This past week I was guest host on an Instagram account called @columbus_collects. It asks locals to share their art collections and what drew them to the various pieces. The goal is to “demystify collecting”; collecting art does not have to be an expensive or high brow endeavor. I love adding new pieces to my home. I’m not particularly looking for any deeper meaning other than I was attracted to it—oooohh pretty, must have now—-, and it makes me happy to look at this piece in my house. Kind of like the characters in Portlandia, if you “put a bird on it,” a moon or some other natural element, I’m typically in favor of it.
I volunteered to take over back at the end of June which means I should have started writing and photographing things then because I was full of ideas and had complete sentences rattling around in my head. As established though, I am an expert at procrastination and basically waited until August 30, to start writing. Thank goodness, I had made some organizational notes in June. This lead to some late nights this week, digging up artist information and trying to find and remember dates. There was this feeling that I was going to disappoint, on so many levels, the woman who runs the account; many of the guest hosts seem to have way cooler photographs of their art and know more about it beyond “hey, pretty!”
Despite procrastination and performance anxiety, I got positive feedback and made some artists happy to have their work talked about and shared. I also realized that I spent a lot of time writing so, dagnabbit, I’m going to double dip here! (Forgive me.)
I chose to organize the beginning of my feed with stories about collecting while traveling since we were just coming off a long weekend and people are still in that “what did you do this summer?” mode. Being on an adventure and finding a piece of art along the way only makes that piece more special.
New Orleans: In 2012, three Adventure Buddies and I headed to New Orleans for a long weekend. We did not have the drunken stereotypical “girls trip” that every movie suggests. Puking is not fun. Instead we ate well, toured everything we could, listened to music, and looked at the local art. (I could spend ALL my time in New Orleans eating and looking at/buying art.)
We spent a good part of an afternoon in Jackson Square looking at what the local artists had to offer. One friend was looking for “swamp art” but at this point I don’t remember what that meant.
Jackson Square is where I found Laura Welter’s fabric nudes on display. The majority were all from behind or slightly profiled with the same twist at the waist and cocked hip. Twenty years and 50 pounds ago, I was a much more naked person, so I have a certain appreciation for a naked, confident, sassy ass. I could also appreciate Welter’s use of fabric remnants to paint on. Both of my grandmas were quilters, so playing with leftover bits and pieces of material was something that I grew up around and still feel driven to do. The large flower print seemed like something straight out of one of their sewing boxes. Plus she’s got a flower growing out of her bum! I love it! To do the takeover, I tracked down Laura’s current version of her nudes; they have evolved since 2012. I would happily return for more of them.
- Artist: Laura Welter @welterarts
- Title/year: untitled 2012
- Materials/size: fabric and paint, 9×20
Our second morning in New Orleans found us at Surrey’s Cafe and Juice bar on the edge of the Garden District, getting breakfast before heading to Jazzfest. We were seated at a table where, according to the photo on the wall, Matthew McConaughey had once sat. We were the luckiest little girls in the world.
Also on the wall was a magnificent display of brightly colored, crooked, quirky little houses. They were modeled after the shotgun style houses in New Orleans. Based on what I could dig up, Fortenberry used mirror shards scavenged after Hurricane Katrina to create the windows. There seem to be a few NOLA artists who make these, but I found that my tiny house and others attributed to Fortenberry have a raised, but hard to read maker’s mark on the front stoop. This is an example of me being attracted to a piece because of its surroundings. I too wanted a wall full of tiny houses! I often run into this problem with small pieces clustered together. Do I love it because of the context of all the pieces around it? Will I feel the same if I take it as a solo piece? No worries, my tiny lavender house found a space with other “small art” and has a happy home.
- Artist: Casey King Fortenberry (?)
- Title/year: untitled 2012
- Materials/size: plaster, acrylic, broken mirrors 3 -1/2 x 5
I almost included the water meter covers designed by Edwin Ford in the 1920’s in my takeover. We mostly saw these in the Garden District and were told by our guide that there were so few because people stole them due to the design. However local artists have used the design in jewelry, and prints. I purchased a t-shirt with the design. It really is the prettiest meter cover I’ve ever seen.