13 Jan 2011
DOING AND COLLECTING
Collecting art is a love story and I first fell in love with Dexter Dalwood's stark black painting with a red telephone on an empty table. Simple, yet I used to watch it for hours.
Fashion editor, poet and art collector Amanda Eliasch with a painting by Barry Reigate
Collecting art has to be meaningful in my life. I like to know the artists that I buy from, I have to admire them, and their energy mustn't clash with mine. I feel they leave a part of themselves in my house, so I want to like them too. I really started to like contemporary art when I did a book for Franca Sozzani called British Artists at Work, published by Assouline. It gave me an insight into a world that I would not have seen otherwise. I used to enter an artists studio and have a coup de foudre immediately. I would never buy something that was considered an investment; my brain works in a different way. Either I have feelings or I don't. I also did two other books, one on Indian Artists called Made by Indians, published by Enrico Navarra and another on Brazilian Artists, which I collaborated on with Betty Bui. Tracey Emin's studio was immaculate, colour coordinated and full of fascinating objects. Tracey has soul, character and luckily is as feisty as she is loyal. I adore the little birds she draws, and there is something adorable about being called kitten..
In the summer I was attracted to a white elephant with an orchid on its back, of Marc Quinn's. I did not mean to, but if you have a crush like that, go for it. The elephants were dotted round London and were sold to help save the elephant from extinction, by buying up land so that they can naturally migrate, headed by Mark Shand it was just the sort of wonderful opportunity I like. Auctions for charity often have unusual pieces that the artist would not normally do. So I was lucky enough to get this beautiful elephant which takes up the whole of my drawing room in Cheyne Walk.
Another favourite is a skull chair, by ATELIER VAN LIESHOUT, "Sensory Deprivation Skull’, 2007, which I notice children love and sit in for hours. It has doors into a whole new world, they can play peek-a-boo and listen to conversations that they are not meant to. I bought it at Phillips de Pury.
I go all over the place and often run in and run out of galleries. They are stark places and you feel watched. Another skull I loved was by The Chapman Brothers, whose work I first admired at Sensation. My sons at the time used to ask to go to see the show, to see the Shark of Damien Hirst's. I encouraged them. I then realised that they used to skip under the guard's eyes and run as fast as they could to see the Chapman Brother's sculptures. The skulls are twins and against a shocking pink background grab your attention when you enter the room.
I had the good fortune to buy a magpie from Polly Morgan, a beautiful young artist; it reminded me of when I was a child. My mother was obsessed with counting magpies, so I immediately bought it. I always want to find a second as it sits on a telephone all on its own, and I would like two for joy. My brain works like that. Passion and then reaction. The same as in life. It can be the only way to start collecting.
I also love to take photographs and make my own art piece; recently I have got into neon lights. I met the delightful Michael Flectchner who with Kay Saatchi has depicted my various characteristics. The seven deadly sins. If only I could be as naughty as this. They were born out of taking delight in biblical glamour. I can't wait to do a crime and punishment series, this time with Julia Laverne whose cartoons are totally different from Kay's but so good. In between this I spread my wings and go from decorating to writing poetry, and as a fashion editor this keeps me abreast of what is happening in this magical world.