Points of View | Interior Insights with Florence Lim

Dear Valued Clients,

STPI is pleased to present an exclusive digital service, Points of View,  where artworks created at STPI are virtually superimposed onto the surfaces of your homes, offices and studio spaces to offer you a deeper consideration of potential artwork purchases.

We invited the highly sought-after interior designer and art collector, Florence Lim, to share her views on art, design, and the home.

How did you begin art-collecting and what was the first artwork you purchased?

I was somehow interested in art from a very young age. I was 17 and living in Toronto when I bought my first painting in the Impressionist style (Monet was then my most favourite painter) from an art gallery in the city. I remember it cost Canadian $1,000 and it took me a lot of babysitting hours to save up for that piece.

How has your collection changed over the years?

Well my taste has evolved over the years. Having moved to the UK in 1994 to study art history at Christies, I was exposed to the YBA (Young British Artists) movement. I saw the artwork collected by Charles Saatchi at his gallery in North London and was bowled over by the installations. I had never previously experienced in person the works of Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, Sarah Lucas, Richard Wilson and Mark Quinn, to name a few.

Have you discovered new corners in your home during the lockdown?

Not really – the layout of my home is quite open, with no nooks and crannies nor corners!

What are the works in your home you’ve been looking closer at and pondering over more during this time of chaos and uncertainty? 

I have two big pieces of artwork by Secundino Hernandes which I love. One is extremely colourful and painted in impasto. The layering of colours on it is complex and super interesting; I could look at it all day. The second one is the reverse – he paints it, then carefully hoses it down with water to strip away paint layers. To see the same artist employing such different approaches is interesting.

What do you think about the digitalisation of the art world? Has there been any particular experience that stood out to you?

I am a terrible person when it comes to the digitalisation of anything! I can’t really stand looking at things online. You lose a clear sense of scale, colour accuracy, etc. I have browsed works in the online presentations of both Art Basel Hong Kong and Art Basel Basel, but nothing has tempted me. Having said that, I have purchased two pieces of art virtually, viewing them as digital images on the computer – but they aren’t colourful works!

What advice would you give to first-time art collectors?

The first rule of thumb is to buy what you love, as you will live with this piece in your home. Apart from that, after years of collecting and buying what I love, I have been advised by my art consultant that if I am spending money, I must also look at the price I pay for a specific artist. So researching the artist and their practice is important. Like stocks – you don’t want to be buying at the highest price. You should try to acquire a piece of work by the artist at a favourable price. One can look at art as an investment as well, so there can be a potential upswing if one buys wisely. Therefore, I would say, do as much research as possible on the artists that you like. Finally, it’s about buying the right piece. Not every single work of art from an artist is good or critical – train your eye to acquire one of value. This takes practice.