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Art is Paramount
Art is one of the most important aspects of my life
“Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable”
- Cesar A. Cruz
Art plays a very important role in my life and has for a very long time, both my own and that I collect (even my fashion is art). There’s not much more I enjoy than going to an art museum and perusing or even better, a new gallery where I could possibly take something home. I have my eye on a fantastic piece at a gallery on Newbury right now but I’ve been out of wall space since 2014 and I already adore everything I own so I’m not quite sure what to do. In fact, when I move, finding a place that has properly sized and shaped wall space dictates more than anything else which place I pick.
My own art takes the form of photography. I started when I was 13. I quickly found a deep love of slide film, specifically Fuji Provia 100F. To date, some of my best photography was as a child on film that was never edited. It also permanently created a deep feeling of intimacy with my photographs. Understanding that the chemical composition of film is permanently changed by exposure to light by an exact moment in time that will never be replicated gives you a real sense of what photography is. For that reason, I have a strong distaste to this day of deleting even digital photographs as every single one represents a unique moment in time that can never be captured again.
I don’t want to make this article about my work so I’ll share only one of my photographs. I’ve found my best digital work to be portraits and sadly, most people do not want theirs taken so I don’t get to do it often, but when I do, I am very happy with the result.
What I collect is almost all modern oil or acrylic on canvas. It started in 2014. I owned a few prints from random interior decoration stores that were actually quite beautiful. One was essentially a thunderstorm over a grey body of water that if I could find in original form I would buy immediately. It had a tremendous calming effect.
A dear friend suggested I purchase some original art. I thought the idea was preposterous. Then she suggested I ask what the prices were. When I did, I found them surprisingly accessible (if still high). So I purchased two paintings. One by Danielle Rocha and one by Elle Luna.
Here is my Daniela Cunha Lay (and if you feel it’s offensive or otherwise distasteful, trust me, she’s very comfortable with that).
Now my Elle Luna piece deserves a little more explanation. See, Elle has gone on to have a very successful career. But this was her first show. It was also the premier piece. And it didn’t sell. I heard through the gallery owner (who quickly became a close friend) that she was crushed. Now, I had something of a history with Elle. See, she was one of the first women I met in San Francisco. We randomly met at a bar when I knew no one and was extremely lonely. Turns out she also went to Vanderbilt. I thought I had found a friend. Except she rather harshly rejected and ignored me. It was rather painful. That was in 2011. Yet her rejection was so specifically memorable I never forgot her name. And there I was in 2014 dazzled by one of her pieces of art with the opportunity to bring meaning and success to the start of her career.
I bought it but told the gallery owner not to tell her who did, just to add a little mystery, although I doubt she remembered who I was or my name. The other interesting piece is…it’s not a very happy painting. In fact, even I would call it disturbing. But to me, it brought so much peace. As you may or may not have picked up by now, up until that point in my life, I had not been a very happy person. To me, this painting represents the 20+ years of pain that I had experienced and was putting behind me. So to say, I was memorializing it by putting it up on my wall as something to never be forgotten, frozen in a painting like Han Solo in kryptonite.
They installed it a few days later in my place along with the Danielle Rocha. It was one of the happiest days of my life. It was also unique in that it had a very long hallway where it could just fit. To this day, it’s very rare that I get to display it in tryptic form as it’s meant to be shown…but I did there.
After that, my collection grew swiftly. Next up was John Waguespack.
And then Ian Ross.
Then my walls were full and I was happy for a long time. Obviously when I moved, they were frequently displayed in unique ways. My all time favorite was in a townhouse in SF, of which I only wish I had a better picture of this.
Then I started participating more in the art scene in SF. First gallery openings and then I was flatteringly invited onto several panels to talk about collecting. I’m rather vociferously vocal on the subject on how important it is to own original art.
My thesis is that if you don’t own anything original, then theoretically everything in your place save maybe some photographs is mass produced. So you could move out and the next person could move in with exactly the same items. There’s almost nothing that defines your home as yours. Original art flips that on its head. Now you own something stunningly beautiful that only you possess and can only be seen in only one place in the world.
To me, there’s something deeply special and beautiful about that.
As for why I picked the pieces I chose, well, telling those stories is more than half the fun! That’s at least the first hour of anyone visiting my place as of course the first thing people generally ask about is the art. I never ask the artists what they mean with each painting as I ascribe my own meanings which, again, is part of the fun for me.
Since I moved into my new place in Cambridge, I purchased my first two new pieces in a very long time mostly because the previous ones I had there just did not fit as well. The first was the one behind me in the picture at the start of the article which I think goes very well with the room its in.
And the other hangs over my couch next to my Ian Ross, which I am considering moving for the new piece from Newbury (although whether that happens is really a toss up).
And then there’s the one piece of art (since I don’t know how to play) that really makes the place.
Have a great day and always remember to take joy in art.