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Addicted to Art

Painter Kelly Sueda shares his passion for collecting with others looking for their own works of art.


When Kelly Sueda was offered a new car as a college graduation present, he turned it down—asking instead if he could use the money to acquire some art. It was the beginning of an art collection that now, a decade later, includes American artist Robert Rauschenberg and British photographer Adam Fuss.

photo by Mark Arbeit

Today, you might call Sueda the collector’s collector. He’s a well-known local artist and also a partner at the Fine Art Associates, where he uses his knowledge of, and enthusiasm for, a wide range of art to help connect clients with works that will become a part of their lives.

“Collecting starts out as kind of a hobby,” he says. “You’ve only bought the one piece, you’ve just got something on the wall. But it’s an addiction. It just grows. Now my wife isn’t sure, when she comes home, whether something new is going to be on the wall or not.”

It’s an addiction Sueda can live with. He loves the daily injection of transcendence that having art in his home brings to his otherwise ordinary life. “I walk through my house, and think, I love that piece. And then you’ll walk away, and give your kid a bath, and go on to something else.”

Sueda is looking for people who are interested in collecting and discussing art for a quarterly young collectors’ forum that will include talks from artists and major collectors. “I don’t care if you don’t have any pieces, I just want you to want pieces—to be interested in it,” he says. For more information, get in touch with him at kellysueda@yahoo.com.

Getting Started
Have some wall space? Here are five tips for beginning collectors from The Contemporary Museum chief curator Jay Jensen.

Buy what you love. Art that speaks to you will never go out of style.

Buy young. Artists at the beginning of their careers are interesting to watch develop—and early works can be less expensive than they will be later on.

Start small. If you know who you like but think you can’t afford it, think again: works that are physically small are often more affordable than big ones.

Buy juried. Big collectors often hire art consultants. If you’re buying from a juried show, you’re getting art that someone knowledgeable has selected.

Put art into your travel. Huge art shows like New York’s Armory Show, Miami’s Art Basel and its sister event in Switzerland, provide a high-concentration dose of the contemporary art scene.

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Honolulu Magazine January 2018
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