Lauren and Gustavo Vink

We are currently living in Nelspruit within the heart of the lush and sunny Lowveld. Gustavo is a qualified Goldsmith by trade specialising in bespoke jewellery pieces. He also facets (cuts) precious and semi-precious gemstones part-time. I work for a marketing company within the agricultural sector and I am currently studying part-time for my BBA in Marketing Management. We are spontaneous, adventurous spirits, nature enthusiasts and art aficionados.


What was it that first made you interested in art?
For both of us our interest in art goes as far back as we can remember. We can't say there was a specific thing or moment that ignited our passion for art, it's just something that has and always will flow through our veins. Our passion for art spans across all mediums.

Lauren and Gustavo Vink

But when Gustavo and I met both our interest in art was definitely elevated to new heights. We both thought 'wow, here is someone as crazy about art as me!'. We feed off each other's passion for art.

What was the first work of art you ever bought?
The first work of art we purchased together was a small painting of an owl done by Michael Heyns that we fell in love with.

artwork by Michael Heyns

Do you have an artistic preference?
We gravitate towards artwork in which the artist has skillfully captured mood and emotion; whether through the use of bold strokes and vibrant colours or simple lines and subdued tones. We can appreciate all artistic styles however we definitely prefer art with stronger abstract elements to that of more photorealistic works.

Artwork by Florian Eymann

How do you incorporate art into your everyday life? What impact has it had on you personally?
Art is constantly present in our day-to-day lives. When we come home from work we sit down, chat and unwind over a cuppa. More often than not our conversations usually end up about art; we are both very connected to the art world through social media and so we could have discussions about a new artist either one of us discovered or an upcoming exhibition. We may also just sit for a while together admiring some of our pieces.

'First Light' by John Larriva

What is your favourite piece in your collection and why? Tell us about your own art collection.
Hehe, they are practically like our children so to have to name a favourite would be a little impossible; each piece is very special to us in its own way. Each of our artworks has a unique story behind it.

How would you describe your collecting style? How has it evolved over time?
When we first started purchasing there was definitely no pattern to our subject or style choices but our collecting approach has progressively evolved. Although we do still occasionally purchase other subject matter, our collection now is predominantly made up of portraits from a broad range of artists. Our love for portraits stems from our fascination with the 'human condition' and the depths of human emotion. When purchasing a new portrait piece, we look for something that really connects with us and is unlike anything else we already own in an effort to form an eclectic yet cohesive collection.

Portrait Study by Chris Valentine

Do you use technology and social media to find art - and if so, which of the social media platforms is the most relevant for you?
We definitely utilise  technology and specifically social media to find art and discover new artists, in fact it's become quite a sport for the both of us! Social media has really allowed the art world to explode. A lot of the art we own we wouldn't have today if it weren't for social media. Facebook and Instagram are our favourite weapons of choice when hunting down art. At this stage it our primary means of connecting with artists and galleries alike.

'Progeny' by Chris Denovan

What is your advice for a first-time art buyer wanting to start their own collection?
Art is a very personal thing so first and foremost ask yourself 'why do I want to start a collection?' Purely for your own viewing pleasure? for an investment? Or both? Remember to always stay true to your own taste and avoid purchasing just for the sake of what you may think is 'acceptable'. If you haven't quite discovered your preference yet don't be afraid to do your own research and contact reputable galleries. Build a relationship with them - they can offer an abundance of knowledge to help you on your way as for first time buyers navigating the art world can feel a bit overwhelming.

Who are your favourite South African contemporary and established artists?
Our favourite South African artists are Ryan Hewett, Lionel Smit, Chris Denovan, Chris Valentine, Linsey Levendall and Pascale Chandler.

                                                      Prints by Lionel Smit and smoke painting by Chris Valentine

If you could choose from any of the works listed on StateoftheART which would it be and why?
It would be 'What If I Told You The Truth' by Sue Conradie. It is such a bold piece, we love it. It is done with such elegant subtlety yet its message shines through so powerfully; it is so emotive! 

About the collection

"The collection we've curated is an eclectic assortment of modern, beautiful work that really spoke to us. Each work connects with a facet of our personalities and each piece made us feel something; whether it be nostalgia, pleasure, or a little taste of tranquillity." - Lauren and Gustavo Vink