Collector Profile: Britta Hanson On Bringing Happiness Into Your Collection
Britta Hanson, Director of Brand Operations at The Raleigh Group, is a collector we adore. Growing up in an artistic family gave her a natural eye for not just for beauty in art, but also for joy. This intrinsic sense shows through abundantly in her personal collection, which she invited us to visit at her Miami Beach home (despite an ongoing renovation!). We asked about her love of Miami, her collection, and advice for first-time buyers.
What drew you to Miami?
My first experience with Miami was at Miami International Airport. It was 1990 and I was studying abroad for the year in Ecuador and we had a long layover at Miami International Airport on our way to Quito and I was mesmerized. It was chaos and disorder accompanied by my first empanadas and cafe con leche. I knew then at 21 that Miami would eventually find its way back into my life. Miami is very different in many ways today, but I am still in love with this city.
How did you get your start as a collector?
My parents were always into art and design. My father designed and built all of the furniture in our home and he is still designing Scandinavian-inspired furniture today. Art was always a part of my life; I started out as an art student, and collecting art was just a natural extension of wanting to be around beautiful and interesting things that made me think and feel.
What was the first piece of art you bought?
It was a Tiguan oil painting that was painted on stretched leather depicting an indigenous festival. It was bright and colorful and made me happy.
How many pieces do you currently own?
Probably over 200 photographs, paintings, and sculptures and more than 500 pieces of textiles, tribal jewelry, amazonian basketry, and artifacts.
What are your favorite fairs to visit during Miami Art Week?
I love the Vernissage of Art Basel because of the incredible energy. I think Art Miami and Context are usually very strong shows where I always find new artists to follow. I have a soft spot for Design Miami because I go with my parents because of their love of design. I love Superfine!, Nada and Scope because I usually find new artists and pieces that are affordable enough to buy or to encourage friends to buy.
How do you decide whether or not to buy a piece of art?
For me it has to be love at first sight. If I walk away from a piece of art, sleep on it and continue to think about it it is probably something worth taking a second look. The piece has to be something that speaks to me personally. I have to like the artist or the story around the artist. The artist’s energy is always part of their art and if it is in your home, that energy is part of your home as well.
What advice would you give to first-time art buyers?
I would say trust your instinct. Block out the noise of what and who you are supposed to like and figure out what it is that YOU genuinely like. Learn about the artist and their story and the process of how they made the piece. Don’t feel intimidated to ask a million questions. Art should bring you joy. It should make you feel. I also want to add that anything that you think is beautiful, unusual, funky, cool, inspiring, or just makes you happy is art and can be worth framing. I am a firm believer that you can hang a $40 litho or a pressed leaf next to an Andy Warhol or Cindy Sherman. Life is short, you are the boss and there really are no rules.
Any Superfine! artists on your radar for this year's fair?
James Miille. I am a total fan!
Finally, besides the art, what else should be on everyone’s radar in Miami for this years Art Week?
For food, I love Upland, Mignonette, Planta, and Stubborn Seed if you can get in. For ice-cream: Dasher and Crank in Wynwood. Try the salty beach and raspberry wasabi! I am also obsessed with the matcha green tea soft serve at 1-800-LUCKY.
The best bakery is True Loaf. Try their peanut butter dark chocolate cookies. Perfect Art Week musts are Yogart at Sacred Space. Yogart is always the place to be when you want to ground yourself, channel the artist within and feel like a local during Basel.