As a senior creative director for Epic Records, Kent Belden spent years at photo shoots, helping coordinate perfect portraits of musicians including Celine Dion, Shakira, Anastasia, and Garbage. In 2014, he founded The Only Agency, which links creative talent—stylists, photographers, hair and makeup artists—with editorial, advertising, and red-carpet projects featuring stars from Beyoncé to Lady Gaga, Cher to Lizzo. Belden’s entire career, in other words, has been dedicated to creating expressive images and maintaining meaningful creative connections: a drive that has also guided more than two decades of art collecting.
Belden has filled his homes in Watermill, Manhattan, and Los Angeles with figurative painting and photography that’s as committed to storytelling as his own work has been. Over the years, Belden’s collecting habits have become increasingly focused—and political. Belden and his husband, orthopedic surgeon Louis Re, find a sense of solidarity in the compositions they collect: The pair supports artists who strive to make historically marginalized groups visible.