Yesterday, I had the privilege of becoming an art collector.

Yes, me. The one who can’t tell Dali from da Vinci, Monet from Matisse.

Well, I’ve got to start somewhere.

So yesterday, I invested $48 of my hard earned moolah in one of 36 art pieces from young artists in Singapore as part of an “experiment”, which is a bit more exciting (and cheaper) than walking into an art gallery and picking up something off the wall.

For $48, I bought myself a ballot. Ballot #17 to be exact.

ballot #17

My lucky ballot!

This little brown piece of paper had a counterpart (a smaller piece of paper with “17” on it) sitting in a transparent, perspex box. These numbers were drawn one at a time, where the ballot owner of the number drawn would get to choose the piece of art they wanted. The earlier you get picked, the better your chances at getting the piece you’re eyeing.

Alan's not the tallest guy... so a table helps.

When #17 was eventually called, I was a both excited and slightly panicky because the pieces that I had my finger on had already been snapped up.

Then in a moment of inspiration (it was brilliant, bright and big!) and madness (it was BIG! 91cm x 122cm), I picked “Jellyfish-splish” by Elizabeth Lim Su Ying.

Art and the artist

That's Elizabeth, next to her work

And the great part of picking up one of these pieces, was that I got to meet the artist!

It was a brief, refreshing conversation with someone who’s completely unpretentious and honest. All the best, Elizabeth, in your studies at Lasalle and I hope you get to live your dream! 🙂 How many art collectors can say that the artist of one of their pieces added them on facebook? (Actually it’d be pretty creepy if you received “Vincent Van Gogh tried to add you as a friend” in your inbox)

Evil Empire boss

Anyway, kudos to my good friend Alan and his “Evil Empire” for putting this thing together to help young artists, the local arts scene, and making the art more accessible to the clueless masses. Ok, maybe that’s stretching it a little, but 36 people is still a pretty good start. (See all 36 art pieces) Now I just hope my cat doesn’t scratch it to bits before I get it framed and hung.

cat critic

Everyone's a critic

Like me, the 3,600 athletes who will be in Singapore for the Youth Olympic Games will also become art collectors. Each of them will receive a one-of-a-kind art piece from Primary School students in Singapore. While they are unlikely to be as lucky as I was to be able to be able to talk face-to-face with the artist, they’ll have a little note that they can scribble their thoughts and thanks to the kids drew/painted/coloured/crayoned their little masterpieces.

How cool is that? 🙂