6 Rules for the Entrepreneurial Collector by Sylvain Levy.

Building art collections has always been a diverse and a personal adventure. Today we can add a new profile to the different types of collectors: the entrepreneurial collector.

Original article: 6 Rules for the Entrepreneurial Collector https://blog.vastari.com/the-entrepreneurial-collector-sylvain-levy-dsl/

All the fields of our society are impacted by individuals who has invested in changing history, not just making money. Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos are among these entrepreneurs focused on change.

How can art collectors be inspired by Elon Musk’s disruptive thinking? Below, I’ll share 6 points that should always be considered by the entrepreneurial collector.

1. A collection needs a vision

Any entrepreneur wishing to make it big must first put everything into their vision. They must believe in the project before anyone else does. They must love the brand before anyone else starts to. In the words of Nobel Laurate Dennis Gabor, “The future cannot be predicted, but futures can be invented.”

As for us [at DSL], our vision is to build a timely and timeless collection with a very strong cultural identity. We can only achieve this goal by being clear, authentic and giving a soul to a collection

2. A collection must always be on the move, aiming for the stars with feet on the ground

In a six-year period, Elon Musk accomplished what can be considered a titanic entrepreneurial crusade. He founded SpaceX in 2002 and Tesla Motors in 2003, both companies achieving their first major victories in 2008.

As for a collection it should always greatly challenge its time by the choice of collected works but also by how those works want to impact the audience and the collector..

Dslcollection is constantly surfing on the wave of Chinese contemporary art and the wave of technology. We were among the first ones, to be be present on internet since 2005, to have 2D and 3D museums, a second life museum in 2012 and today a virtual museum.

3. Don’t let failure defeat you

Musk does have several failed attempts to his name. Not every idea that he’s pursued has been an instant success. The first three launches at SpaceX were failures, and the Tesla Roadster took three years to become commercially viable even after the engineering was already foolproof.

It means for a collector to risk failure by constantly challenging the status quo or collecting works out of their comfort zone.

Unfortunately more and more collectors, because of basing their collections on investment criteria, prefer to play it safe

By focussing on China, we [DSL] have deliberately positioned ourselves out of our comfort zone

4. Craziness is an important part of an entrepreneurial culture

Yes, Elon Musk’s ideas are crazy. But so were Steve Jobs’s ideas, Bill Gates’s ideas, Benjamin Franklin’s ideas.

As for us, we built a collection in 2005 which only focussed on Chinese contemporary art – when we live 12.000km from China, we do not speak Chinese and there was not any institution validation.At the time, many would have considered this to be a crazy idea.

We had to think outside of the box and invent new ways to have access to the works (especially by using WeChat to stay informed!)

5. Criticism and self reflection

Elon solicits criticism and seeks out his critics to converse with them. This shows how important self-reflection can be to help one grow.

A collection should always interact with its audience and the art eco -system surrounding it. Sharing through social networks, and being open to feedback is an inspiring way to make a collection always lively and relevant.

Today Dslcollection has more than 31,000 followers on Linkedin with whom a dialogue is established through daily posts

6. A breakthrough innovation, it is rarely one little thing. It’s usually a whole bunch of things that collectively amount to a huge innovation

A collection should live in the context of the world in which it is built. To be innovative is not just about collecting emerging artists. It is also about harmoniously bridging humanities, art and science. That is the sense of the dslcollection project we have built the past 13 years.


Musk’s passionate obsession is an inspiration for anyone wanting to achieve something extraordinary. His focus, discipline and style are powerful antidotes against the mediocrity and complacency that creep up after routine settles in.

If you have a vision to transform a whole industry,if you are one of those who doesn’t like to play it safe, then there is a lot you can learn from Elon Musk, even as an art collector or art industry professional.

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