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Entrance to Pulse Art Fair (click to enlarge)

Today, and continuing until Sunday, I will be posting a special series sponsored by 20×200, Emerging Collectors at the Fairs, that will profile some of the people who are attending the New York art fairs this week.

Those of us who attend the art fairs often look around and wonder, “who all these people perusing the booths are and where did they come from?” We all have our assumptions and stereotypes but I was curious to find out some of the stories of these fellow art-loving strangers.

I did a random sampling of attendees at the 2011 Pulse Art Fair to give a sense of who the audience is for these annual events. A few people who were not confident of their ability to communicate in English refused to participate, but almost everyone I approached was eager to share their story.

Here is who and what I found on a Thursday afternoon in Chelsea.

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The Emerging Collectors at the Fairs series is supported by 20×200, the place to buy art online. 20×200 offers limited-edition fine art prints at ridiculously affordable prices. Learn more about 20×200 here.

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Jeremy Freedman, collector, New York

“I’m looking with the possibility of buying. Nothing has caught my eye so far. I come every year when I’m in town. I’ve been collecting 15 years … [collecting is] more difficult now, because I’m more filled up. I’m interested in photographs primarily. When I first started it buying stuff it was like ‘I’ll get that, I’ll get that’ and now there’s no room and I’m forced to be more selective.”

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Rebecca Lewis, student/aspiring collector, New York

“I’m an aspiring collector and maybe a dealer one day. I’m getting a masters in art business at the Sotheby’s Institute of Art. I’m coming to see everything … doing a lot of looking. I liked the gallery Pablo’s Birthday and Black & White Gallery in Brooklyn.”

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Tatto Cabrero, performer, Spain

“This is my first time in New York for me … I came to do a performance with my company Berta Jeyo, which is the maker of the costume I’m wearing. I do this performance at many different fairs around the world. I’m watching the exhibition because I love art … I don’t collect art but I love to be in New York, it’s the capital of the world.”

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Richard Parkinson and Donna Nelson, art insurers, New York/New Jersey

“We insure art collections and art galleries, we work for insurance companies. We don’t really collect … well, very little … we come to meet clients.” — Richard “It’s great to see all the different mediums.” — Donna

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Zandie Brockett, dealer/curator, NY/soon Beijing

“I’m a young collector, I’m a very young collector. Most of the works I have currently are by friend artists that I have grown up with. I was originally a photographer, so I’m interested in that medium. This is my second day doing the fairs … I was impressed with the work that was shown at the Armory in contrast to what I saw at Miami Basel this year.”

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Nico Rosario, former fair employee, New York

“I used to work for the Affordable Art Fair before it became Pulse so I come every year. I wish I had money to collect art, so I collect photographs of art.”

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Jennifer Rogers, art dealer, San Francisco

“I’m here visiting and I’m an art dealer from San Francisco. I own Varnish Fine Art and we’re considering exhibiting here next year … so far we went to Scope, now Pulse, and tomorrow we hit the Armory. I collect art and I sell it … the first thing I look for [when I want to buy art] is if it really catches my eye and takes me out of myself. You can tell right away when that happens. Looking at a lot of art, some thing you might experience and taken out of yourself, that what I would consider purchasing … I’m going to go to all the fairs and I then decide what I’m going to buy.”

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Stacey Thompson, Sotheby’s student, England/NY

“I wish I could collect art. I was at Armory’s vernissage last night but I’m more impressed with Pulse right now.”

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Jens-Peter Brask, collector, Denmark

“It’s important to see the different fairs and what’s going on in New York right now. I’ve been collecting since 1993 … nowadays people are coming and looking more easily than before [the economic crisis] … yeah, I have already bought some stuff at the other fairs and I’m hear to see what [Pulse] has to offer.”

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Arthur and Virginia Bach, art fans, Brooklyn

“We buy but we’re not collectors … we come across art for us that is unique but its not representative of the whole artist’s work, though it may be if we go on … We agree on a piece before we buy it.” — Arthur

“He’s very articulate on what appeals to him and I’m easily convinced.” — Virginia

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Cynthia Sparrenberger, artist/sometimes dealer, New York

“Art is life to me. It’s inspiring to me and its a good beat on the culture and shows me what people are thinking and feeling and when you look at a lot of it you can get a sense of continuity of those types of impulses inside of people … I have friends who collect, so because I’m an artist and have friends who often ask me to find art for them, I fell into [dealing art], I’m really an artist. I went to Armory already but I really love Pulse this year. It has more gut here in my opinion. This is the sketch, you know how they say that sketches are more immediate, this feels more like a sketch, while the Armory feels like a finished work.”

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The Emerging Collectors at the Fairs series is supported by 20×200, the place to buy art online. 20×200 offers limited-edition fine art prints at ridiculously affordable prices. Learn more about 20×200 here.

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Hrag Vartanian

Hrag Vartanian is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic. You can follow him at @hragv.

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