Salaryman shares art collection tips

Art collectors might be generally perceived as aristocrats who have amassed enormous wealth, but Daisuke Miyatsu breaks this stereotype. As a self-confessed "salaryman collector," the Japanese art addict has spent over 2 million yuan ($315,000) on more than 300 artworks including some by Olafur Eliasson, Nara Yoshitomo, Koki Tanaka and Paul McCarthy.

On Saturday, Miyastu gave a lecture at the CAFA Art Museum detailing his personal experiences and offering advice to budding collectors.

Miyatsu, born in 1963 and a native of Ichikawa outside Tokyo, has collected art for the past 18 years. He told an eager, dozens-strong audience at the lecture that his fascination with contemporary art began when he saw works by American pop art pioneer Andy Warhol in high school. A chance encounter with famed Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama in college fueled his desire to become an art collector. 

Miyatsu, who works in public relations, is like many salarymen in Japan in that he rarely has time away from the office to indulge in hobbies, such as art. "Everyday I have to get up at 5 am and work until 9 pm. I use my free time for art research and collection," he explained.

Miyatsu is a pragmatic art collector, primarily because he knows his tastes must fall within his budget. 

Patience is also a key virtue, he noted, explaining how he once waited 11 years to secure a window art installation by Eliasson, a Danish-Icelandic artist. 

Miyatsu, who has never sold his collected pieces and finances his purchases from his salary, makes a point to always purchase certification of artworks. He has even built what he calls his "dream house" filled with books and art he has collected. 

As for his artistic philosophy, Miyatsu advises people to collect art that reflects society. Young artists' works hold the greatest appeal to the savvy salaryman, who in recent years has taken a particularly keen interest in video and new media from Taiwanese artists. "As a collector, I want to create something with artists," he said.

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