Top 5 Inspiring Artist Collections

Tracey Watt RGD shares a list of the top 5 artist collections that inspire her design work


1. Yayoi Kusama

89 and going strong!

I went to the Yayoi Kusama exhibition at the AGO. I found the actual process of attending the exhibition incredibly frustrating...being escorted through each installation with a very short time frame (20 seconds!)... definitely not the best way to enjoy art. However, I still truly loved the art itself. So incredibly inspiring. In addition to the very cool ‘infinity rooms’, I was particularly moved by the room of very colourful, graphic style paintings and sculptures. So uplifting and joyful. I was also inspired by the fact that this artist is 89 years old and still going strong. Her work ethic... or should I say passion... is very impressive. She has a common theme of ‘being a part of her artwork’ by dressing the part and inserting herself harmoniously in the graphics and colours of her work. I love the florescent wig and polka dots!



2. Elsa Schiaparelli and Salvador Dali

“I had overcome great difficulties, enjoyed immense success, gone through abysmal depressions, and now I am to consider what all this meant to me.”

— Elsa Schiaparelli

I am inspired when anyone is brave enough to take a chance. To be truly honest and candid about who they are. I have always liked the unexpected nature of surrealism. The shock value and humour that comes with the combination of items you would never expect to see together. The images above are from the Salvador Dali museum in Florida, where I attended The Dali & Schiaparelli exhibition. It featured haute couture gowns and accessories, jewelry, paintings, drawings, objects and photos, as well as new designs by Bertrand Guyon for Maison Schiaparelli. This was the first exhibition dedicated to the creative relationship and works of Elsa Schiaparelli and Salvador Dali — friends and collaborators that set Paris and the world ablaze with their groundbreaking visions. Schiaparelli explored bold Surrealistic themes in her designs, heavily influenced by artists, especially Dali, with whom she often collaborated. I was very inspired by the idea of collaboration between the artist and fashion designer, seeing the results of collaboration of the two creative disciplines. The ‘shot glass jacket’ is hilarious. As much as I love graphic design and get very inspired by seeing other graphic designers’ work, I am equally inspired by art in any form — fashion, architecture and interior design, music, movies, fine art, every day objects and even nature.



3. Dale Chihuly — the Artist


I went to the Chihuly gallery in St. Petersburg, Florida. Wow. This was what I kept saying over and over again. The colour and vibrancy of each piece and each installation was incredible. Very textural and intricate. As someone who is very drawn to a lot of colour, I completely fell in love with the work of Dale Chihuly. I was incredibly inspired. These photos do not do the artwork justice. I felt energized after I went to this gallery.


Dale Chihuly — the Collector

“I don’t know what it is about collecting, but I love to collect things. I’ll never stop.”

— Dale Chihuly

As a result of going to the Chihuly gallery, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Dale Chihuly is a big collector. I bought a book called, Chihuly. An Artist Collects. It documents many of Chihuly’s mass collections which he keeps in his converted boathouse in Seattle, Washington. Plastic radios, shaving brushes, string holders, accordions, alarm clocks, art books, toys, birdhouses, to name a few. The photos above are from that book. I love the idea that he ‘displays’ the covers of all the art books as well as album covers, instead of the typical way most people would store them.


“I love to find the beauty in everyday objects.”
“One shaving brush is not so interesting, but when you put a bunch of them together, they make quite a statement”.
“My collections inspire me and are often a source for new ideas.”
— Dale Chihuly


5. My Collection

“I used to think I was a shop-o-holic, but now I realize, I am a collector. Thank you Dale Chihuly, I’ll never stop!!!”
— Tracey Watt

Sometimes rationalization is wonderful! I love art. My love of art is how I ultimately ended up a graphic designer. I am so grateful I have been able to make a living doing what I love. I have traveled a lot and frequently buy art from the countries I have visited. I love supporting local artists as well as more well known artists (although the well known artists, I only own prints!). Surrounding myself with very unusual, wacky and humorous art pieces brings me a lot of joy and inspiration. I am fortunate to have a lot of wall space and so have artwork everywhere in my home and home office. The images above are a sampling of some of the artwork I have collected over the years from my travels as well as locally from various art shows/exhibitions/flea markets etc.



Published October 22, 2018