carroll / fletcher
There comes a time in one's life when one asks oneself: what can I do that really matters? What can I do that makes a difference, either to me or beyond my immediate sphere? For Jonathon Carroll, this moment came in 2008. The global financial crisis had hit, and there was change in the air. "I thought, if I'm going to do something, it needs to matter. It needs to matter to me, and hopefully, to the art world and beyond," he recalls, when I meet him one evening in London. "I need to believe it can have an identity and not be just another art gallery."
Let's rewind a few years. Carroll's entry into the art world came through the not-so-untraditional route of finance. The year was 1986, and the young man from Birmingham found himself not only starting his very first job in the world of money, but doing so with Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB) in London. "My interview with them was the first time I'd visited the British capital," he recalls, "and I had never been overseas! I was 20 years old, a kid. I was also part of the first generation of graduates hired to trade - the other traders at the desk would barely talk to me." Being in London, with regular trips to the US had its benefits, however. The young Carroll soon discovered the delights of places like The Guggenheim and Metropolitan Museum - "it was the first time I had spent any time in front of a work of art."
By 1990 Carroll was trading in London and beginning "very casually" to collect art. "When you're trading, there are periods when you regularly work 16 hours a day," Carroll explains. "There is little time to do other things, and I wanted to have interests outside of finance to keep me from focusing my entire life on my work." At weekends the financial markets was of course closed, and so Carroll began to spend his free time visiting...
TEXT BY ANNA WALLACE-THOMPSON
To read the whole article, subscribe to Canvas magazine today.