By AMAR’E STOUDEMIRE
Portrait By MICHAEL RAVENEY
An NBA star collects art for both enjoyment and to support emerging talents.
My interest in art started maybe six years ago, and I’ve been collecting for about four. I’m really into fashion, and I think that developed my taste for art. My fashion collection is built on pieces I want to keep in my collection forever, and so is my art collection. I approach them both the same way.
When I first started to be interested in art, I asked my friend Swizz Beatz about how the art world works, and how to be involved. I wanted to make sure I was doing the right thing as far as buying. I educated myself on the art business before I purchased any paintings.
In general, my taste depends on how I feel about a certain work. I love street art, and I’m really drawn to portraits of musicians and athletes. I’m primarily into contemporary art. You can put those pieces around your home, and they can sit there forever for you to appreciate.
I’ve become really good friends with artists like Rob Pruitt, Mr. Brainwash, and Retna—I actually just bought a piece of his. I told Retna I wanted something dope, something fresh, something no one has, and he created it for me. I also bought a Basquiat painting not too long ago, and I have a brilliant Patrick Pettersson painting and a Warhol.
I look for pieces that are going to appreciate—pieces that I can keep in my collection forever, but that I could make money off of if I ever decided to trade or sell them. Even though I keep this in mind, I’ve never sold a piece and don’t plan to. They’re all displayed throughout my home in Miami.
First and foremost, I like to assist up-andcoming artists. I like to be ahead of the curve with them, and help give them the exposure that will allow them to grow in the art world. I’m actually going to start an art company called the Melech Collection—Melech means “king” in Hebrew. Through Melech, I’m planning to start buying art on more of a consistent basis, and collaborating with young artists whose careers I can inspire. My goal is to be a game-changer in the art world and enhance young artists, to get them to the proper platform.