Never the one to shy away from the unknown, the private collection of Jens-Peter Brask focuses primarily on Scandinavian and American artists, often whom are emerging onto the art scene. What began as a passion for the graffiti scene of the 1980s has now, some twenty years later, grown into an incredible collection of artworks that reflects Brask’s love for the underground scene of the 80s. We caught up with the Danish collector to talk about how he discovers the artists in the collection, how doing graffiti led him to the path of contemporary art, and why he decided to open up the doors to his home for the CHART Art Fair.
You are seen as one of the most prolific art collectors in Scandinavia, with a collection that comprises over 2 000 works, but how did your interest in collecting contemporary art begin?JENS-PETER BRASK
I began collecting art when I stopped painting graffiti in 1993. It started out as a replacement for the graffiti when I began working and needed a new hobby.
How does coming from an interest in 1980s graffiti art influence your current collection?JENS-PETER BRASK
I still love graffiti, I take photos of it and blog about it. My collection began with a painting by Michael Kvium, but to this day graffiti and street art means a lot to me.
Why is it important for you to support both emerging and established Danish and Scandinavian artists?JENS-PETER BRASK
It is important to help Danish artists gain visibility abroad. We have world class artists in this country that we can be proud of and it is important to support as a collector, rather than the artists having to sell themselves.
During this year’s CHART Fair you will be opening up your collection to visitors – how did you become involved with the fair and why did you decide to open the doors to your collection?JENS-PETER BRASK
It is important to support the Danish art market whether it is a local art fair or the artists. I have known Simon Friese for many years and we both thought it could be a good idea to show a few handpicked goodies from my collection.
A lot of the works in your collection come from a seemingly alternative aesthetic, would you agree? If so, why is important is it for you to have works which reflect this aesthetically approach? Is it a personal connection for you?JENS-PETER BRASK
I collect all art that I like. It doesn’t have to be an established artist, as long as it is quality and I like it, then I’ll buy it. I have a variation of mediums in my collection: paintings, neon, ceramics, sculpture, graffiti, street art and drawings.
How do you decide on what artwork to buy? Do you always know what you’re looking for before you go to the artist studio/fair/gallery?JENS-PETER BRASK
If I like it, I’ll buy it. I never make up my mind before I visit art fairs, galleries or a studio. I never buy directly from the artist if they have a gallery.
What is it like to live with these works? How often do you rotate what’s on display?JENS-PETER BRASK
Today I live in a three bedroom apartment and have limited space available, but I love to live with my art. It is a daily joy and inspiration.
Aside from owning the art that’s in your collection, how else has collecting enriched your life?JENS-PETER BRASK
I have curated a few exhibitions and on the 8th of September 2017 I will open The Brask Collections meets J.F. Willumsen in a museum in Frederikssund. I also advise private and commercial clients on art. I have published nine different books about street art, graffiti and my own project Brask Studio Visits, where I visit artists in their studios and photograph and write about them.
How do you keep up-to-date with contemporary artists? Your instagram is full of artists in studio visits, do you use that as a tool of sourcing new artists?JENS-PETER BRASK
I follow younger artists on Instagram and they contact me and ask if I want to visit their studios. I feel very privileged.
Painting features heavily in your collection, is that due to your graffiti roots or is there another draw to that medium for you?JENS-PETER BRASK
Painting is definitely my favourite medium, perhaps due to the fact that I have a background in graffiti.
Where do you see your collection headed in the future?JENS-PETER BRASK
I hope to see it in various contexts, in museums and I hope that it will grow with the addition of new artists that I will meet in the future.