Sign for Art021 art fair in front of a water fountain and skyscrapers

Art021 is a contemporary art fair in Shanghai set up by art collector Kelly Ying and her husband

Co-founder of Shanghai’s contemporary art fair Art021, Kelly Ying is considered one of the most influential young art collectors in China. Here, we speak to Ying about art collecting, love at first sight and supporting young artists.

Portrait of art collector Kelly Ying

Kelly Ying

1. You used to work in fashion industry, what made you want to start collecting contemporary art and do you see a connection between the two worlds?

I think there are definitely connections between art and fashion, and we need to explore that more. I started to collect art many years ago because of my family. My mom and my husband [David Chau] have a strong influence on my collection and collecting decisions.

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2. What draws you to an artwork? Do you think your tastes tend towards a particular aesthetic?

I believe in “love at first sight”, therefore the initial emotional and aesthetical chemistry of an artwork is very important to me. As a woman myself, emotions play a significant part in my collecting decisions. However, I also try to balance emotions with intellectual analysis, looking at artists’ background, past exhibitions, exposures, etc. Recently I’m really attached to artists working with different media, multi-media and mix-media works.

3. Why did you decide to set up Art021?

My husband, Bao Yifeng and I all thought that there should be a high-quality contemporary art fair in Shanghai at the time. We felt the urge, and we got the courage, so we made ART021 happen.

Portrait of chinese art collector Kelly Ying

Originally working in the fashion industry, Ying is now focusing entirely on art.

4. Which artists are exciting you at the moment?

Many artists excite me. I like young artists. I find Chinese artists like Li Qing and Zhao Yao very interesting. During my recent trips to LA, I discovered that there are lots of talented young artists based in LA who deserve more attention. I also like artists like Amalia Pica and Ryan Gander, who make very conceptual artworks.

5. What advice would you give to young collectors?

I think young collectors should just get out, look at art and visit lots of exhibitions and fairs. It’s also important for them to talk more often with the right person in the art world.

6. What gets you up in the morning?

A nice cup of coffee!

Follow Kelly Ying on Instagram: @kellyyingxoxo

Art021 runs from 7-10 November 19, for more information visit: art021.org