By Wanda Croudy
For Roger Tucker, a graduate of Arts High School in Newark where he studied commercial design, art is his world. With degrees from Cooper Union, Pratt University, and a certificate in business from NYU, Roger mapped out a successful career in the arts including positions as art director, starting a marketing and communications company, teaching art at Montclair High School, and for the past 13-years, running his current company, Tucker Contemporary Art. He is board chair of Glass Roots Newark Glass Art Center and hosts a podcast, What’s Newark Got To Do With It?
An artist and photographer himself, Roger began building his collection in college. How does a college student afford to purchase art? “I was trading my art with the work of other artists,” he explains. He traded his art with fellow artistic classmates including photographers Frank Stewart and another friend, Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe, now the widow of tennis pro, Arthur Ashe. It’s a practice he still uses today, most recently exchanging art with painter and sculptor Willie Cole, who also attended Arts High School.
“I see fine art as a performance and for me owning art is a way of owning a performance by that artist,”
“My love of art really started growing because I started meeting young art advisors and collectors [who] would suggest what work to look at.” In about 2013, he began to supercharge his collecting, purchasing five to seven pieces a year. He likes investing in artists whose work resonates with him and to whom he can speak to gain an understanding of where their career and art endeavors may take them. Tucker says he gets excited about tracking their progress, which he calls “the evolution of a practice.”
Currently his collection stands at about 150 pieces, 98 percent of which is work by artists of the African Diaspora. An avid reader himself, he suggests that aspiring art collectors read publications, visit web sites, and listen to podcasts as much as possible. “I see fine art as a performance and for me owning art is a way of owning a performance by that artist,”he said.
Artists’ works exhibited and for sale at the Tucker Contemporary Art Gallery include: Dominant Dansby, Victor Davson, Sandra Charlap, Jaz Graf, and Tom White. Artists’ works exhibited from Roger’s private collection include: Mark Thomas Gibson, Devon Shimoyama, Amaryllis DeJesus Moleski, Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe, and Tammy Nguyen.
Tucker Contemporary Art Gallery is located at 400- 422 Pompton Ave in Cedar Grove, NJ. For more information visit:tuckercontemporaryart.com