The Artsy Questionnaire for Trudie Styler: Collector, Filmmaker, Philanthropist (and, yes, Sting’s Wife)
As The New York Times once wrote, Trudie Styler “can embrace any cause with a vengeance.” Married to British icon Sting since 1992, Styler has truly embraced the spotlight—championing for rainforests, producing and acting in films, working for UNICEF, and embracing her entrepreneurial spirit. Somehow she has also found the time to build an incredible art collection, her sharp eye for the cutting edge balanced with a healthy love of tradition. Read on to find out Trudie’s philosophy on collecting, favorite artists, and how art fits into the bigger picture of her many, many pursuits.
Artsy: Who are some of your favorite artists?
Trudie Styler: At the moment Odilon Redon, Banksy, Yves Klein, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Zeng Chuanxing, Andy Warhol. Harland Miller is also a longtime favorite—we have Gateshead Revisited, a nod to Sting’s roots in the northeast of England—as is our friend Steve Hannock, especially for his painting of the River Tyne where Sting was born, Northern City Renaissance.
Artsy: We’ve heard you have a fascinating collection of art. Can you tell us a bit about it?
TS: We embrace our English and now American heritage in our art collection—from Harland Miller’s dry wry commentary on English towns (“York So Good They Named It Once”) and Warhol’s Queen Elizabeth to the magical moment when Warhol and Basquiat collaborated to create some of the most moving works of our time, understanding pop culture, street art, and the race struggle. We have the Basquiat/Warhol GE logo in our New York apartment. We also have an amazing Warhol shadow painting with diamond dust which I particularly love.
Artsy: What advice do you have for aspiring collectors?
TS: Become a student: ask questions, study, learn as much as you can.
Artsy: What’s your favorite museum and why?
TS: The Tate Modern and Tate Britain, for how the British can transcend time, celebrating its past and the future. I also love the Rodin Museum in Paris, and spent many days there as a penniless student, eating my sandwiches amongst the wonderful sculptures, imagining myself entwined in my lover’s arms like his The Kiss.
Artsy: Are there any contemporary trends in art that you’ve noticed and/or are particularly excited about?
TS: The digital world is opening up new avenues, but as the world moves faster and faster perhaps it is works like Stonehenge that seem most primal and modern. I’m looking forward to seeing new work by Rob and Nick Carter, where they’ve used technology to create the appearance of moving light...so I’ve been told. I’m also interested in emerging trends from China and India: their growing economies are giving rise to great artistic movements. I was in India earlier this year and met some artists from the Mumbai scene, and found their work very impressive.
Artsy: At Artsy, we spend a lot of time and energy thinking about design. What do you think the key to good design is?
Artsy: What is one design object that you own that you couldn’t live without?
TS: Space, light, and air.
Artsy: What are some of your favorite publications?
TS: The Herald Tribune, for short sharp shock of world news; The Lancet, as I’m fascinated by all things medical; the Big Issue in the UK, which is a magazine sold by people without homes to give them “a hand up not a hand-out”; Harpers Bazaar for fashion; Architectural Digest for interiors and architecture.
Artsy: We know you keep very busy. What other projects are you working on at the moment that we should know about?
TS: With my film company Maven Pictures, my partner Celine Rattray and I just saw the release of Girl Most Likely starring Kristen Wiig, and in the U.K. our second film, Filth, starring James McAvoy has just premiered. At Thanksgiving we release Black Nativity, starring Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett, and Jennifer Hudson.
I’m also preparing for my first leading role in the New York stage in October. I play Isobel Desmond in Chekhov’s The Seagull at the Lynn Redgrave Theater at Culture Project on Bleecker Street. It’s an adaptation by Thomas Kilroy, set in Ireland, and directed by legendary theater director Max Stafford-Clark. At the same time my husband is previewing songs from his forthcoming musical in ten concerts to benefit the Public Theater. Exciting times for us.
Portrait by Jaime Travezan