Portrait of Andris Klavins. Painter - Ivars Poikāns.

The museum's rooms are full of masterpieces, but you end up not seeing very much at all. Every work is made individually. And it should be seen and enjoyed individually as well. That is why I occasionally switch the painting that I have set out on the easel at home with one from the collection.

I try to take part in the exhibitions organized by the Latvian National Art Museum. Works from my collection have been exhibited in Tallinn, Brussels, Helsinki, Luxembourg, Bordeaux and elsewhere.

What criteria do you use to select the works that will be included in your collection?

Working on an art collection, you grow and evolve personally along with it. A beginning interest begets the urge for deeper exploration, such as researching the literature (including fiction) and visiting foreign museums and galleries to see the works of both the world's artists and Latvian emigres. However, the subjective factor is always to be found at the core. Oftentimes your mind may understand that a piece should be acquired because it would be a noticeable addition to the collection, but the heart is always the ultimate decision-maker. There are many recognized and renowned artists whose works are not in my collection, simply because they don't speak to me.

It cannot be denied that when one collects (and thereby knows the value of a work of art), and suddenly there arises an opportunity to acquire a piece relatively cheaply, business-like thinking sets in.

What is it in art that speaks to you?

There are things that you like right from the start – be it a thing, a work of art, or a person. In time, you may come to realize that it actually may not be as great as your first impression led you to believe. Sometimes a piece requires a certain amount of time, and it catches your interest only after several viewings. At heart, though, is a coming together of thoughts and opinions – is the way in which the artist has portrayed what he has, acceptable to you?

How closely is collecting associated with the thrill of a game?

Collecting seems to be more of a man's game; there aren't many female collectors. Personally, I've never had that urge – to acquire something, no matter its price.

You most likely have on occasion “passed up” a good work of art. What does it feel like to loose out?

For some reason, I have at times passed up something that I wanted. And I know which collections those works are now in – so, there may be a crumb of envy there. But at the same time – it's OK!, I'll never have it all!