This week joining us is a young Italian collector, Luca Timpani. He is a lawyer specializing in copyright and protection of intellectual property in Rome, who has a long passion for art but just got his foot in the collecting scene. Luca started collecting in 2010 and is already one of the most loved figures on social media, especially through his Instagram @concettotimpani! In this online-to-offline world, Luca developed his own #concettotimpani project, an interactive and dynamic means of art sponsorship based on social networks. Enhancing lesser known artists’ visibility and finding them a potential audience. His collection is displayed around his home, the appropriately named: “Salotto Timpani”, Timpani’s Lounge.
Questions on the Collection
Have you always had an affinity for art?
Yes, I love art since I was young. My parents are also collectors, and I always collect objects and rarities.
When did you first feel attracted to an artwork?
There was a particular moment when I started my passion for artwork, but a set of coincidences and knowledge. However there is an event, in 1998, during a visit in Vatican Museum, where I saw “The School of Athens” by Raphael. His greatness and prospect struck me and made me appreciate the taste for beauty.
When and how did you get into collecting art?
I started at the end of university studies. As a graduation gift, I asked my parents a statue by Giorgio De Chirico. It was the first certified piece of art, a trophy for me. However, the collection is not born from a precise idea, but it has developed simultaneously to my taste and my personal experiences. Mainly, my collection grew with the birth of #concettotimpani: a way to collect artworks through direct donations from the artists.
What do you collect in terms of style, genre and periods?
I don’t have a predetermined style or genre, I like to collect rare and beautiful. Art is a life experience that can not be limited to a single topic. Obviously I have a taste, I am a huge fan of Arabian style. I prefer the contemporary and street art, mainly painting and photography. Mario Schifano, Taner Ceylan, K-Narf, David LaChapelle, Pietro Ruffo, Lucio Fontana are some names that I like.
What about the artists in your collection: do you mainly collect emerging or established artists?
As an art lover, I have a great passion for the old masters. However, as a young collector, I tend to the contemporary. Currently, my collection is made up of established artists, but lately I’m trying to substantiate the emerging. I like the new trends.
This choice has been deepened recently, during Artissima art fair in Turin and Frieze in London, where young artists and galleries asked me to publicize their works on my social network. The proposal interested me, then was born (or rather, deepens) #concettotimpani, as an interactive and dynamic means of art communication.
The project aims to sponsor more and less famous authors, in order to help the latter to have visibility and potential customers, arising from the audience attracted by the first. The artist are very happy, and so am I.
What was your first purchase?
Excluding the work of de Chirico, the first that I paid was in 2010, at the Roma Contemporary art fair. I bought a panel of K-Narf, an artist (in those years emerging), who works in Japan. I believed a lot in him, and now, he has achieved excellent results in auctions. His works are deceptively simple, and have a meticulous work. They are especially colorful and joyful, exactly what I want in my house.
Where do you display your collection?
Obviously my house. I call it “Salotto Timpani”. It’s important to surround myself with the art I collect. I want to be able to see it every day. Every picture reminds me a particular stage of my life. My apartment is like a modern wunderkammer.
Would you ever consider showing your collection to the public?
For now, I want to keep all the work for me and for my friends. They belong to me, and I want to enjoy them every morning when I wake up.
Questions on collecting
How and when did you start to trust your own taste and have confidence in the things you liked?
Since my friends, coming into my house, were curious and attracted to the paintings. See their faces appeased was comforting and exciting for me. At that moment, I realized I had created something working, so I decided to stop collecting phone cards and I started with the art.
Who do you go to for advice about a piece: a friend, a circle of art-related friends, advisors?
Mainly I follow the progress of auctions and especially my taste. I don’t buy for investment, but for pleasure. Today, for example, I am very attracted by the Middle East art. However, when I buy something in art, I always ask to Marco Selo, a trustworthy person, very dear to my project, that (unlike me) has studied for many years history and art market.
How important is it for you to meet the artist who created the piece? Do you have any strong contacts with any artists?
It would be great to talk with the artist before buy a piece. Only the author could give the right interpretation of this. Once in New York, to talk with David LaChapelle, I sling in his studio at 26th street, pretending to be willing to buy a photo. I was maybe 22 years old and had only 100$ in my pocket.
Personally, I rarely had this honor. In the galleries, or at art fair, it does not happens often to interface with them in an optimal manner. However, lately I exchange opinions with them through social networks (Instagram is powerful), especially with the artists who are participating at the #concettotimpani’s project. When I explain to someone what’s been behind, the artwork acquires more value, and this is very exciting.
What is art to you now: a hobby, an obsession, a career? Is it hard to refuse yourself an artwork every now and then?
It’s just a hobby, a passion, a pleasure, but is very hard to give up. As well as a collector, primarily I’m a lawyer specializing in copyright and protection of intellectual property.
What considerations guide you to make a purchase?
My taste first: I buy only works that I like and that gratify me; it’s all about feeling. Then takes over rationality, the artistic and economic value.
As a young collector, do you use social media channels such as Instagram to contact galleries, find artists, which have ultimately led to purchases? If so, are there any regretful buys?
Currently is my primary means of communication with artists and galleries. It is thanks to Instagram that my collection is getting bigger. My project #concettotimpani, is taking hold and like to the followers. Many young artists donate works to be posted on my profile, and more established are eager to take part in the project.
In return I give their visibility and potential buyers. The results are excellent for they and for me. In this way i have personally known some authors, then bought (or obtain) artwork.
What is your involvement in the art scene or art collecting scene?
I am not a typical Italian collector, I am decidedly atypical. I always thought to buy an important piece is not difficult; if you have a good adviser and money to spend you can easily buy a masterpiece. What interests me is get involved to share idea and passion, in order to promote something beautiful.
Today, through my project, my collection is enriched at no cost of pieces more or less important, but still represent an idea that attract art lovers, professionals or just curios. This is my current involvement, and my great satisfaction.
How is the art collecting scene in Italy?
I think good, at least from what art dealers abroad say. However, the Italian gallery owners often complain. I think that our country has an extraordinary force, an artistic heritage unique in the world, linked to a long tradition. Unfortunately, Italy does not have an economic system that can support and promote artists of different generations. Moreover, the fees to purchase artwork are daunting, and there are very constraints for export.
Is there a strong network of young art collectors in Italy or within your city? If not, what would you recommend?
No, unfortunately (or fortunately in terms of competition) there aren’t! Giving advice is always very difficult because they depend on the intentions of collecting: for investment? For social status? Passion for art? So, I recommend to lovers to try to invest their money in art, rather than in clothes or cars, there are prices for all. But don’t be hasty in buying, tomorrow a better opportunity can happen.
Do you have any long-term goals as a collector or for your art collection?
Definitely yes. Mainly I want to keep a modern and dynamic collection, updated with the trends and market (and with my taste of course). Secondly, I have to deepen the project #concettotimpani, continuing with a digital and interactive platform, with the aim to bring younger people to the world of art and collecting. Finally, in a less near future, it would be interesting to evaluate the idea of opening a gallery in Rome.
How are you planning on expanding your collection?
Continuing to sponsor my project, to attend art fairs and auctions. Mainly, I have to keep working hard to be able to afford to buy artwork.