Monday, April 30, 2007

If Art speaks to you, talk back.

“Yay, let’s hear it for ART COLLECTORS!”

We heard this as we were leaving “Artwalk” the annual art festival held in the Little Italy section of downtown San Diego this weekend. No doubt, the tip-off to the commentator was the arms full of paintings and prints.

The art collector cheerleader was a fellow artist keeping watch over her booth, and the cheer went up from other artists and spectators. Though the shout out was nice, it certainly wasn’t necessary.

We just like art. It looks good on the wall and most of them make me smile, feel or think. Art that somehow speaks to you should do one or more of those things.

Our “art collection” is not extensive but expanding in styles, subject matter and sheer numbers. We’re striving to rid the house of all litho’ed posters and similar pieces by replacing them with original works or limited editioned, signed prints.

None of the work is overtly controversial. Some of the wood block prints are of Dia de los Muertos skeletons and I’ve got some allegorical works but nothing too political or overly shocking. It’s not that I don’t like shocking, but I’m not so sure I want to wake up every morning and look at it. The mug staring me back at me from the mirror is shocking enough.

“Piss Christ” didn’t necessarily offend me or cause me to blanch, and I can actually appreciate it on one or more levels, but I think I’d rather have a plein aire hanging above the fireplace.

But that's just me.

It was maybe 4 years ago that I first saw Kirsten Francis' work while a part-time printmaking student at the Art Academy of San Diego. The mythological and allegorical elements of her wood block prints grabbed a hold of me and actually inspired me to start a series of crow imagery. I was pleased to see her work at the festival and really pleased to pick up one of the prints I had admired a few years ago. Kirsten’s been doing this for a while which is doubly surprising when you find out how young she is. Her considerable talent truly belies her age and foretells a long, creative career.

Plein aire paintings make me feel good. They seem to calm my spirit and dammit…I just like looking at them. Michael Gulewich’s paintings immediately created that sense of peace when we walked into his booth. His settlings are familiar to me as I have traveled to many of the places he paints. Although he paints larger pieces, these three small paintings are little moments of serenity.

My favorite piece purchased was a simple but striking painting of a dove. Artist Ed Arambula is proof that life is unfair. Most of us would be happy if we were relatively good in just one art form or could render an image in one style or another. Ed however can do it all. Ed not only paints in various styles (from contemporary to figurative to expressive to impressionistic) but the talent-greedy bastard also sculpts. He’s probably a good cook, plays three instruments and sing too.

Maybe his feet smell.


In all, five modest but appreciated works made it home. They will join the others that either hang on walls, sit on shelves or are otherwise displayed with love. Do yourself a favor, buy some art this week. Your soul will thank you and an artist (an endangered species for sure) will survive until the next art festival.


arthag said...

You can find nice art for not a lot of money at street fairs like this. In NY we have a bunch, but there's a lot of crap out there, too. I guess you just buy what you like and don't worry if it's worth anything later or not.

T2 said...

So true, AH.

Many folks who are just beginning to buy art or thinking about it often worry if the art is going to appreciate after time.

This is due, in no small part, to the attention that fine art masterpieces can bring in auctions and so forth.

Hey,'ll just buying something nice for your walls! It really can be as simple as this.

We need to de-mystify art and the buying of art.

Sometimes the art we buy can increase in value, but I really do my best to divorce myself from the "investment" thought process when buying art...

I ask a few questions:

1. Do I like it?
2. Does it "speak" to me or otherwise touch me somehow?
3. Will it look nice in my house?
4. Can I afford it, even if it's a stretch this month?

If I can answer "yes" to any two of the above questions, then I'll probably buy the piece.

Just John said...

Artwalk IS a good time...especially since it's FREE! That's less and less the case these days.

Plus, Little Italy is a good place to like, get Italian food, ya know?

Anonymous said...

well, my feet smell. and as you can see, they aren't all that pretty, either. xoxo