The Curated Walls of Bridget and Bill Watson Payne

1. Name/ Location/ Occupation

Bridget and Bill Watson Payne, San Francisco, book editor and stay-at-home dad

2. What is your experience in collecting art? When did you start? What did you start with?

A lot of our experience collecting art stems from Bridget’s work as a book editor. Working on art books means lots of wonderful artists/authors have gifted us with prints or other items–for instance David Maisel, Mike Perry, Jen Altman, Tom Bachand, Matthew Swanson and Robbi Behr, Julia Rothman, and Jorge Colombo. It started before all that, though, when we bought our first piece, these amazing colored squares by Bridget’s former coworker, artist Jessica Dacher–that was nine or ten years ago, when we were in our mid-twenties, and the idea of buying original art seemed like the craziest thing to do–but these amazing glowing squares (they’re painted paper, sewn together with thread and then coated with resin) were just too perfect to resist.

3. What is important for you to feel in your space?

We feel most at home in a space full of things that make us happy, and that have meaning for us–a bright, light, colorful, cozy space with tons of visual interest and a story behind nearly everything you see.

4. How do you choose your pieces and how do you arrange them? Is there a method or is it arbitrary?

Admittedly many of our pieces are gifts, so they kind of choose us–but lately we have started picking out a few more things on our own. Color is very important and it’s emerging that we’re quite interested in the intersection between art and science (see for instance Misha Ashton-Moore’s photo of an octopus, or the Hubble Telescope image of the Orion Nebula). In terms of arrangement we just recently hung the new big cluster over our bar, and the main guiding principle turned out to be visual eclecticism: nothing too similar, be it in size or shape or medium or color, next to each other.

5. Do you find the pieces begin to have a dialogue with one another? How do they interact with your space and one another?

Odd similarities and visual themes certainly do begin to emerge once you hang things next to each other. And the same way that having lots of books in our house, or lots of bright colors, makes us feel simultaneously stimulated and relaxed, the art interacts with the space to create an overall feeling of interest and excitement that is at the same time homey and soothing.

6. What does collecting art mean to you?

This may sound silly, but one thing it means is getting to feel like a grownup–getting to that point in your life where you don’t have random posters and whatnot tacked up on your walls anymore, where everything you’re surrounding yourself with actually came from somewhere–from someone–and has meaning to you. Where you’re treating your surroundings, and your life, as if they’re important–because they are.

7. Who/what are your favorites? Please highlight some key pieces from your collection.

It’s actually really hard to choose–we love everything! But a few favorites include Abel Pineda’s painting of chickens in our kitchen, Kari Harer’s photo of peonies (which we bought for our daughter for her first birthday–her middle name is Peony), and Tjasa Owen’s painting “Home by the Sea.”

All photos by Benjamim Watson

Art and Sources:
1. (from left to right, top to bottom): Jorge Colombo, Misha Ashton-Moore, Jen Altman, Anna Beard, Kari Harer, [unknown], the Hubble Telescope, Mike Perry, Tom Bachand, [unknown], [unknown], David Maisel, Jenny Vorwaller, Julia Rothman, Matte Stephens, Matthew Swanson and Robbi Behr.

2.Tjasa Owen

3. Tom Bachand, [unknown], [unknown]

4. Jen Altman, Anna Beard, Kari Harer

5. Tracy Melton

6. Jessica Dacher

7. Mabel Watson Payne, age one-and-a-half

8. Abel Pineda

9. Ork Posters

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