The Cochran Collection

Collector's Statement

I became interested in art collecting in the 70s - at a time when pop Art was in vogue on both sides of the Atlantic - also at a time when I could get experienced assistance from a relative, W. L. May, whose career revolved around the acquisition of Old and Modern Master's work. His specialty was graphic art and I accepted his advice to proceed accordingly. I have never regretted the direction I undertook and I plan to continue in the field of fine art as much as time from work permits.

I decided after college to seek high earnings as a worker on oil rigs in the Persian Gulf where tax advantages prevailed and living expenses were minimal. For over two years most of my income from this source went for the purchase of selected original prints by still popular contemporary artists. I suppose the surprise of my life was to come home from overseas and look for the first time at my strange acquisitions of graphic works ordered from New York while abroad. Learning that museum-acceptable art is a good investment and that the pieces appealed to my undeveloped "taste", I could hardly wait to find employment that would provide continuing income for the pursuit of my newly-found hobby.

My in-family art-adviser deferred "advice-giving", but, when. I showed him my college degree, he offered a truly strange bit of advice:

"Break all your pencils and buy a gross of workman's gloves, go overseas to the oil rigs and sacrifice entertainment and avoid booze without fail." He gave me a list of capitals of Europe to visit on every leave I got and also urged me to visit the museums, large art galleries and great monuments of Europe and the Middle East. From his own expansive art library, he lent me titles that he felt I could benefit from reading and studying daily. Upon my return from the Gulf, I continued my career by following the outdoor trades. W. L. contended that good health, good money and a good art collection accrue to any who discipline themselves early in their careers to aim a trifle above the routine tasks of earning a living. I feel that though a person may not have been born with a talent, he can associate himself with those who are so blessed and achieve perhaps more pleasurable living than those who do not find time to become involved with the creative process. Art may be the greatest wealth of individuals as well as nations. For several years I've taken every opportunity to seek out the treasure-troves of American museums, art galleries and publishing houses... as well as the private collections of others. My aim is to acquire more savvy about prices of art and try to learn first-hand how the art market place functions. My marriage to my wife Missy has added impetus to future collecting because the whole adventure can be shared.

I became interested in art collecting in the 70's. I have never regretted the direction I undertook.

Growing up, I had little direction and was disappointed that my ambitions were without enough strong desire. I am grateful that art (the farthest thought from my mind) came into my life early enough to establish a sudden change for the better. There have been no idle moments... no lost motion. I expect and honestly believe that it will stay that way. Could it be that I'll become an "advice-giver" to my many nieces and nephews? Out of the lot, one of them just might appeal to me for direction. Art is indeed a "strange" commodity.

Wes Cochran
Co-owner of the Cochran Collection and the Cochran Gallery