Collectors Editions Disney Fine Art

Home Artists Resources Events News About us

press releases

Meet Michael Young, CEO of Collectors Editions.

By Suzzane Casgar ABN Editorial Director

Q. How did you get started in this business?

I met the founders of Collectors Editions, Mary Margaret Nash and Bill Stone, while working for The Walt Disney Company as the general manager of their art and collectible program in 2002. During the following year I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to spend many occasions with both Mary Margaret and Bill discussing all facets of the business, their organization and, of course, the artists and people that make everything happen. During one of our many trips to their favorite restaurant, Brent’s Deli, they approached me about joining Collectors Editions to run the business and help to continue their legacy beyond their working years. To be quite honest, I was a bit shocked and totally surprised with this proposal, and only later realized that they had been collaborating on a plan for quite some time.

Q. You've developed a unique plan to celebrate your 20th anniversary. Tell us about it.

In celebration of our 20th anniversary we will be recognizing 20 artists and collaborations by launching our 20-20-20 program. Very simply put, we will release 20 graphics, by 20 artists, in editions sizes of only 20. Each quarter of 2006 we will release five of these very unique “anniversary editions.”.

Q. How has your company changed in the last five years?

What has changed most significantly are the senior management team and the physical building and operations. As you know, we unfortunately lost Bill Stone last year as he passed away after a long health battle and Mary Margaret Nash has retired from the business and is enjoying family and friends, while living in Hawaii. We have totally overhauled the Collectors Editions facility and operating systems, along with the corporate structure (not really corporate at all thank goodness). We are constantly making improvements and adjustments that will hopefully continue to make Collectors Editions a great place to work, a great place to be published and a great partner to all of our gallery and distribution partners globally.

Collectors Editions' Michael Young is shown in front of "Under the Evergreen Tree" by Russian artists, Michael and Inessa Garmash. The image is part of Collectors' 20th Anniversary Collection.
We are truly all about our employees and artists"and their families. The greatest quality work and service on all levels comes from happy and contented staff and artists. Without that you really have nothing.

The very most important aspect of Collectors Editions that has not changed is my partner Tim Dickson. Tim is regarded as one of the best print masters on the planet and absolutely the greatest partner in the world. He is a great person and a great friend who helps me to achieve a true balance.

Q. What demographic regions are you looking at for expansion?

From a domestic perspective, we plan to continue to strengthen and build upon the foundation we have established with all of our galleries, while expanding into territories and cities in which we have little or no representation. Internationally, we have been actively working with several partners in Japan for the past few years and we feel very good about the direction and our position throughout the country. We have a few other opportunities simmering, but I’ll have to leave it at that.

Q. What is the secret of successful staff management?

I’ve been seeking that answer for years. Actually, I believe that it is very important to establish trust within an organization and treat individuals with respect. There are so many strengths and great characteristics within this organization and it is important to cultivate an environment where we all learn from each other and own our positions as if the business is yours. I honestly believe that the team in place at Collectors Editions truly believes in our vision and quest to be as great as possible. We definitely promote ownership, collaboration and team efforts. We respect each other and know that people and family come first in all instances. Good business comes from happy and healthy relationships, and we absolutely want people to “look forward” to coming to work each day.

Shown with Young (right) during the Collectors Editions 20th Anniversary gala celebration during Artexpo New York are Tim Dickson, vice president of production and Helen Tu, director of national sales.
Q. What should an art collector look for in purchasing work by an emerging artist?

First of all, you need to love what you purchase, right? I mean, who am I to suggest what you should like or look for in a new artist. I feel that any collection is only as strong as the feeling you have individually for the work itself. I would, however, suggest that a collector work with a reputable gallery or agent in seeking their art purchase, especially with the abundance of so many “outside influences” in the marketplace today.

Q. What do you think will be the newest art trend for the next year?

This is another great answer that I continue to seek. We will continue to add as much craftsmanship, artist collaboration, hand-work and quality to our graphics this year and in years to come. No matter whether we are working with the future’s greatest figurative, landscape or abstract artists"the art and the quality of the work will be best in class. Sorry that I did not specifically answer your question, but my lamp is all rubbed-out!

Q. What is your biggest extravagance?

I guess that I’m a fairly simple person. Whatever I can do to make my family and the people that work for me happy"that’s my extravagance. Of course a great round of golf, a meal at a fine restaurant and bottle of wine at the end of the day would be about as good as it gets.

Q. Who in your life do you most admire?

I’d have to say probably my grandmothers, who are amazing and still going strong today. I absolutely wish that I could spend more time with them, as they have certainly been there for everyone else in the world. They are the smartest, kindest, most honest and toughest people I have ever known.

Seasons may change, but Young's love for his children, Emma and Asher remain constant.
Q. What would be your ideal retreat?

A week of golf with good friends"anywhere!

Q. If you could travel to anywhere in the world, where would it be?

I have been very fortunate in the past several years to have been able to travel pretty extensively on business. And although my trips usually permit only a really quick look at a given location, it is at least a look. I would love to see Italy and Greece"two locations that have been on my Top 10 list of places to visit.

Q. Do you have a favorite piece of art in your collection?

I am very fond of a George Tsui painting of a beautiful Chinese woman (his wife actually) that Bill Stone and Mary Margaret Nash gave to me a few years ago when they found out that I was traveling to China to adopt a baby girl.

Q. What was your very first job?

I’ve worked in my family-owned restaurants for most of my life. I worked every job possible until I helped run them. However, in order for me to understand the entire business, my dad had me washing dishes at about 13 years old.

Q. What's your favorite kind of music? What CDs are in your changer right now?

]I honestly can’t answer that question. I have about 2,500 songs on my iPod, and they are all over the place. The current play list in the background consists of Sting, Neil Young, Steely Dan, John Mayer, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Green Day, Maroon 5, Alicia Keys and The Beatles.

Q. What was your last purchase?

That would be music by the John Mayer Trio and a huge backyard swing-set-and-fort contraption for my kids.

Q. What is your primary indulgence?

I have three: my family, Collectors Editions and golf, in that order.

• Collectors Editions, 818-700-8431,
reprints of this article, call 800-867-9285, ext. 5503

Home Artists Resources Events News About us