Sandra Powell and Andrew King have been avid art collectors for many years. In 2014, the couple sold their expansive collection of Australian modernist paintings to focus on their true passion, collecting Street Art. Over the past decade, the couple have dedicated themselves to this contemporary movement, from assisting and guiding artists with exhibitions to consulting, and most important of all, collecting.
Ahead of our July Prints & Multiples auction, Hannah Ryan, our Art Specialist & Manager of Speciality Auctions, sat down with Sandra Powell to discuss all things Street Art and collecting.
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your collection, and what initially sparked your interest in Street Art?
Andrew and I had a business in the fashion industry that specialised in ’street’ trends from around the world. On a business trip to London, we became aware of Banksy who was stencilling his funny and poignant art all over the city.
On returning home we reached out to the artist Rone who was out stencilling the streets of Melbourne. He introduced us to the other members of The Everfresh Crew, and it was down the rabbit hole of graffiti and street art for us from then on.
How do you approach acquiring a piece for your collection?
It always starts with the image. If we see an image we love on the streets, on social media, in a book or at a gallery we track down the artist. We try and meet the artist and if we have a connection, we work out a way to buy their art either directly, through their gallery or at auction.
Do you have any advice for new collectors who are interested in Street Art?
Go with your heart! Don’t worry about the latest trends or what you think you should like – try and buy what you love and want to live with every day on your walls.
What do you see for the future of Street Art in Australia?
The future is really exciting for street art both in Australia and worldwide. Street artists are finally being recognised for their talents and receiving the accolades they deserve both from art institutions and local governments.
What are your favourite four pieces in the July Prints & Multiples auction?
My favourite piece in the coming Leonard Joel auction is lot 154 by the New York artist Swoon. This is from her exhibition at Metro Gallery, and she came to Melbourne. It was the first time we met, and we have formed a close friendship.
Lot 137 Dabsmyla are a duo from Melbourne who were pioneers in the city’s street art and graffiti scene. They currently live in LA and have become very collectable. Plus, they are a great, talented and fun couple.
Lot 15 by Invader. A dedicated-to-the-streets French artist whose work is super collectable. He also has been to Melbourne and left his mark on our streets.
Lot 16 Banksy. Such a legend and the reason for our addiction!
Hannah Ryan, Art Specialist, Manager of Speciality Auctions