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Buying art in Singapore: Icon Gallery


Passion is an essential ingredient in any successful business and it’s something that Esther and James Walton, the husband and wife team behind Icon Gallery, have in abundance.

The Waltons have notched up 10 years in the business of sourcing and selling sporting memorabilia. James says the business started in response to a need for unique, one-off memorabilia items that were not available on the island. “We also supported the fund-raising efforts of a plethora of charities about town that find memorabilia very popular as auction items,” he says.

Esther adds: “In Singapore, people are often looking for artwork for their homes or special gifts for family and friends.” And that’s where the Waltons come in. This year, they expanded their focus to include music-inspired art, and in May they opened Icon Gallery, dedicated to displaying their extensive collection of sporting memorabilia and music-inspired art. “It combines three of the greatest passions in life,” says James, “sport, art and music.”

Music-inspired art is a broad genre that encompasses iconic album covers such as The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, concert posters, images of musicians and art by musicians. Most people would have purchased some type of music-inspired art during their teens or early 20s (a cheap Midnight Oil Beds are Burning poster from the early 90s springs to mind). Decades later, that tatty thing stuck to the wall with Blu-Tack can be replaced by a beautifully framed piece of art that is signed by the artist.


After several years of research, the pair has established contacts around the globe and plan a feature exhibition with a new artist every quarter. They have also responded to many a quirky request, feeling a real sense of accomplishment when they find a customer the perfect gift for a loved one.

“Recently,” says Esther, “a customer purchased a ‘sound wave’ print of ABBA’s Mamma Mia, signed by all four members of the band, from the Tim Wakefield collection (see left) for her sister’s 50th; her sister is a huge ABBA fan and we were thrilled to help her.”

The Artists Behind the Art:

Horace Panter

Horace Panter’s series of 10 Chicago Blues prints represent the journey from slavery to freedom and the beginnings of blues music in the Chicago area. His work is a combination of collage, drawings, paint and text with a finished size of two-foot square. Horace is best known as the bass player of British band The Specials, who played at the 2012 Olympics closing ceremony concert, but he has been studying art since the early 1970s.

Paul Oz

Self-taught British artist Paul Oz specialises in large-scale, heavily textured oil paintings with a visual impact that is almost 3D. He is an official artist to the Bruce Lee family, Star Trek and Muhammad Ali and this year he showed his passion for F1 racing by painting drivers on the tour circuit.

Tim Wakefield

British new media artist Tim Wakefield creates contemporary art pieces that are a visual representation of the digital recording patterns of songs. He has worked with many top artists including Queen, George Michael and The Killers and each piece is also signed by the recording artist. A Pink Floyd original recently sold for GBP 40,000 (about S$78,715) at auction.

Carinthia West

Pink Floyd Animals cover shoot limited-edition photograph by Carinthia West

Carinthia West is a model, actor and journalist who has captured stars in spontaneous moments. She took the photograph for the memorable Pink Floyd Animals album cover in 1975 at London’s Battersea Power 

Sporting Memorabilia

The gallery stocks over 100 memorabilia items that are changed regularly according to what’s going on in the sporting world. The diverse range includes signed football shirts, golf pin-flags, F1 helmets, rugby jerseys and even a spike signed by athlete Usain Bolt. And if they don’t have it, they will try to find it!