Arifa Akbar: The exhilaration of becoming a collector

Comment

Share
Related Topics

I was led into a gallery in Darlington eight years ago where the Own Art scheme had been piloted for some time before becoming available nationally. Every inch of the gallery, Gallerina, was crammed full of paintings, prints and ceramics, like an Ali Baba’s cave for contemporary art.



My friend, Ian, led me around the room in a high state of excitement, pointing out a wall covered with large Peter Blake prints to a piece of graffiti by Banksy which was casually resting in another nook.

Ian had only recently starting buying works through the scheme (he’s bought lots since) and he was zealous about how painless spending up to £2,000 could be. “Look around, choose anything. You don’t have to pay a penny today.”

I felt as if I had been ambushed by a car salesman, and slightly dizzy at the prospect of making a choice. I was not yet a homeowner, and here I was making a decision on buying an item that was as far removed from my daily luxuries, let alone necessities, as it could get. Yet it was exhilarating to think I could walk out of the shop that very day with a piece of contemporary art.

How to choose? Jumping from one art work to another, I felt a slight anxiety stirring over whether to put my money behind a “trophy”, such as a Peter Blake print which at around £1,000 (a mere £100-a-month) would doubtless be a solid financial investment, or if I should take a punt on a cheaper work by an emerging artist and hope for a healthy profit.

Perhaps, said Ian, I should choose what I liked, something I could even grow to love in years to come. I found myself returning to a painting of a purple cat with its head turned curiously towards the mouth of a gramophone, like a painted version of the His Master’s Voice trademark on vinyl records but for cat-lovers.

It wasn’t a particularly complicated or clever painting but it was one I found really quite charming.

Ian was right, walking out of the gallery with the £800 painting under my arm (after having signed up to pay £80 a month for the next 10 months), really was painless.

I was told it was by a British artist called Colin Ruffell, who apparently sold well abroad. It didn’t matter. It wasn’t a trophy or an investment. It was a work I liked, and nearly a decade later, I have no idea how much it is worth – but it still makes me smile.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Recruitment Genius: General Factory Operatives

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

If I were Prime Minister: Every privatised corner of the NHS would be taken back into public ownership

Philip Pullman
 

Errors & Omissions: Magna Carta, sexing bishops and ministerial aides

John Rentoul
As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links