Elizabeth Fazzare: How did you begin to build your own collection?
Lisa Schulte: When I purchased my first couple of pieces, I had not really thought about building a collection. I just realized the power art can have on your soul. I felt happier, calmer and even more inspired. Safe to say, I was hooked.
Marisabel Bazan: As Lisa said, we believe that art can improve your state of being, mentally and spiritually. We have a deep appreciation for art that heals and look for that when adding onto our collection. My artist friends have always been the first source of inspiration and I feel that supporting one another is important whether motivationally or collaboratively so often I commission people I know and want to support. One of my most treasured purchases was from a good friend of mine, a Chilean mixed media artist named Vivi Cuevas. I commissioned a large piece from her “Hichis” collection, called Sankiu Ossi, which now is the centerpiece of my home studio. Sankiu Ossi is a giant felt textile sculpture that reminds me of the innocence and playfulness of childhood.
EF: What pieces inspired you to continue?
LS: My first large scale oil painting by Sally Bruno inspired me. She paints by the pint, not the tube and scoops it lusciously onto the canvas. The beauty of her work is contagious. I’m also inspired by having Marisabel’s work in conversation with our collection; her handmade butterfly sculptures are an ongoing reminder of the things that drive and inspire both of us: charisma, feminine beauty, artistic creativity, affection, care and balance.
MB: Yes, we have each other’s work throughout our home and in our shared studio space, too and it certainly ends up influencing what we are individually working on. Seeing other artists’ formats and how they handle their mediums, the vibrancy of colors and the intuitive connection with their creations imbues my day with constant sources of inspiration. The fragility of the neon medium and how Lisa continues to put a fresh spin on her body of work through color and form is something that truly sparks my desire to explore the connectivity between artists and medium, making me add new works to our space!
EF: What designers/artists are inspiring you right now?
MB: We are inspired by artists like my fellow Panamanian Olga Sinclair, Othiana Roffiel, Judy Chicago and plenty more! We are also very inspired and fascinated by young, undiscovered talent. We love experiencing their unfiltered imagination.
LS: Alongside these, we admire local LA-based artists like Matthew Ryan Herget, Alex Couwenberg, Gregory Siff, and Eric Johnson who are also in our collection. Purchasing from local artists has always been important to us because we have much more access to knowing them personally. It definitely has influenced my decision in which art I collect. I can understand their process, see their studios, see them at shows and talk to them about their art. There is a connection, which in return makes their art in my home so much more special and interesting to live with.
EF: Does the marketplace help your discovery process? Why or why not?
LS: I don’t think the marketplace helps our discovery. I am lucky that my friends are mostly artists, so I hear about their upcoming shows and other new artists way ahead of most people. It helps to be in the circle—almost as an insider. This is how we make our most dynamic purchases.
MB: I think the marketplace does inspire the pieces I look into acquiring, sometimes. However, as Lisa said, we are also lucky enough to often be in a position to purchase directly from the artist, which we both find very edifying. What’s been very common in recent years—especially now with galleries reconsidering their brick-and-mortars—is artists taking the opportunity to sell their work directly from the studio, something I do regularly, too. For independent artists like myself, the studio acts like a showroom while the marketplace advises the formulation of a self-made market. It will be interesting to see how this develops with the rise of digital sales and social media.
EF: What is the next piece on your radar?
LS: We are both really interested in young artists with promising talent.
MB: Yes, we’re keeping a close eye on Heather Day’s work at the moment. She feels like someone really going places and we’re excited to see what is next for her work.
EF: What is the one piece that got away?
LS: There are many…
MB: Yes, but we have a long-term goal of bringing together different pieces of art forming a consistent collection so if one gets away, it’s safe to say, it wasn’t meant to be. While most of the time, we commission our friends, there have been moments where we couldn’t snag a work, but that’s because of timing—which is always against us, no?
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