Colorado artist Marc Hanson collects art like an artist would. Meaning what?
“The pieces in my collection are the ones I responded to personally, for the sake of the art,” says Hanson. “We bring them home because we want to keep looking at them. Usually, it’s not for the subject matter but for the paint on the surface.”
First on Hanson’s list of favorite images in his personal collection is a small piece by Nancy Guzik. “I bought this when my kids were young,” recalls Hanson. “The boy in it was almost a dead ringer for one of my sons, and much like the other son, too. I was in a show and there were bid boxes for the artists’ paintings. I had already sold mine, and so I put a bid on this one and won it. I was really thrilled. I just thought it was a delightful little painting.”
“Viva Mexico,” by Frank Gardner, oil, 7 x 5 in. Collection of Marc Hanson
The second piece is by Frank Gardner. “I met him through the blog world a few years ago,” says Hanson. “Then, in 2009, he hosted a bunch of us artists in San Miguel de Allende, and we became friends. I have always loved his work, and I have a number of his pieces — some from trades, others that I purchased. Frank captures the essence of Mexico from a point of view further north in North America. They are very direct, and the light is always there. He is a master at dividing and organizing light and shadow. It’s so simple, and you can see he is painting what he loves. I think I have more of Frank’s paintings than anybody else’s.”
“Cow Study,” by Mostafa Keyhani, oil, 5 x 7 in. Collection of Marc Hanson
Last comes a piece by Mostafa Keyhani, a painter Hanson met through art activities online. “He sent it to me as a gift,” says Hanson. “We had talked a lot on Facebook and so forth, and he just mailed it to me.” The piece proved emblematic of a direction that Hanson was exploring, so the painting became even more precious.
Keyhani came down from Toronto to paint alongside Hanson at one of Hanson’s workshops in Ohio. Hanson duly noted Keyhani’s generous approach to paint application. “In the last couple of years or so I have been moving toward putting more paint on than I have in my entire painting life,” says Hanson. “I started out using gouache, acrylic, and watercolor as an illustrator, and now I’m building up the paint more in my work. That is a direction that I know I am moving in, because that’s what my head wants to look at. Mostafa’s painting was another little jab to keep moving in the direction I want to go. That painting does that for me. It is perfect, the perfect kind of painting for me to look at and think, ‘Yeah, that is what should be going on.’ The paint was just piled on there. It’s just juicy, and I love to see it.
“Deep in the Deepdene,” by Marc Hanson, 2015, oil, 16 x 20 in.
“All the paintings I have in my collection were done by people I know or have at least met. You end up with so much of your own artwork hanging around — it is refreshing to have someone else’s art to respond to.”