When Raleigh resident Marie Cox began collecting art in 2013, she was an only child, or so she thought. Last year, more than any new art acquisitions, the discovery of hidden branches of her family tree — four siblings she didn’t know she had! — rocked her world, in the best way. Exploring her ancestry is not a new theme for Marie who describes her cherished collection of African masks as her way of connecting to the land her ancestors were stolen from. She dedicated an entire wall to their display, dubbing it her diaspora wall, and it helps her feel grounded. When it comes to her collection as a whole, she says she’s drawn to art that feels modern and sculptural with neutral-leaning hues, and she relishes the creative process of incorporating art and color into the interior design of her home.
This busy mother of three and financial firm VP may live on coffee, but on a deeper level she is energized by the powerful way certain works of art “can truly make you feel more alive.” Artists on her list of new favorites include Robert Moore, Kristen Giorgi and textural artist Elan Byrd, to name a few. “I’m always looking for the next piece, but soon I’m going to run out of wall space,” says Marie, who solved that problem in the next breath. “I think I’ll purchase a few more sculptural pieces.”
“To new collectors who might feel a little intimidated by art, I would say just start. I think a lot of people get stuck obsessing over the perfect piece. But your collection can grow, and if you love it today you’ll love it tomorrow.”
How would you describe your collecting style?
“I’m drawn to art that is modern and sculptural with more neutral colors. I would say my collecting style is very layered with a global feel and very, very unapologetically black.”
If you could meet one artist, living or dead, who would it be?
“Jean Michel Basquiat, hands down. I think he was way ahead of his time, and his pieces just speak to me. I love him so much I even have his signature crown tattooed on me.”
Any artists on your radar right now?
“Yes! I have so many. One new artist I love is Robert Moore, and I now have two of his pieces. I think Kristen Giorgi is amazing and I have a piece of hers on my mantel. Elan Byrd is a textural artist who I recently got a piece from and her wall hangings are just beautiful.”
To what piece(s) in your collection do you feel the strongest connection?
“My most favorite collection as a whole are my African masks. I have an entire wall dedicated to them, and I call it my diaspora wall. When I see that wall in my home it just makes me happy and it gives me a connection to a land my ancestors were stolen from. It keeps me grounded.”