The paintings featured below include five recent purchases, a piece from the newly acquired Helen Lorna collection, a representative painting from the Marsha L. Downey Collection, and a ringer which probably shouldn't even be here..... For a complete tour of all new works which have been added to the collection since January 2006, please see Gallery VI, Gallery XI, Gallery XV, and the newly opened Gallery XVI.
Continued thanks to the gracious Gallery benefactors who donated the following paintings:
Insert Introduction Here ...
I'm not sure which one of my relatives I got the "packrat" gene from that causes one to search for, acquire, collect, and endlessly accumulate the meaningless objects cast off by society, but I have a suspicion that it came from my maternal grandfather who owned a paint and hardware store for almost thirty years. According to family lore, he once sat on more than 10,000 bolts tucked away in storage for almost a decade until he finally found the one guy who had the 10,000 corresponding matching nuts looking to make a deal. In spite of my impressive ancestry, financial and space constraints have forced me to limit my current purchases to artwork. I mean, really; how many kitschy 50's dish sets, "Incredibly Strange" albums, Pee Wee Herman dolls, old bowling trophies, or pulp-fiction paperbacks does one person need?
I have been collecting thrift store paintings and "naive" art since I moved into my first apartment years ago, but I think that it was the exhibition of Jim Shaw's collection at the World Tattoo Gallery in 1992 or so that really kicked me into overdrive. My tastes run towards the more unusual or poorly executed pieces, and my standard reply when people ask what type of Art I collect is, "Anything old or weird". Although I long ago ran out of usable wall space to display my collection, the thrill of the hunt still has me happily digging through dozens of dusty paintings at thrift stores and flea markets in my quest for the ultimate "masterpiece". The indescribable feeling I get with each new treasure unearthed has led to the creation of the Thrift Store Art "Galleries" you find here.
For a basic primer on Thrift Store and Bad Art I highly recommend Jim Shaw's outstanding book on the subject, "Thrift Store Paintings" (now available in paperback). The Museum of Bad Art also has a seminal cyberspace gallery for further enlightenment regarding aesthetics of the genre. Vito, the mad genius behind BadArt.Com at one time put together as fine a site as anyone could hope for, and his devotion to the hobby was an early inspiration for these pages. Unfortunately, a renegade ISP has walked off with his domain name and "Vito" can only be found these days in his residence at EddieBreen.com.
If you're not quite sure what sort of "Art"
could be found in a thrift store for less than $25, if you're a
serious art historian, or if you listen to opera frequently, then you
should probably visit The
Louvre or something.
Anyone interested in Folk Art, Outsider Art, Raw Art, Thrift Store Art, Bad Art, or Art Brut would be well advised to check out Bill Swislow's excellent Interesting Ideas for everything you wanted to know about roadside art, hand-painted gyros signs, Don Knotts, and a wide variety of other interesting topics. His list of 250+ outsider art links is a great place to start looking for other genres related to thrift store art. Unfortunately, "Bad Science Fiction Women" and the horrendous "Cat Boy" at another nicely done Thrift Store Art site with about 20 to 30 well-chosen paintings is now unavailable. However, Bert C.'s "Weird, Strange & Just Plain Bad Art" is still up and running for all to enjoy. More stinkers can also be found at the Ohio Bad Art Guild, a kindred site which I recently discovered.
Not yet available via the Internet, any future European travelers inclined towards the more highbrow cousin of bad art/thrift store art, should not miss visiting The Museum of Art Brut's collection of "outsider/self-taught" paintings in Lausanne, Switzerland. Also, John Maizels, editor of Raw Vision magazine, has published a comprehensive book on Outsider/Folk/Visionary/Self-Taught Art called "Raw Creation".
As Curator Fred Beshid of The Museum of Fred states, "The goal of (our) museum is to increase the boundaries of the art world because making art is too important to be left only to art professionals". While not technically a thrift store art site, Weirdgardens.com is worth a visit just to see the photos of Timmerman Daugherty's home, complete with more than a few thrift store paintings. One of my new favorite sites, Mount Lehman Llamas Barn Art must be seen to be believed! And I quote, "We have a different situation than most galleries as there are llamas wandering in and out all of the time". For related artistic endeavors, visit CropArt.com's artist gallery, a site "Dedicated to the beauty of seeds pasted on a board to make a picture".
While I have it on good authority that noted outsider artist Eddie Breen uses only the blandest and most boring examples of thrift store paintings for his "piggyback" art, I'm not sure if I can say the same for Razen Cain. From the one work available for viewing at Bonnie Burton's Absurd Auctions, it appears Mr. Cain is not so selective. While not exactly an art collector per se, Will Louviere does share my "thrift store aesthetic", and his most excellent Show and Tell Music is one of my favorite sites.
Gwynne Turkington has put together a (long overdue) site specializing in Art created by business owners at her site dedicated to "Store Art". As she states on her introduction page, "It is the intention of this site to glorify the wonders of the fine art community within the business community. This site hopes to promote understanding between artists, businesses, and community". Well said, Gwynne....
Jeff Bagato has put together a great collection of paintings on his PanicResearch site, and even though I'm very happy with my collection, of course viewing someone ELSE's treasure-trove just drives me insane with jealousy!!! "Girl with Gun", "Rock and Roll Forever", and the Romeo Taylor paintings are out-of-this-world...As they say, "The grass is always greener"....
Bill Davenport, you rule! The time has finally come to turn the world on to Bill's fabulous collection of Thrift Store Art.
As always, you can still access my neglected Hallowed
Hall of the Ouija.
"Bad art, while often quite bad, is much better than no art at all"