home & heART: Collecting Art is Universal

University of Mississippi Professor of Art, Matt Long, makes playing with mud look sophisticated and beautiful. Today on home&heART, Shannon Curtis, the OTG gallery assistant and token millennial, and her husband, Hank, talk about their favorite coffee mug. 

What drew you to this piece?
My husband and I are still trying to figure out our mutual aesthetic. Hank is drawn to dark colors and non-linear shapes. I'm more of a simple/Modern (and, when it comes to dishes and coffee cups all white or clear) kind of gal. This was a good in-between. Not to mention that it was a great size for the amount of coffee we like to drink in the morning.

What emotions does it illicit?
This cup reminds Hank of our great friend (and Virginia artist), Angus Carter. His mom had a lot of handmade pottery in her home. When I look at this cup I see a morning storm on the beaches of my childhood.

How do you choose where you put art in your home?
We love to buy from and support our artist friends, of course. So much of our art comes from them. We are also very nostalgic people, which comes from moving around so much. So a good portion of our collections are referential to a time, person, or place.

Why is collecting art important?
Context for art is important. A piece in a museum or gallery can have a completely different meaning in your home. This cup, one of Walter Neill's bottle openers, Trapp Tischner's necklaces, or even an Ed Millet painting— when I see those pieces in the Oxford Treehouse Gallery I see them in the context of their own collection. These are all pieces of art to be admired. When I take them home and use them, put a painting on my wall, find a place for a sculpture, etc. then the context becomes a reflection of me. Collecting art is important because it's universal. Anyone can have art in their homes and anyone can enjoy art in a gallery or museum. Every piece draws different meanings and responses, which inspires conversation and, ideally, community. Something that I love about OTG is that there is art for every price range. So a younger person like me can still have a collection without going hungry! 

What advice do you have for people looking to buy art for their homes?
I'm in the Marie Kondo "spark joy" camp. If you see something that draws you in, hold it in your hand. If it sparks joy, then you should have it. This can go for new items, as well as old. If you have had something for a while and it no longer holds the meaning or joy that it once did, then maybe it's time for a new home!


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