I've bought thrift store and rummage sale junk art. I have pieces of my college roommate's - a studio art major - which I cherish and move everywhere with me. I compulsively photograph graffiti. I visit art museums and avoid galleries. I invested in soft pastels a few years back for my own sanity. I encourage friends who do or should be doing more art - for everyone's sanity. I prefer to bastardize the phrase BUY ART into BE ART - but today - I bought Art for the first time ever at Stevens Square's Red Hot Art Festival in Minneapolis.
I've never taken an Art History class but the artists in my life rubbed off on me and this is the girl who memorized the layout of the P World Book Encyclopedia - because P is for Painting. I like what I like and sometimes I can explain why - and other times not. For instance... would it be fair to ask me to explain why Dadaism makes me salivate but Warhol doesn't? It may be fair but you won't get the answer you're looking for. So ... just sit back and enjoy the pieces I bought. Or not.
And PLEASE! If you live in or around Minneapolis - support this Red Hot Art Festival - and others like it. It sure beats the crap out of next weekend's Uptown "art" Fair. If I have to explain myself there - then you're wasting your time here :)
Worm Killin' Dogs by Chuck U
I've seen his prints out and about in Minneapolis and actually remember writing about it when I should have been doing homework. It is a blast from the 70's - for me - and he mentioned Escher as an influence to the art fair-goers. And note to Chuck: David Macaulay is the artist I couldn't name on the spot.
Chuck gets a Grand Prize ribbon from me - because for whatever reason his was the official first art piece I've bought from an artist EVER! And because his work already inspired daydreams on paper. Tons of work and information on his website: Chuck U.
The Secret Oaks by Ben Boylan (2004)
Ben is moving to the East Coast - so he is selling everything half price. But half-off is not the reason I tracked back to his booth. I like it. A lot. I'm most excited to hang this on my wall. You can see more of his work on the MNartists site and he will eventually have an Etsy site under the name of Everyday Practice. I'll link asap.
Go Back by Mike Mason
Mike tells me I've got the ONLY one of the above ink drawing. :-p He talked of an argument/discussion with a professor that led to this new leaf. The prof dissed drawing from photos and Mike defended his work but also came to a compromise. Clothes from photos. Flesh from real life. There are more in this series and I also have my eye on the orgasmic women False Alarm woodcut print. Hunt it down in his online portfolio.
Why did I not buy from any women artists? I was very tempted to. Charlotte Mann's oceanic/shoreline paintings over architectural floor plans totally float my boat. O god. Sorry. That was a horrible pun. She doesn't have a website yet, but if I trek back over to the Art Fair tomorrow - it will be to buy one of her pieces. Charlotte - keep on keepin' on.
Otherwise - to be honest - some of the art by women was too girly for me - some of it not. I'm not about to go into a dissertation about the male to female ratio of art I bought today. Maybe another time.
Biggest Criticism: Beyond the stuff that is stuff that you can buy elsewhere that doesn't jump out at you... there were too many octopuses, birds, butterflies, human hearts galore (irony), nautical themed, steam-punked, inked and printed animals. I also prefer graffiti to be subversive and on the side of my apartment building... please! And thank you. That is as far as I'll take my lame-ass attempt at being an art critic. I'd hate to discourage anyone from doing more of what they are doing.
Ooops: forgot to mention Devin Johnson's accessories. I bought a pair of earrings for my burgeoning earring collection which have a steam-punk flavor to them - done really, really well - with a lot of thought and love and an eye for history: "The hammers from the chimes of a grandfather clock," he said. I'm going to wear them to work tonight and will pass on further reviews. **
This is far from a comprehensive collection of what is good at the Red Hot Art Festival. Go dig for your own treasures. If you're lucky you'll have background music provided by Tortuga! - a jazz-electro combo. Once that Hammond organ flavored group began it was like I was sitting in my childhood library, drooling over the P Encyclopedia with my dad playing in the background. I will go to see them play - and I encourage you to do so also.The best background noise a girl like me could wish for.
Thank you to DIM Media for reminding me of the festival. I'll write all y'all up in your very own blog post - eventually.
Gotta go before my Study Buddy gets bored with shredding Dostoevsky's Notes From the Underground and moves onto my new pretty pictures.
Product Placement Footnote: What Was I Drinking When I Wrote This? Canada Dry Green Tea - i love the colors on the can.
** UPDATE: EVERYONE at work asked about the earrings, loved them and wanted to know where they could buy them. If only all art could be worn.