Elizabeth Fazzare: How did you begin to build your own collection?
Moe Harkless: It started with the people around me pushing me to finally do it. I’ve always been into art and talked about it with my friends. One of my friends was pushing me to buy something and treat it as an investment. Once I started collecting, I wanted to keep collecting. I realize the value in holding onto pieces that speak to you and it’s pretty cool to see your collection come together. It’s special to see each piece and the meaning behind it and why you bought it.
EF: What pieces inspired you to continue?
MH: It was the first piece. I really enjoyed being able to say I own the pieces I was looking at and liked. It made me want to continue to collect and build my catalogue.
EF: What designers/artists are inspiring you right now?
MH: I really like William Kelly; he’s a great artist. I’ve previously been really compelled by Pop Art, but there’s something about his stuff that pulls me in with the fine details. He has a way of bringing his canvas to life.
Salehe Bembury was the vice president of sneakers and men’s footwear at Versace. It’s cool to see his journey. He recently collaborated with New Balance and has worked with several other big brands. To see his evolution is inspiring, especially because he looks like me.
Designer Jerry Lorenzo has been a trailblazer his whole career: creating his own lane, breaking boundaries and collaborating with some of the biggest brands in the world. His breaking barriers with his classy comfort style inspires me. He can guide people on the red carpet with original and innovative looks, things you’ve never seen before.
Cleon Peterson’s art is always relevant to the times and what’s going on in our country and the world. He uses his art as a way of sharing his story and beliefs. It’s inspiring because he’s speaking his mind through his art.
EF: Does the marketplace help your discovery process? Why or why not?
MH: No, the market doesn’t dictate what I collect. Once I’m buying pieces as investments, I will pay more attention to the market. However, my focus right now is purchasing pieces that I connect with and that speak to me.
EF: What is the next piece on your radar?
MH: The next piece on my radar will definitely be by Amoako Boafo. I first saw him during all the art fairs in New York City last spring and his work really grabs my attention because of the thick and distinctive strokes he paints with. I then came to find out that he uses his fingers instead of a brush. His style is so unique and gives his art its own feel and look. I’m looking forward to trying to get my hands on some of his work.
EF: What is the one that got away?
MH: Another artist I follow is Kenny Scharf. I had an opportunity to purchase an original of his but I waited too long to pull the trigger and someone else got it.