy. Do you agree with that statement? Is it true for your collection?
Yes, but I feel each person feels a different kind of energy from the art. What means something to me might mean entirely different to someone else. And that is why I love art so much. My collection is more about my journey, the pieces reflect thoughts or feelings I had at the time I purchased them. I tend to collect more female art work. -Female in representation and more work from female artists.
You currently own 3 of my drawings and you are working on another purchase. What interests you the most about these drawings and paintings.
They spoke to me. They represent the joy of my journey. The twin collection represents for me each a different feeling.
Twin Gossip reminds me of my sisters and the joy I have when I can be with them, yet it also reminds me of the sibling rivalry we have.
Twin No Kill, represents me, my chaotic life, my journey to my art career and the crazy thoughts I have in my head. Some thoughts are like the hair in that drawing, wild and probably not too nice.
Twin Sleep is like me trying to be calm but the thoughts in my head never are.
Only One was from my first exhibit that I curated at the Beverly Art Center. It was the year I made the decision to pursue my art career and I was drawn to that painting. That woman in that painting haunts me. I have thought about that painting for years and I can’t wait till it is hanging in my home.
What is the future of your art collection?
I have decided that I will grow my collection yearly. I will be one of those people who when I die, and they assess my worth it will be in art more than anything else. Well, maybe cats too.
What advice would you give someone just starting a collection?
Start slow, buy less expensive pieces and work towards a major piece.
Buy pieces that speak to you!
Thank you, Amy, for your time and energy and great smile.