A few years ago, I decided that I wanted to start collecting as much art as I could afford by young artists I believe in, and talented people I know. Obviously I could never afford works by any of the more famous names, or the artists with the sold-out shows. But the guys who are young, who are just starting out in their careers, who are creating some incredible work that the world hasn’t had time to start outbidding me on – them I can invest in.
There are so many talented artists out there creating beautiful work and selling it at affordable prices. Working from shared studios, still trading their work for things they want or need. And who knows, maybe some day that work will be worth millions, but that’s not really the point. I just want to build a collection of work that I can look back on in 30 years and think, wow, remember the story of how you got this piece?
I fell in love with Cape Town artist Swain Hoogervorst’s work the first time my boyfriend Keenan showed it to me. They went to school together, and Keenan was proudly showing me the work of his very talented friend on his computer. I’ve wanted a piece since I first laid eyes on Swain’s website.
His moody and dramatic seascapes are so incredibly realistic, while having a distinctly dreamy quality at the same time. I couldn’t stop staring at them. The first time I saw one of these pieces in real life, my heart ached to make it mine. I can’t even describe the feeling.
But although Swain may be young, his work has gained him some high praise and notoriety in the art world over the past couple of years, and the seascapes my heart longs for have long been sold for thousands and thousand. These days, his sold-out shows are a highlight on the art scene’s calendar. So when the opportunity came to bid on some of Swain’s work at a silent auction at his Salt River studios, Keenan and I downed some cocktails (for courage) and scrawled our names next to the maximum amount we could afford under three beautiful pieces.
What I find so interesting about Swain’s skill, is how he manages to capture such photorealistic detail in earlier works, while still being able to convey the same level of visual communication in his more recent, impressionistic pieces. I think that’s what the art world refers to as “super-insanely-talented”?
Swain’s work has taken a new direction since his seascapes and luxe poolside scenes. With his visit to an artist’s residence in Finland last winter, his pieces have taken a different kind of dreamy quality that I love as much as the seascapes. His use of colour is what I think makes these pieces so beautiful, and makes you stare and stare at them.
Lucky for us and by some miracle, we won the bid on two of the pieces (not featured in this post) we had been eyeing. So with credit cards and a tiny amount of savings, we managed to get our hands on two works by young Swain. When I took them a local framer, she matter of factly told me, “Well, thats’s the best investment you’ve ever made”. And I have to agree.