WORDS / SUZANNAH SCHRECKHISE
PHOTO / MARSHA LANE FOSTER
Demara Titzer, a Bella Vista resident, has lived across the United States. During this time, she developed a love for art collecting that is quite evident when one visits her home. This collection is thorough, surprising and eclectic. Along with collecting, she curates shows around Bentonville and supports local artists through patronage, promotion and encouragement. She sat down with The Idle Class to talk about her collection and why she loves art so much.
Why did you start collecting art?
When I moved to Los Angeles and Manhattan I was exposed to art galleries in the areas that I worked or on trips to Santa Barbara, San Diego, Palm Springs and elsewhere.
Did you start collecting by mistake or was it intentional? What was the first piece in your collection?
I bought an art print from a shop in Downtown LA near my office. It’s “Tender Dinghi” by Friedensreich Hundertwasser
Do you own pieces from NWA artists?
I am around artists and artwork quite often. I have a large collection of art at this point so an artwork has to 1) really speak to me and secondly, where the artist is at in their career is of interest. What do I mean by that? I have watched artists for years, observed how they progress through various stages, styles and mediums yet their work is still uniquely them. It’s fascinating to see them literally in their work. Occasionally artists have what I would call a break through into a work or series that still holds remnants of previous works but pushes those ideas into something new and astonishing. So I am always open to artwork that has an indescribable combination of factors that fit my art collecting strategy.
I have purchased artworks from some of our distinguished Arkansas artists as a specific goal to own their work:
- Robyn Horn, “Fractured Millstone # 1176” Jarrah burl wood
- George Dombek, “An Invention” watercolor on paper
- Prints by Evan Lindquist, Arkansas First Art Laureate, including an early self portrait
Can you name three emerging artists in NWA who should be on our radar?
We have so many amazing artists whose careers are growing quickly with all the great community support. There are literally thousands that I have yet to see and experience so any suggestions I would make would have to be put in context. 1) I collect primarily abstract artwork and sculpture. 2) I’m learning about new artists every month. It wouldn’t be fair to choose only three amongst so many.
What is your advice to other collectors who are interested in the local art scene or market?
When you see work that grabs you, talk to the artist about their work. If the artist isn’t there, read their bio on display, note their website or social media so you can know more about them. Get to know the stories behind the works that interest you. Go to exhibitions when the artist is there, during artist receptions. The image and title are just the beginning of your experience with the work. Original artwork in your home provides endless enjoyment as you relive the moment, the place, the narrative of the artwork that you can share with others. I still remember all of those experiences with artists and the work I bought from them.
How many artworks do you own?
Let’s just say over 100 which includes prints and multiples!
What is the main motivation behind your collecting?
The love of original artwork and how it transforms a space eternally and to support artists.
Do you have an immediate connection to a work of art or does it develop over time?
Always an immediate connection.
How important is it for you to meet up or even build relationships with the artists you collect?
My #1 priority.
I would love to hear about your experience of working with artists, can you tell me more about your relationships with artists?
We have so many great artists who are creating amazing artwork in their studios. I support artists in many ways depending on their needs.
- Some have not had an exhibit so it could include pricing strategy and title development. I firmly believe artists should invest time into choosing titles. They are a connection point with buyers whether they are references from songs, nature, personal life, events….they should be meaningful as it adds to the richness of the artwork.
- Others are more mature in their careers and need feedback on various market specific trends
- One of the hardest things for artists is getting their work shown. As NWA businesses reached with an interest in supporting local artists I started curating art exhibitions. Now over two and half years I’ve been able to utilize artist relationships to identify which artist(s) would be a good fit for each business. We have had a successful track record in sales for an emerging art market.
Would you give any advice to artists in NWA on fostering relationships with collectors?
Collectors find artists. Artists that are consistently creating new works, have a unique style, and consistent high level of quality while actively exhibiting their work will get noticed. Many artists are selling straight from Facebook every day. They have developed a strong fan base that buy multiples. When anyone approaches an artist to ask about an artwork or their exhibition they are a potential collector so artists should be prepared to talk to everyone at their artist reception who is engaging with their work. It may not be a sale that night but it’s the start of a relationship.
How and where do you enjoy displaying your art collection at home?
Everywhere! but each artwork has to have the right space that honors it. I am often re-curating my home to ensure any new work finds its home where it can shine.
Do you arrange your interiors around your art or buy art to match your interiors?
Never. Art is bought then contemplated sometimes for weeks before it is installed. Furniture can be curated as well. There’s a balance to achieve with everything in a space.
Does your art collection extend to your work environment?
Yes, in that, due to being a collector for many years I know a lot of artists or can find an artist if an associate is looking for something for their office or event or home.
What is your art routine? How do you regularly involve in art and how much time do you spend on art-related activities?
- I curate art for four locations in NWA currently so I am engaged with it everyday in selecting artists for group or solo exhibitions.
- Artist studio tours, research on line, selecting the artworks for the exhibitions, gathering bios, images, head shots for Public Relations efforts (social media and traditional media content generation).
- Installing the artwork. Scheduling artist receptions with artist and business owners. Coordinating or providing the food and beverages for the receptions. Photographing the receptions for the artist and social media content.
- I attend as many art exhibitions in the community as I can. If I can’t be there for the receptions then I sometimes show up early or arrange to go on another day where I have the time to explore the work.
- I monitor artists work on their social media accounts to identify works that I want to schedule an appointment to see.
Who inspires you the most in the art world?
Has curating changed the way you collect art?
Yes, I get to see a lot more artwork than what is selected for exhibitions.
Do you personally like all the art you choose to curate?
Yes, I appreciate each of them for their individual narrative, their approach to the work, their passion and commitment.