Living with Art: At Home with the Collector

At Art & Light, we’re firm believers that art makes the space. The pieces we surround ourselves with bring joy and meaning to our day to day lives, and we are passionate about connecting you with the artwork that tells your story. We recently visited with collectors Gene and Johnny Aiken in their home and asked a few questions about their art collecting journey. To see artwork in the collectors’ space is really the icing on the cake, and we wanted to share that with you.

Step into the collector’s home for a Q&A…

Gene Aiken admiring pieces by Diane Kilgore Condon in her gallery wall

Gene Aiken admiring pieces by Diane Kilgore Condon in her gallery wall

Q: We know you recently moved into this new home, about how much time did you spend thinking about the art and the placement?

A: Not much. The foyer was really easy. It was intentional in this space to have a “his” and “her” piece, but then it turned out that every room has “his” and “hers” pieces. The only room that we really had to study and work on is the large room where we knew there was going to be a gallery wall. But those things kind of fell into place - we laid them out and it’s perfect.. and really very meaningful.

I asked Johnny to come up with his top three favorite pieces of his artwork, and then his top three favorite pieces of my artwork. Then I did the same and we had one in common - and so it hangs above the fireplace. In planning this home, we took velvet swatches and walked around and got the common colors, and they’re all in this painting. We used these colors for the pillows, which are the main accessories in the living room and it ties everything together.

The main thing that’s fun about this house is that we built it around our artwork, and that’s why it’s black and white inside and outside. We wanted that sort of classic neutral backdrop for our artwork.

Q: Does your taste usually stay the same with art, or do your selections sometimes surprise you?

A: I’m pretty much the same. I tend to gravitate towards a style - I love the serene and delicate, while Johnny loves bold and beautiful.

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“If you love it, it will find a place.”

A beautiful pairing by Sali Swalla contribute a serene feeling to this bedroom

A beautiful pairing by Sali Swalla contribute a serene feeling to this bedroom

Q: Do you buy pieces for special occasions or to give as gifts?

A: We do. We give Diane Kilgore Condon birds a lot to people that we love, that we know will remember that they came from us. I commissioned an artist, Melissa Anderson, to create a piece for our second anniversary that depicts our love journey. Everything has meaning.

Q: What do you like about Art & Light?

A: Well I love the whole thing. I love the diversity of the artists. I love the ease of “shopping” and not feeling pressured. I love all the people who staff it. The energy there is joyful, bright and loving - just like it’s owner… we reflect what we do, and what we purchase!

Ceramic “Soulmates” by Cassie Butcher"

Ceramic “Soulmates” by Cassie Butcher"

Q: Do you think a lot about your collection, or do you just get excited and inspired by artwork that you see and purchase it?

A: No. It’s just see it, like it. It’s a connection. A friend of mine who is an interior designer once told me, “If you love it, it will find a place.” Between the two of us, there’s so much artwork that has gone to live with our children. So these are the pieces we really wanted to surround ourselves with.

Q: What advice would you give to someone who is timid about collecting art or just starting out?

A: Just to go with that they love. And the more you purchase something, the more if reflects you.

Pieces by Jeffrey Leder create perfect harmony above this wine bar. Below, a small work by Katie Walker brings some rich color to the space.

Pieces by Jeffrey Leder create perfect harmony above this wine bar. Below, a small work by Katie Walker brings some rich color to the space.

Whether you’ve been collecting artwork for years or are just starting out, we hope this inspires you to search for the pieces that bring you joy. You truly can’t go wrong by collecting what you love. Be sure to join us for our birthday celebration on August 23rd! We hope to see you in the gallery for our group exhibition from 6pm - 8pm.