Have you ever wondered about how art can impact who you are and what you do in life?
Our featured art buyers, Caitlin and Rohit, offer two very different stories about how art can enrich life and build upon beliefs, values and interests. And, we meet Caitlin and Rohit just 4 months after their marriage just as they’ve begun to discuss how to meld their art interests together in a way that both reflects their new life together but also retains their individual interests.
Caitlin was raised in surrounded by art in New York City. She lived close to “Museum Mile” and her family always had annual passes to the museums, so she would often accompany her Mom on quick stops to see art exhibits. When she was younger her parents didn’t have the income to buy a lot of art, but in addition to the museums her Mom did a lot of drawing and painting and they had art that her great-grandmother had done. So a strong artistic base was established. As she reached high school, her parents had started to buy more art and Caitlin started taking photography classes in school and served as a volunteer tour guide at the Met, and her love of art flourished. It carried over to college where she (and her older sister) majored in art at Wesleyan, continued to take photography classes, and started teaching art to both seniors and children. Although she didn’t pursue art professionally, Caitlin kept art in her life as a young adult by making small purchases, often from friends who were artists. And her parents would gift her a piece of art every time she graduated (high school, college, med school, business school) so she had treasured pieces in her life. She doesn’t consider herself a “collector” but very much appreciates the joy and richness art has brought to her life at all stages.
Rohit’s art story is different. He was raised in Houston and while he always liked art, it wasn’t until college at Stanford that he began exploring it further, such as learning about the Rodin sculpture garden on campus. Post college as he moved from San Francisco to Boston to New York, he increasingly spent time in art museums and started to “care about art more”. With a career in business and finance, he recognized that art could cultivate parts of his brain that he didn’t use as often. He also started to integrate his social life with art, joining art-focused social groups that would hold events at museums or private homes or even travel to art fairs together. As his love for art developed and he began to buy art himself, he also discovered that he could meld his academic passion for emerging markets with his art collecting. With Indian heritage and having lived in Africa twice, he became drawn to “art from places in transition, that were figuring out who they were.” While in business school he worked at an investment promotions agency in the Democratic Republic of Congo and acquired his first piece of art from a local art school. His next piece was purchased from a gallery in Croatia that had been created by an artist who had escaped the fighting during the Balkans war and was taken in by an art gallery owner. More recently, he’s taken a deep interest in collecting contemporary Indian art such as Avinash Chandra and Ganesh Pyne.
Rohit and Caitlin are building their new life together in the heart of the art gallery scene in Chelsea, NYC. They visit galleries and the Whitney Museum of American Art regularly. Although they’re not buying a lot of art together yet, they’re enjoying the migration to the next phase of art in their lives as they discuss how to blend their art together into a unified home that also continues to reflect their individual personalities while also identifying areas of overlap where they both engage with the art. A frequent topic is whether to curate art that works well with the other pieces or to just buy the art that excites them both. There’s no right answer to this question, and a lot of the fun is in figuring it out, probably with mistakes along the way! And they’ve already acquired a couple of small pieces together – a fun "Blamo" carved figure by Steven Hansen and a ceramic in Sweden.
The couple is expecting their first child shortly. Reflecting both how they were raised and how they’ve brought art into their lives, they expect they’ll expose him to art but let him make his own decisions about art in his life. And Caitlin recognizes that her art preferences have started to bend towards the whimsical as she plans for having a baby in her life!
For those of you who are just exploring art for the first time, either individually, as a couple, or as a family with kids, Keenlee encourages you to explore art that is personalized, to discuss art and make art decisions as a family, and to expose yourselves and your children to art in ways that enrich your family’s life and offer your children future opportunities to engage with art in the way that they choose.