Neither Sal or I are artists. We like to think we have a sense of aesthetics, a smidge of good taste and, of course, we know what we like. But we aren’t artists. At best, we are decorators with an eclectic bent. At worst, we live in a schmozzle.
“But one really should try to make one’s surroundings pleasant, shouldn’t one?” That is the sentiment we subscribe to. Sal more so than me. She has a knack for it, actually.
To that end, we gild the occasional lily and paint over the rust now and again. We try to have standards even if they do slip. You know, keepin’ up appearances? ‘Makin’ things look nice’. And to do that in a neighbourly way, it is safer to work to an already popular standard or motif.
And out here, popular is found….as in ‘found art’ or, put another way: salvage-with-paint. Basically, we decorate with junk…….sorry, junque.
To a practised eye with a foot in fantasyland, some of it might pass for art but, by and large, most of the art expressed is really in the placement of said junque. ‘Hmmmm..what to do with that old hunk of tractor in the ditch?’
“I know, I know!!! Drag it out, spray it clean and I’ll paint flowers all over it. You can weld our mailbox on the hood. We’ll pretend it is folk art!”
And that sort of thing catches on. Out here there are old boats used as planters, painted boulders sporting dragons and such. Old trucks in the middle of gardens. There are tires and drums used as yard ornaments which would be considered butt ugly if it weren’t for the painted images of squirrels and seagulls gracing their sides.
It seems to be accepted as art if someone can figure out a way to paint flowers on some garbage rather than truck it to the dump. Face it, that is creative, in a whacky kind of way.
Mind you – to be fair – some of the stuff is damn good. I don’t know that it qualifies as art (the definition of art including being completely original) but some of it is exceptionally pleasing to the eye and enhances the surroundings in which it is found.
I am being slowly converted to ‘found art’.
At first I was calling it folk art. You know, like that kitschy stuff they make by the ton and sell at Barn Depot or Farm Furnishings? Reproductions of dairy containers or galvanized washtubs? Funky? But then I had to face the facts. I was just adding cliché to funk-junk that seemed to suit the setting. Not original. A bit embarrassing, actually.
Having said that, it also kinda grows on ya….in a kitschy, funky, cliché kind of way. So I made some ‘cute’ wooden hummingbirds to add a little cachet to the genset shed walls.
And then I painted a scene on an old saw. A few paddles came next. It was like an itch. Every once in awhile I have to scratch it.
Sal got it, too. But her stuff is actually original! Which is a polite way of saying ‘completely whacked’. She has taken found art to a higher level. Firstly, she found an old frame-like structure floating in the sea. It was a frame-of-irregular-shaped-panes without glass and of varying sizes. Then she hung it on the wall and put some rusty crap in the various sections. Weird.
I didn’t like it. Not at first. Just didn’t fit my notion of art, ya know? “Hey, Sal! Wazzat crap doing hangin’ on the wall like, well, a crap hangin’?”
Temperamental, eh? Just like an artist. So, I backed off. And over the past few years she has continued to add to her wall-cra…ooops……mural-of-found-objects.
I must be getting more local all the time. I kinda like it.