Revering his heroes Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Rembrandt, and Velázquez, Collins built up his skills over the decades as the art world fluctuated and arts education shifted increasingly into laissez-faire mode. When he founded the atelier in 2006, he foresaw the need to nurture aspiring classical artists against an increasingly tumultuous art market.
When asked what role his atelier plays in light of the current contemporary art market and the state of art education in this country, he replied: “I think about this a lot. To remain psychologically healthy, I need to think of contemporary art market as a thing unto itself, not related to art history or the rest of the art market.
His eyes sweep over the artwork on the walls as he considers the future of classical art. Though he’s sure that realist art will always be appreciated, contemporary art situation still bothers him.
“Probably because it occupies so much space in people’s minds and all the patronage that ought to be the birthright of these talented young artists got hijacked,” he said. “It’s a hard thing to deal with. It’s an opportunity lost.
“But then again, the unpromising future may be keeping this group of students pure. Rather than doing it for the money or the fame, maybe they do it because they just want to do something really well.”