Lindsay Clement-Meehan: The Model Millennial

Sydney-based Lindsay Clement-Meehan typifies a new breed of young collector, championing the artists
of her own generation.

Words: Victoria Hynes

Photography: Jacquie Manning

LINDSAY CLEMENT-MEEHAN’S BRIGHT Sydney apartment sits in the busy heart of inner-city Potts Point. Inside it’s part calming oasis, part visual feast. The warmth and exuberance of the young collector’s personality is reflected in the vibrant and diverse paintings, sculptures and mixed media works that she collects. Art fills every surface of the living room, bedroom and kitchen, making the whole space feel like a colourful cabinet of curiosities.

The corporate communications manager, 34, has been collecting seriously since 2015, but bought her first artwork fresh out of university – a small watercolour by Patrick Hartigan – to mark her entry into the workforce. Over time, she began purchasing artworks to mark other major milestones. “The idea of having art around me has always been strong,” she muses. “But now I’m in a very fortunate position where I can collect quite actively and it has become a really important part of my life.”

Restricting herself to a budget of less than $5,000 per work, the young executive has made the decision to focus on supporting emerging artists, primarily from Sydney galleries such as Artereal Gallery, Alaska Projects, China Heights and Galerie pompom. A large majority of the artists in her collection are female. “Your thirties are an interesting time to be starting a collection,” says Clement-Meehan of the skew. “I think it does reflect the life journey that you’re on.”

Clement-Meehan could be said to typify a new breed of millennial collector, who acquires works by artists of her own generation. “It’s important to me to support women who are my contemporaries,” she says. “I think they are so often underrepresented in the broader art world. And while that’s recognised, there’s still a long way to go. It takes a concerted effort to champion female artists and buy their work. But I try to support them in their careers and be a cheerleader in whatever way I can.”

Clement-Meehan is best described as catholic in her tastes. Her collection ranges from pop art style photographs of melting ice creams by Simone Rosenbauer and hyper-real bird portraits by Leila Jeffreys to dreamy landscapes by Lucy O’Doherty and explosive abstract colour relief paintings by Louise Zhang.

Based in Sydney but a regular traveller for work, the collector admits that she didn’t have much knowledge of contemporary art early on. But her enthusiasm led her to join the Museum of Contemporary Art’s Young Ambassadors program. “It was a great entry point to the art world for me, and through it I’ve met so many people who have had a formative part of my ad hoc art education,” she says. “I’ve accumulated so much knowledge in the last few years just by making the effort to ask questions when I’m in a gallery or at an event – people are very generous with their time and sharing their knowledge.”

Social media has also become an integral part of her collecting process. “The Instagram side of things is great because it gives you insight into [an artist’s] practice and a better understanding of who they are,” says Clement-Meehan. “That is part of the buying process for me. I can see if they have a show coming up, or what they’re working on. And if it’s something I like, I’ll make a point of prioritising it in my budget.”

For now, the main issue for this energetic young collector is the reality that she is fast running out of wall space. This has prompted Clement-Meehan to consider other ways to support young contemporary artists. She is now exploring a funding concept aimed at emerging female artists. “I think there’s a lot of scope to redefine philanthropy for young people who want to support the arts in a way that’s accessible and relevant. This project is very much in the planning stages at the moment, but I would like to create a way for people to support artists in a way beyond collecting.”

For Clement-Meehan, investing in art and artists appears to be a life-time passion and preoccupation. “I don’t see myself investing in realestate in the near future, so I’ve made the decision to spend my money this way,” she concludes. “But you do need to understand where your money is going; understand how galleries work with their artists and what their values are. I think if that all aligns, it’s a lovely process.”

This article was originally published in Art Collector issue 88 APR – JUN 2019. 

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