Mark van Hooff & René Vlemmix
Amsterdam's Young Collectors Circle series "Art of Collecting" brings to light the personal relationships between a collector and their favorite artwork.
Amsterdam’s Young Collectors Circle series “Art of Collecting” brings to light the personal relationships between a collector and their favorite artwork.
Mark van Hooff is an art director and graphic designer, and René Vlemmix is a strategic advisor in the cultural sector. The following interview was held with Mark.
This work is called “Untitled”, 2014 and is by Anouk Griffioen. The acquisition of this work went a bit differently than usual for us. Anouk Griffioen usually works on a large format, and apart from needing the space for that, the price of a large work of art is obviously much higher than a smaller piece. But the artist recreated fifty of her large works in a smaller format; in order to finance a book she wanted to publish. Suddenly her work was accessible! You could indicate online which work you were interested in and we picked up our piece up in early 2014, during a collection day at Anouk Griffioen’s studio. All the works hung in a row on a large wall, it looked amazing! It was also really nice to meet her and see her studio. In the end we actually changed our minds when we saw the original artworks, the piece we own now grabbed us just a little bit more than the one we had originally planned to buy. The subject is simple but very intriguing, and there is a lot of detail in the drawing. I’m sure all these things will continue to appeal to me and I think we will still enjoy this work in ten years time.
A house filled with art says a lot about the people who live in it.
MARK VAN HOOFF
My first work was a Calligrafitti (combination of calligraphy and graffiti) by Niels Meulman. I had just bought my first home and wanted to have a work of art for it. I’d been following Niels’ work for a while, partly because he’s from the same design/commercial world that I also work in. When an exhibition of his work was organized in the record shop RushHour in 2009, I went to see it. The fact that it was in a record shop and not a gallery made it accessible and the price was doable as well.I loved them all of the works on display, so a decision was quickly made. Later I also bought works from people like Merijn Hos, Jeroen Erosie and Louis Reith.
There’s not really a theme or subject to what I follow or collect – I basically always make my decision based on aesthetics. My tastes tend to veer towards the world of street art and graphic art, but there definitely has to be more to it than just a tag or graffiti. I find that I look for a particular rawness, but it should also be aesthetically exciting and provocative. I don’t like art that is too polished, computerized or edited in Photoshop; it has to show a certain amount of manual labor. I also need to “believe” in the artwork – I want to believe that the artist really loves the piece and has worked hard for the end result. And finally, the art should not just be dark or gloomy, it has to make me “happy”. If my heart does a little skip, I know it’s right. Apart from the fact that a work of art can excite and inspire you, I also think it adds personality to your home. A house filled with art says a lot about the people who live in it.
I would therefore never buy something from a renowned or established artist just for the name, if I don’t feel any connection with the art or the artist. I mainly buy work from young Dutch artists, mainly because I think they’re awesome, but also because it is affordable. If money and availability were no object, I would love to own a beautiful work by one of the big abstract artists from the 20th century, perhaps something by Ellsworth Kelly, Alexander Calder or Henri Matisse.
Tips & Tricks
I don’t think I’m a typical collector. A work has to speak to me immediately, while I hear from others that it has to grow on them. Also, my taste is usually different from what the renowned galleries have and their artists. I often see the well-known galleries and their famous or trendy artists at fairs, but that usually doesn’t do much for me. So from that point of view I can only say: try to cultivate your own taste and don’t let the art world dictate what is fashionable at any given time. Your first work doesn’t have to cost thousands of euros either, I own several works that cost less than 500 euros.