Paul Bright owns Bright Lyons, a modern curiosity shop located in downtown Brooklyn.
When did you start collecting contemporary art?
I started collecting art as a teenager in high school. At the time, most of my friends were either illustrators, comic book artists or graffiti artists and I tried to buy their work whenever I could (we’re talking about twenty dollar drawings here). By the late 90’s / early 2000’s I was getting into stuff like Raymond Pettibon, Larry Clark and some of the “Mission School” Artists. I guess the first thing I was really proud of was a pair of paintings by Margaret Kilgallen.
What are some of your favorite pieces in your home?
I have a beautiful painting of a gum ball machine by Eddie Martinez at home, and I have some great work by Andrew Jeffrey Wright– you’d be crazy not to work with him immediately.
What artists would you like to see Exhibition A work with?
Do you guys know Dave Hardy? He’s pretty rad. Actually you know what would be cool, remember that little metal sculpture edition that Karma did with Sam Falls? Y’all should do something like that with Dave Hardy.
Tell us a bit about Bright Lyons. How do you decide what to buy and sell? How do you determine the value?
The shop is somewhat unique in the New York antiques world as it sells almost exclusively Knoll and Herman Miller furniture. It’s pretty much just the original versions of what you would see somewhere like Design Within Reach. Most of the pieces I sell are pretty iconic and have been bought and sold on the secondary market for decades so there is an established market value.
Where do you find the collectibles and furniture that you sell? Is there a specific place you can always count on for interesting objects?
For about ten years before I opened the store, I traveled around the country as a picker looking for things. In that time I met a lot of other dealers and pickers, especially in the midwest, who I still keep in touch with. Other than that, you can find things anywhere from Craigslist to Sothebys.
Any advice for collectors (of fine art or furniture) just starting out?
Buy slowly and diligently. Don’t be afraid of asking for long installment plans. Most galleries are cool with this. Also, if you’re an artist or have some sort of tradable skill, try and barter when you can.