07 Apr Young Collectors: Daniella Mooney | Studio Mates and Eclectic Treasures
We’re looking into the homes and studios of young collectors, all artists themselves, to find inspiration and some personal, practical advice for starting an art collection. Our first stop was at Daniella Mooney‘s sunlit Gardens apartment where she shared the stories behind pieces she has been given or has bought, or in some cases salvaged, over the years. Her eclectic collection breathes fresh air among an indoor jungle of delicious monsters and hanging ferns. The way Daniella displays her works gives as much significance to a would-be throwaway sketch as an original piece from an artist’s first solo show; an oil painting will hang across from a cherished band poster. We asked her about her treasures and about how one would go about starting to collect their own.
What was the first piece you ever owned?
I think I must have been in 2nd year of art school when I bought a very small Michael Taylor drawing titled A Matinee Idol – Ziggy die-hard. 2007. That was the first one I bought. The first one I owned which is up in my house at the moment is an etching by Matthew King. During a printmaking class I told him I really really liked his print and I asked him for it.
For you, is collecting about what makes you happy, or about a good investment?
It’s definitely about what makes me happy. I could have stared holes straight through all the art on my walls. To be honest, I’m not an art collector per se, I think I just happen to have a really nice collection of art.
How would you describe your taste? Is there anything in particular you look for?
Most of the pieces I have are from my friends. They have either been gifts, art swaps, loans or even pretty much me asking for them. I guess I’m just really lucky I have friends who make great art.
Do you have a favourite piece, and can you tell us about it?
One of my favourites is a watercolour by Georgina Gratrix. It’s a painting of a man with what looks to be a green ghost-like figure behind him. There is underlined text above the figure which reads ‘great desire’. There are actually four words in the sentence but the first two have been painted over. For ages I’ve tried to figure out what she’d written, and I could only come up with, ‘consumed by’, but I’m not sure. Georgina and I had studios across from each other for a while and I hung out there quite a lot.
R: Georgina Gratrix
Could you please let us know how the ‘Static Universe’ print came to be yours?
Rowan Smith and I used to date and this was a gift from him. It’s a beautiful piece. It was from his exhibition in 2008 titled Future Shock Lost at Whatiftheworld Gallery. It is a photo-etching of an old television screen engulfed in static. The image of static refers to the microwave theory, a theory claiming radiation from the Big Bang still exists inside static, even in the most domestic of appliances. I also have a small wooden sculpture of a boy playing Nintendo which he carved in 3rd year at art school. I like to think I salvaged it from his studio before he left to do a Masters Degree in America.
L-R: Rowan Smith, Georgina Gratrix
Could you tell us about how you choose to display the artworks in your home?
I find a well-placed plant really adds to an artwork. No, as you can see I don’t really have a specific curated vision. I’m running out of wall space in my small flat so it looks like a bit of a second-hand shop at the moment. Artworks are mixed with other interesting images and small sculptures that I like, it’s all very eclectic.
What makes something collectible?
I think there are a couple of factors involved when it comes to collecting art. Firstly if it’s aesthetics that you’re going for (as in my case) then one builds their collection according to personal taste. The other approach involves analysing the art market in order to determine where the investment-grade art is. This process is more analytic and involves everything from which fairs the artist has shown at, the placement of artworks with the right collectors and museum, or even which art institution the artist went to (obviously there are exceptions). There are also things like insider info and art world gossip as to who is being bought and why, which plays an important role. Beyond all of that, I think it’s more interesting to adopt a historical perspective where one asks questions like; what will be the significant art of our time? What is the most challenging, confrontational, and innovative work being made today?
L-R: Linda Stupart & Michael Linders, Rowan Smith, Jan Henri Booyens, Julia Rosa Clark, Marc Barben
What are you currently coveting?
I would love a ‘Swembad’ print by Matty Roodt. As part of a Warren Editions collaboration she produced a large 12 layer linocut print of a swimming pool.
Who are the up-and-coming local artists you have your eye on? (Who is making exciting things?)
I really love the work of Jared Ginsberg and Kyle Morland. They are currently based in the same studio at Atlantic House in Maitland, Cape Town. Jared creates, among other things, installations involving aspects of Kinetic art, while Kyle creates large-scale abstract metal sculptures.
Do you have any advice for someone looking to start their own collection?
I would say maybe start by visiting artists’ studios. Become friends with artists and show a sincere and keen interest in their work if it’s something that you want to own or invest in. Obviously it’s not always possible to hang out with the artists so I would suggest visiting galleries or museums and finding out as much as possible about art and the artists whose work you would like to buy.
Feeling inspired? Strauss Online’s online-only sale is a great place to start. The sale launches today and runs until 8pm on the 20th of April. Expect to find truly affordable artworks by names like Kudzanai Chiurai, William Kentridge, David Hockney, David Goldblatt and Andy Warhol amongst many others.
Feeling lucky? Enter our Instagram competition where you could win R10 000 to start your collection with Strauss Online!!
L-R: Georgina Gratrix, Georgina Gratrix, Georgina Gratrix, Sebastian Borckenhagen, Felix Gonzalez-Torres
Julia Rosa Clark
L-R: Sebastian Borckenhagen, Felix Gonzalez-Torres