Maeve Doyle is an internationally renowned art critic and Artistic Director of Maddox Gallery. As a BBC art correspondent and host of her own art podcast, 'A Private View with Maeve Doyle,' Doyle is an established authority on the art market and an avid collector. To find out what she collects, and why, we sat down with her to discuss her most recent purchase and to understand how she would describe herself as a collector.
What was the first work you purchased and do you still own it?
My first serious investment piece was a diamond dusted Jackie O by artist Russell Young. I would never part with this piece, regardless of the investment opportunity. Everything about the image, and the artist who made it, reminds me of my values, my principles and my family heritage. Jackie’s determination is inspirational, she was a professional woman who overcame tragedy.
What was your most recent purchase and why?
I recently acquired a piece titled ‘Skull’ by the talented duo, the Miaz Brothers. I’ve become fascinated by the concept of ‘vanitas’ in art which is intended to remind the viewer of the transience and shortness of human life, which has been particularly poignant this year.
Alongside my Miaz Brothers piece, I was also lucky enough to recently add a rare Working Class Hero by Ben Eine to my collection. Not only is Eine one of the original street artists responsible for changing the art world perception by working closely with Banksy, but he is also on boards and committees fundraising for mental health, homelessness and addiction charities.
How would you describe yourself as an art collector?
If I let an artwork or artist consume me, it is only a matter of time before I have one. Is there a word for that? Or is that just a collector by definition?
Is there any particular type of art that appeals to you or something that unites all the works in your collection?
It changes all the time. At the moment, challenging myself to understand, appreciate and learn to love art I’m not naturally drawn to is important to me. My belief is great art can expand your consciousness, develop your aesthetic intelligence and accelerate spiritual enlightenment. This year I was introduced to the work of LA based artist Justin Bower, and after spending some time trying to understand the ideas behind his portraits I was completely taken away by his references to mind control, brain implants and the impact of technology. It immediately connected my mind to Francis Bacon and Damien Hirst.
How important is it for you to meet the artist behind the work?
It’s important to me, but it’s such a big question whether you should judge the art or the artist.
What advice do you have for a new collector?
See as much as you can, read everything, listen to with an open mind but make your own decisions, follow artists on Instagram, go to art fairs, artist talks, forums - talk to other collectors and train your eye. If you do hire an art advisor make sure they have the contacts, connections and access to what you can’t get on your own. Once you do your homework, it will be obvious who is the right person for you.
If you could steal one work without getting caught, what would it be?
Devolved Parliament by Banksy, it’s such a good piece and always makes me smile.
Has digitalisation changed the way you collect art?
The successful new players in the art world are driven by technology so in short, technology and digitalisation have changed the “ecosystem” of the art market. For now, the traditional art market, is still driven by valuators and tastemakers. However, going forward the range of creators, suppliers and stakeholders will change due to the paradigm shift brought about by 2020. This will also undoubtedly change the way art is collected too.
What work do you wish you had bought when you had the chance?
In the words of Ai Weiwei, “don’t look back, never look back … keep your eyes on the road ahead” so let’s rephrase the question and say who would I like to collect next? Graceland, Yoshitomo Nara. and Devon DeJardin.
You host a bi-weekly podcast, 'A Private View' where you interview individuals who are redefining the art world. Has there been any artists who have stood out to you or left a lasting impression this year?
I’ve been lucky enough to speak to an array of incredible artists this year on A Private View, some highlights for me were speaking with Justin Bower, Jake Chapman and Carl Hopgood just to name a few.
Which works or artists are you hoping to add to your collection next year?
Yoshitomo Nara is on my wishlist. He opened my mind to the Japanese concept of 'kawaii,' the agency of 'cuteness' and the power of the ‘awww factor’. Other works I want to collect are Princess by Julie Curtiss, ‘Current Mood’ by Jerkface or anything by Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Kerry James Marshall, Nicolas Party, or Ben Eine.