Over the past fifteen years I have spent time getting to know my art collectors. This started me thinking, if I were to paint a portrait of my ideal patron, what would that collector look like? The work that I have been creating over the past decade has equal shades of masculine and feminine, my paintings inspired by Canada and sport are certainly bold and vivid, but they still exhibit sensual touches of femininity. I have often said that I feel like half woman and half man, as I wrote in the ‘Sensitive Competitive’, perhaps the result of an artist mother and a jock father and spending equal time absorbing their enthusiasm for the worlds of art and sport.
Over the years most of my collectors have been men, more so since I have been painting themes of sport, particularly hockey. My paintings of hockey goalie masks on canvas have found homes in wine cellars, law offices, luxury sports themed man caves and even in Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame. Some pieces hang next to vintage Coca-Cola coolers, and some hang with vintage sports memorabilia. Other pieces have found their way into luxurious man cave bar rooms, next to bottles of fine Glenfiddich single malt scotch whiskey and others share the wall space with 70 inch flat screen private home theatre’s. Leather recliners, steer horns, Hudson’s Bay blankets, and signed hockey masks. Custom pool tables in luxury games rooms and even next to a Ferrari, a Maserati and an Aston Martin.
Now, the paintings also appear in some career man caves, high rise offices in big cities to intimate home offices in the suburbs. It makes me wonder what kinds of conversations my paintings have been privy to, if only the paintings could speak, the stories they would tell.
In reflecting on where the paintings have traveled, and where they hang now, I also think about where the new paintings will find a home. In the head offices of the Montreal Canadiens, Molson Canadian Beer Company or perhaps even in the home of Marcel or Sylvan Adams. Next to the historic hockey memorabilia of Ron Joyce, or in the wine cellar of cheese magnate, Emanuele Saputo? Or could this new painting of Dryden's target mask stay in Victoria, BC? I ran into Dan Parker, of Parker Johnston last week, I could see this piece in his Calgary offices.
Going back to the masculine/feminine, the sensitive competitive makes me think of Guy Laliberte, owner and creator of the mind altering Cirque du Soleil shows. I remember the first time I went to a Cirque show in Las Vegas, it was ‘O’ at The Bellagio. It was masculine/feminine perfected. The perfect combination of athleticism and art. This show led me to create a series about Las Vegas beginning with a Jester, which has become a recurring theme in my work and has now found its way into my most recent painting. As I get ready to reveal this new piece, a showstopper of 5 feet by 4 feet, I see a perfect marriage between the Jester’s of Las Vegas, the colours of the Montreal based Cirque du Soleil corporate tent offices and the legacy of Montreal Canadien’s hockey.
The portrait begins to reveal itself. My portrait of my ideal patron is; man or woman, a passionate entrepreneur filled with wonderlust and willing to try anything once. Someone who makes decisions by their gut and on the fly. An adventurous investor who collects using all five senses.
Whether this piece will join the collection of Geoff Molson or Guy Laliberte, I can’t say, but I could see Shania Twain hanging this in her luxury rumpus room. It’s now all in the hands of the courier that will deliver the invite. Furious optimism has propelled me to this point, why stop now?