Interview with Art Collector Jennifer Terzian

Tell us about the first instance where you became involved in the art industry?

My first job was assistant director at Peter Fetterman Gallery in Santa Monica, CA. I had just moved back from London where I received my MA in Post War Contemporary Art from the Sotheby’s Institute. It was a great introduction to the commercial gallery world.

Peter Fetterman Gallery

Artists: Paul Weiner (top), Audun Alvestad (bottom). Photo: Roland Ofstad

Why do our readers need art in their lives?

Art gives us the opportunity to express ourselves through creation, collection and appreciation. Our experience with art is completely personal. We have total ownership of our relationship with art. Whatever capacity we choose to engage with art, we will no doubt experience an emotion, a reaction and hopefully a fresh perspective for what comes next.

Artists: Danny Fox (top), Alan Fears (bottom). Photo: Roland Ofstad

Tell us your first exposure to art and what led you to be a collector.

My first exposure to art that comes to mind was a visit to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art with my mom. I was probably 7 years old. I remember being very curious about the collector’s whose names appeared on the labels next to the artwork and thinking who were these people who loaned their treasures to a museum? How did they find and purchase these paintings? I was intrigued and the experience definitely had a lasting impact.

What is the motivation for art collecting?

Personally, it is to cultivate relationships with artists whose work speaks to me. I collect art that has meaning behind it and tells a story. For others, it might be for investment or to be a part of a particular movement. All of these motivators contribute to the art market and that is a good thing.

Artist: Cristina Lama Ruiz. Photo: Roland Ofstad

Through your experience, tell us why people lean toward art collecting.

My clients are mostly new collectors interested in the energy and excitement that the experience of collecting art delivers. Meeting artists, attending fairs and gallery shows, bidding at auction…there are so many ways in which people can engage with art collecting. Now more than ever, being an art collector is accessible and not only reserved for the elite upper class.

Since emerging art is tricky, how do you identify art with potential?

It is crucial to see a lot of art in order to identify what has staying power. I am constantly making studio visits, attending gallery and museum shows, meeting with MFA students and those who have just completed their programs. In addition to IRL visits, I follow many artists on Instagram and watch their progression and what galleries they become affiliated with…like I said, there is so much transparency these days and social media is a really wonderful tool to use to keep up with emerging art.

Studio visit with Mike Shultis, Yale MFA

Is there any experience with art that changed the way you view the world and live life?

My time in London completely changed my experience with art. I spent a significant amount of time inside the Mark Rothko room at the Tate Modern. That really had a spiritual affect on me and I will always treasure those long afternoons I was fortunate enough to spend inside that room. It gave me the confidence and fortitude to work hard but to also maintain a sense of calm and appreciation for the beauty of life and not to lose sight of the sheer fact we are only here for so long.

Try to picture a person who never visited an art gallery or museum show and never bought artwork. What would you say to him/her regarding why art is important in life?

It is such a personal, subjective experience and that question is best left for the person to figure out the answer. However, the first step in developing an appreciation for art is walking inside an art gallery or museum. Just by doing that you are inviting new ideas, theories, judgements and critiques into your life whether you like it or not. I would say sit with those feelings for awhile, revisit the art that spoke to you and think about how it fits into your life.

Finally, if you come up with one or more questions that I have not included, please feel free to do add them in third person, since they will be published.

I have no other questions – these are all great questions you have asked!

Mark Rothko at Yale Art Gallery

Mark Rothko at Yale Art Gallery

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.