In Esquire online by Matt Miller Dec 7, 2015
Amar’e Stoudemire was walking among the paintings and sculptures and drawings at Miami’s Art Basel this weekend when he himself suddenly became art.
“We were walking through the Convention Center and we were soaking in the art,” Stoudemire told Esquire on Monday. “We took a break to go have a snack, and Taylor [McKimens] just pulled out a pen and markers and paper.”
Right there, the New York artist drew a spontaneous portrait of the Miami Heat player. And Stoudemire, who has been privately growing his own art collection for years, was thrilled.
“That was actually pretty incredible,” Stoudemire said. “We were having a conversation about my Instagram and Twitter pages. And the portrait he painted right there, it was pretty special. He’s going to do a massive painting of me when I travel to New York. That was the first time I met him. He’s one of those emerging artists that’s going to be big.”
Already known as a player in the film and fashion scenes, Stoudemire is expanding his influence as a professional athlete to the visual arts, announcing for the first time that he’s becoming a serious art collector. This weekend, along with appearing at panels during the art convention, Stoudemire dropped into Swizz Beatz’s “No Commission” art fair, where he fell in love with a Hebru Brantley piece as soon as he saw it. He bought it for an undisclosed sum, and the piece will hang in the children’s wing of his family’s home.
“I haven’t seen a superhero painting like that before,” Stoudemire said. “My girls are very into art. They draw and are very artistic. My son will love it because it has a superhero in it.”
The piece is called “Families May Feud But Should Never Go to War” and will join Stoudemire’s personal collection, which also includes a Jean-Michel Basquiat and a painting of Moses by Jojo Anavim, which is his family’s favorite: “We’re a very spiritual family, so when they see Moses with the tablet, they’re mindful of putting God first.”
Collecting since he was first gifted a painting in 2007, he wants to share his appreciation for art with other athletes. Known to spend money on cars, on houses, on parties, on business investments, art collecting isn’t very common in the basketball world, which Stoudemire wants to change. He’s announced his Melach Collection, which will function as a way to encourage his fellow athletes to support emerging artists, and to educate them on how to invest in a piece.
“The art world is a very intimidating genre of entertainment, and I think a lot of athletes aren’t as familiar. I don’t think there’s a passion right now,” Stoudemire said. “If you educate yourself, it can be an investment down the road … It’s better than buying a car because once you drive it off the lot it depreciates. The goal is to make smart decisions as a player. Art always appreciates. Worse case scenario you have a fortune on the walls.”
But, Stoudemire’s personal collection isn’t up for sale. That one is staying in the family.
“I buy art not to resell,” he said. “I want to see my collection passed down from generation to generation.”