Signe & Genna Grushovenko

The Power of Art Collecting

Signe Grushovenko
  Vintage dolls in our dining room admiring Cora Waterhouse's 'Henrietta's Millions'.

Vintage dolls in our dining room admiring Cora Waterhouse's 'Henrietta's Millions'.

A single girlfriend recently told me that she'd looked around her home and realized that all or her art featured single ladies. They were happy ladies and powerful ladies and beautiful, lovely, glorious ladies, but they were all solitary. As a prompt to her subconscious she was planning to add some images of couples to her collection. During that weekend, she acquired a piece from a mutual artist friend called 'The Suitors'. The piece featured three handsome gents all offering up platters of cake to a woman who stood above.

Weeks later, a friend of Genna's was coming to visit. I thought, 'Hmm. Cute single boy.' I called up my friend and invited her to join us all for the weekend. They hit it off. The only problem was that she had already begun a nice flirtation with another friend-of-a-friend and was feeling a little conflicted. Days later we were dissecting the situation over the phone when I yelled 'ROCHELLE!' (that's not really her name, but you get the idea.) 'ROCHELLE! I wonder when you're going to hear from your third suitor?!' She laughed it off with a 'God forbid!' but the next morning I got the text: "Well, the third suitor has arrived, WTH?!' She had received a ping from an excellent prospect on match.com. I won't tell you the end of the story in case you know us and you've figured out who 'Rochelle' is, but we'll just say she made her choice and things are shaping up quite nicely.

This story did not surprise me. Collecting and living with art is a powerful practice. It's like a super powered version of a vision board. With a vision board, we're taking a moment to tape tasty visions to a poster board that will receive random glances in our home office or inside a closet door...with our art collections we're hunting out objects into which artists have poured hours and days of their own loving energy, making carefully discerned choices between them, and committing real money and space to items we will spotlight in our choicest spots and gaze upon for years. The art we live with can't help but influence our minds and hearts.

  A Dolan Geiman bird diorama, one of Genna's wire wrapped pots, and a slice of our dining room.

A Dolan Geiman bird diorama, one of Genna's wire wrapped pots, and a slice of our dining room.

Looking around our own home at our own copious collection, we have images of nature, travel, whimsy, family gatherings, girlfriends, tin cup robots, happy couples, dreamers, girls flashing sock monkeys in the snow, birds, birds, birds, birds, and birds. Truly, what is the bird thing about? I'm counting at least a few dozen birds. I'm in my living room now being watched over by a large scale photograph by Mark MacKInnon of a couple strolling on a stoney beach. We'll be walking on that beach this coming April.

That's the work we live with. The work we make is 100% aspiration. It's close family, connection, communion, warmth, marriage, friendship...all presented in open ended narrative form to leave room for viewer participation. It is beyond an honor to have our work taken into the homes of others and absorbed into the fabric of their daily lives.

What is your collection saying to you?

  Kent Ambler's 'Tree of Life' woodblock print, a tiny Linda Lewis sculpture (we have 8!), and a peek into my studio.

Kent Ambler's 'Tree of Life' woodblock print, a tiny Linda Lewis sculpture (we have 8!), and a peek into my studio.