Jay Chou’s collector’s obsession: “I spent almost all of my concert earnings on art”
Taiwanese pop star Jay Chou tends to be great at whatever he thinks about. He is one of Asia’s best-known singers, the director of an award-winning film and a magician with his own Netflix series. But when it came to collecting art, Chou did not, by his own admission, find immediate success.
His first foray into the art world began in the Marais district of Paris, a district renowned for its mishmash of galleries, shops and bars. There, a three-dimensional stereoscopic work caught his eye, so he bought it and brought it back to Taiwan.
He thought the play was “super cool” at the time, he recalls in a video interview from Taipei. But his art-loving friends disagreed. “They said they would introduce me to a good art advisor,” joked Chou, who buried the artwork in a warehouse and hasn’t taken it out since.
From piano to art
Chou is apparently obsessed with beautiful things. He accumulates rare wines, watches and cars, although his affinity for the collection started in an unusual place: his fascination with Europe.
Long before his first ill-fated art purchase in Paris, he had amassed a collection of European antiques and ornate pianos. When he meets an antique piano, the singer imagines everyone who has played it before him, he says. As a classically trained musician, Chou says he is drawn to European architecture and furniture, so much so that he and his wife, Australian Taiwanese actress Hannah Quinliven, chose a castle in Yorkshire, England. England, as the location of their wedding in 2015.
“I don’t know if it’s because I learned classical piano when I was a kid, or (if) it’s a connection to a past life,” he said.
Jay Chou with an antique piano on the set of his first movie, “Secret”. The instrument was on display at the K11 Musea shopping center in Hong Kong ahead of the Jay Chou x Sotheby’s auction series. Credit: Courtesy of Sotheby’s x Enviseam
When Chou decided to start collecting art in earnest, he started out big. His first purchase was a work by Basquiat, an artist he admitted to not knowing much. The famous painter was “the first artist I was exposed to” as a collector, the singer said.
Chou was initially intrigued by the extravagant price of the artwork, but the more he learned about Basquiat, the more he fell in love with his work. “Basquiat (was) a pure artist, with no commercial motives. He (was) like a child, expressing his feelings directly in his paintings,” Chou explained, comparing him to how Picasso’s works “transcend technique.”
Since this purchase, Chou has embarked on his expensive new hobby. “I spent almost all of my income from my concerts on artwork,” he said.
How do you fall in love with art?
According to Chou’s friend Jazz Li, CEO of the art collective Enviseam (a collaborator on the Sotheby’s sale, alongside Hong Kong’s K11 group), the star is a “really passionate” and so is it. for his “crazy” approach to collecting art. “Sometimes I (tell him) calm down,” Li said. “He gets very excited when he tries to buy something.”
Chou said seeing Richard Prince’s “Runaway Nurse” had a “profound impact” on him. Credit: Courtesy of Sotheby’s x Enviseam
“Some people put their assets in real estate, sports cars, luxury clothing, different (collectibles categories),” Chou said. “But for me, art is the most important asset class.”
Although art is truly an investment for Chou, he still buys pieces for display in his home. From time to time, he asks interior designers to create plans to display special works of art in his property, although as his collection grows, pieces are also stored.
But for Chou, hanging art on the wall isn’t just a way to spruce up his home. He has a whole different goal: “Living with art makes you earn more money,” he said, “and buy more art.
Imagine the future
If Chou is attracted to big names, he has a “strong desire” to support emerging artists. He can relate, he said, to having spent the beginning of his career writing and producing songs for other musicians backstage, before releasing his solo album “Jay” in 2000.
“People tend to look at big names like Jia Aili and Zao Wou-Ki,” he said, referring to two prominent Asian artists. He compared fundraising to running a record label, adding, “Everyone always watches the big music stars, and they don’t tend to see the most emerging singers.”
Jay Chou reading an art book in a promotional photo of his recent collaboration with Sotheby’s. Credit: Courtesy of Sotheby’s x Enviseam
And at home, Chou is also a kind of artistic benefactor: his children Romeo and Hathaway have started to paint. Just as her own mother nurtured her love for art, Chou proudly shares her children’s passion on social media – from 3-year-old Romeo’s introduction to art appreciation at the art studio. chaotic family. (“For the artist’s creation, don’t be afraid to get your house dirty,” he captioned the latter.)
Chou reported that the two children are drawn to his favorite artists. During our video call, the star proudly shows off her daughter’s latest project: a sketch of Chou sitting in front of a Basquiat. His wife, Quinliven, found various places around the house to display children’s works amid top-notch masterpieces, and Chou even incorporated their art into his clothing line, Phantaci.
Not having had time to learn to paint as a child, Chou said he wanted to “make up for the missed opportunity” with his own children. As to whether they can be successful as professionals, Chou reflected, “The road to becoming an artist is difficult.”
“If my kids could work at Sotheby’s, it wouldn’t be so bad,” he joked.