Magnificent Obsession: Art Collector Mark Sublette
Magnificent Obsession (excerpt)
Spotlighting art collectors from Long Island to La Jolla
Mark Sublette, Medicine Man Gallery
Published online courtesy Southwest Art, October 2011
Mark Sublette, Santa Fe, NM
What kind of artwork do you collect?
Maynard Dixon is the largest part of my collection. I collect all the artists that I represent in Medicine Man Gallery. I also have a fairly significant collection of Ed Mell and Native American art.
How would you describe your approach to collecting?
I’m always looking for something that excites my imagination. If it makes me laugh, smile, or giggle, or if it upsets me to some extent, it’s rewarding to have in my collection.
How long have you been collecting?
I started as a kid, but I've been collecting actively for about 25 years.
How did you get started?
I grew up in New Mexico and started collecting Pueblo pottery.
What was the first piece you purchased?
A little pottery bird from Santa Clara, which I still have. I still have everything.
What’s your most recent acquisition?
It’s a large paint ing that Ed Mell is doing for me on commission. I’m anxious about that.
What’s on your wish list for the future?
The Mell was on my wish list, but I don’t believe in wish lists really. I believe it’s whatever comes your way that excites you. It’s fun when I do shows at the gallery; if the artist creates something I like, it might be the next piece. Or the next piece may just walk through the door.
Is there a piece that got away?
I don’t know if there has been. But sometimes you have to be patient. I did sell a painting by Maynard Dixon that I really loved, then I bought it back by paying more money. The way I buy or collect, I always try to give it my best shot. If it’s some thing I want, I make a decision, and I buy it or I don’t, and I don’t regret it. If you love something, and it’s in the realm of your abilities to purchase it, you should just buy it.
Why do you collect?
Because I have to. It always seemed to be important. For me, it completes my life in away that I can’t explain. Having visual stimulus around you, in whatever form, excites that portion of your brain that fully appreciates what it means to be human.