Christian Leask believes in being yourself, buying art from friends, and the shocking power of a well-made mirror. Of his many Walter Neill-crafted functional pieces around his home, Leask expands on the power of function, familiarity, and fun when collecting art for your home.
What drew you to this piece?
My wife and I had moved to no less than 4 or 5 places in nearly as many years, and every time, there was an issue with the mirror. We either never had a mirror, or the mirror was an afterthought or it was some weird fun-house reflecting box store POS.
What memories or emotions does it illicit?
We got tired of it (the mirror) being an afterthought and decided to make it a focal point. The mirror isn't a passenger anymore, it's a driver. As Mississippi is a strange and beguiling place (a Willie Morris qoute, right?), our table will always help me remember and think of Mississippi whether I live here or not.
How do you choose where you put art in your home?
Spending several hundred or thousand whatever dollars on something that you stick in a corner or hang on a wall will never, ever make sense. To say that "it makes you happy", I think, is also somewhat flawed, as my personal locus of control says that nothing makes one happy except one's self and their accumulation of experiences. Physical objects ultimately just weigh you down.
Why is collecting art important?
Alas, there is something satisfying in the flippant, and again, the irreverent act of purchasing a piece of art that speaks to you. It's a way of saying "oh please, I know and guess what, I don't care. I'ma gonna be me".
What advice do you have for people looking to buy art for their homes?
I'm pretty certain it was Ernest Hemingway's A Moveable Feast where he wrote that you should always buy art from someone you know. Pretty cheeky to say when you're local drinking circle includes the likes of Joan Miró or Pablo Picasso, but still. That line really resonated with me. That made me love the art that people I knew produced far much more than the art other people wanted did.
This mirror designed and made by Walter Neill sits in a bedroom of Christian Leask's home in Oxford. Leask believes that it's important to buy and have art from people you know.