Today, we are interviewing David Willson, Collector & Executive Director at IBEX Collection.
After almost thirty years owning an international software and consulting firm, he is now one of the three Co-Collectors behind the IBEX Collection – the largest active collection in the world of super-realistic, contemporary figurative art.
1. Please tell us something about yourself.
I spend my life traveling the world visiting with artists that we have collected and others that we support, while always looking for new artists who are interesting. We often travel with artists that we support, showing them all corners of the world and introducing them to new ideas and new cultures. Every year I fly more than 500,000km on this quest.
2. How did you get into what you do right now? Please tell us more about your journey?
I grew up with parents who loved art and would often buy small pieces to fill our home. The creative process had always interested me, to the point where I actually spent my second month's paycheck when I first started working in finance full-time on a piece of art, that I still have.
After a successful entrepreneurial career that saw me work across more than 40 countries, I semi-retired to Taiwan for eight years. I studied Chinese and ultimately became a professor teaching Technology, Business, Marketing, and International Business Law.
I was invited to join the IBEX Collection as one of three full Partners and Executive Director. And, for the last three years have been traveling and working on supporting our little corner of the art world as best we can.
3. Who are your role models?
I am very fortunate in the other two Partners in the IBEX Collection, Albrecht von Stetten and Kiki Kim. As they have many attributes that I admire and try to learn from.
4. What inspires you?
This sounds crazy, but everything about the world inspires me. I love what I do, I love learning, both formally and informally and every day, even the challenging ones, is a joy. In particular, I love it when technology and science intersect with creativity and art. Meeting new people and hearing their thoughts and about their lives is an excellent source of inspiration.
5. Please tell us about your company.
I am an Executive Director of the IBEX Collection (Instagram: IBEX_Collection). One of our projects over the last four years saw us support 24 artists from all over the world, while they worked on their personal masterpieces. For the single painting that each produced, they took an average of three years, and have an average size of around 6 square meters.
This was a very exciting project, as nothing like it has really been undertaken since the Medici's support of artists back in the Renaissance.
Some of the artists struggled with artistic freedom, and others flourished, and this has been a great source of inspiration.
6. What's your most memorable experience?
I have led a very fortunate life and have accumulated a lot of incredible experiences. One of the recent examples that will stay with me forever was that we were able to arrange for a private kinbaku performance from the world's leading master when we were in Tokyo last month. This was an intense and beautiful experience.
7. Which social media channels work best for promoting your work? What exactly do you do on the social media channel that makes it work for you?
Instagram works best for promoting our artists and our collection. To be honest, I have struggled with gaining the same traction on my personal account.
8. What's your greatest fear?
My greatest fear in life is that I do not live the 10,000 years that I need to experience and learn everything that I want to.
9. Looking back, what's one thing you wish you understood better before you ever got started?
I wish that we had really understood the difficulty and stress that so many of the artists experienced when we gave them unlimited financial support and complete artistic freedom. Almost all of them struggled with creating art that they wanted to create; instead of what the market dictates to them.
10. What are the strategies that helped you become successful in your journey?
There really is not a singular path to success. I have always followed my interests, no matter the rabbit-hole that has sometimes led me down, and that passion and drive has kept me engaged and moving forward.
11. Any message for our readers
There are mixed messages about the idea of following your passions in life, but my strong advice would be that if you do not love what you are doing, then look to do something else. Life is far to short to waste on doing things and dealing with people who you don't like.