Benefits of Being an Art Locavore

The biggest PLUS of Buy Local: you can get to know the artist. This goes way beyond making a fascinating new friend. Your connection to, appreciation and understanding of a piece is SOOOO enhanced by spending time with its maker, getting into the head of that artist, hearing about what he or she seeks to express.
Now it's true, some gallerists are more articulate explaining a given artist's work than the artist himself… But it's generally more FUN to hear directly from the brain that made the work.
Don't be shy, take an artist to lunch.
Believe me: most artists LOVE to tell you about their work, particularly a specific piece.
They live to create, they want you to "get it."

Mixed media wall sculpture, "Pantao Alley" by Tracey Snelling
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More Fun from Fog Design & Art Show

Play the video below to check out this totally ELEGANT kinetic sculpture by Pedro Movellan.
No batteries required, it works completely by BALANCE and CONSTRUCTION.

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Think Local, Buy Local

This is an especially excellent strategy when you are just starting to buy art or are under a tight budget. No matter WHERE you live, there is an artist toiling away, doing decent work you CAN afford. In addition to local galleries, search out open studio events, university student shows, community art shows.
I love buying art at auctions that benefit local arts programs--it forces fast decisions, no dithering allowed.
Think of nearby foundries, quarries, even junkyards have artists striving to make their vision tangible. Our local trash company has an artist-in-residence program--how fabulous is that:
http://www.recologysf.com/index.php/about-air
detail of Deer III by Jeremy Mayer

Fannie's Faves from Fog Design & Art

These are a FEW of the pieces I ESPECIALLY enjoyed at the San Francisco Fog Design & Art Show.  (There were more but my pictures were lame).
Check out the final picture of a WHOLE ROOM done in circuit boards--now that's Interior Design!
The show is on through the weekend at Fort Mason.
Sofa by Bae Se Hwa

Paper cutout and Detail, by Thomas Witte


Lace and Crochet art by Joana Vasconcelos

Shelves and Console by Sebastian Errazuriz
A WHOLE ROOM in circuit boards! by Benjamin Caldwell


So Glad You Asked

A reader asks if I have favorites from the Hockney show--whooo boy! There is literally not enough data storage in my blog to put them all here. But I'll post a few teensy images.
First understand that I LOVE Monet's Cathedral at Rouen series (he painted the same facade over & over, in all light & seasons).
So I was mesmerized by Hockney's GIANT SCALE, EVOLVING images of single sites in the English countryside, through the seasons. **The images here simply cannot give a sense of the SCALE or the "MOVIE"-like evolution--which is why you MUST get to this show ASAP.
It's ONLY in SF, too!


Top is GINORMOUS, surrounds you in a room; Center shows Hockney (for scale!); Bottom is a fave series of mine as the landscape reminds me of my cousin's farm in Amelia County, Va.


ps I also enjoyed the room displaying Hockney's theory that certain Renaissance painters used MIRRORS & CAMERAS to make their paintings. The Art Establishment labeled him a nut-job for this theory of course. Interestingly, most scientists & physicists think he's right…. More food for thought.

Two Chances to Train Your Eyeballs

If you live in the Bay Area, here are your weekend plans:
1. RUN don't walk to the DeYoung for the final days of the David Hockney show.
Waaay back when I was in school, Hockney was not viewed "seriously" by the academic world. I don't know about now (nor do I care), but this show is not to be missed. It is HUGE--rooms and rooms, all so different. But what makes it a MUST SEE is this show has something for EVERYONE, the kids, the techie, the scientist, the device-obsessed, lovers of landscapes, lovers of portraits. So get your tix in advance, jam the kids into the car (they'll love what Hockney does with an iPhone), and GO!  A great outing for learning to SEE while looking at fun, wild, maybe controversial work.
Click here info for Hockney show, HURRY!

2. Go to Fog Art event at Fort Mason in SF. 
I'm excited because I love seeing Art, Furnishings and Design Objects shown together. That's how we LIVE after all. 
Even if I don't buy anything, Stanlee Gatti is all over it so you know it will be a visual blast.
Click here for info on the Fog Design & Art event for this weekend.

Train Your Eyeballs

Collecting art is about learning to see.
My mother made me sit with a little notebook to draw the towers of great Romanesque cathedrals when I was a child. This was NOT to teach me to draw (nor, as I thought at the time, to torture me). It was to teach me to SEE. 

Go to open studios. Go to gallery openings--it’s fun learning to see with a glass of wine in your hand.  Go to museum shows. 
Walk a path you take every day and find three new things (put away electronic devices).
Play “I spy” with your kids (the under 8 crowd see AMAZING things).

Open your eyes, connect your brain, and ACTIVELY SEE.

These guys see EVERYTHING!
Zip Synch 2013, by Nemo Gould

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Don't always listen to your gut

Especially early on. Sometimes you need to engage your mind to improve your gut. Even after nearly 50 years of buying artwork, I often have to learn more about a piece before I “get it” and am excited by it, regardless of the style or period. 

Push yourself to grow. Expect different reactions to different works, ie, don’t keep looking for the same boyfriend over & over. How dull would a whole house of that be??? 

Art can excite you, calm you, challenge you, disturb you, entertain you, tickle you, fulfill your aesthetic longing for beauty, remind you of some event, of someone or some place, intrigue you, mystify you. 
Art CHANGES the way you see the world. 
It’s not always about just looking good! 

So rule #3: Move out of your comfort zone.

Room loaded with wonderful works: Arthur Ganson's sculpture on table, Jeremy Mayer's Deer 3 at window, Radcliffe Bailey's collage over fireplace. 

Starter Art is OK. Then move on.


Your taste will change over time—this is a GOOD thing.  Don’t be afraid of this fact when buying art. Don’t expect a lifetime love affair with that cunning little watercolor of spring flowers. I may still have the cat etching I bought when I was six, but it ain’t my FAVORITE piece today. 
Buying art is not like committing to a long-term HUMAN relationship. It’s ok to have many works you love, and some you’ve grown tired of—the latter you can rotate to less visited rooms. Or even “de-acquisition” them, as they say in the museum world. (…Maybe buying art IS like dating?) 
Your appetites will expand, you will become interested in new styles, new artists, new mediums. 
Rule #2: Starter art is A-OK. Just don’t get stuck there.
Horses, Cats--animals are a good place to start...

Resolution for 2014: Let’s Get Art!


Nothing finishes a room and adds personality like some good art. The world would be a better place if more people bought more art.

But I’ve found it can be REALLY hard for people/my clients to buy art.  Rather than dithering in analysis of the psychological stumbling blocks, let’s move on to solving the problem.  These next posts are guidelines to buying, displaying, and having art, to push you on your way. The goal is to get you going.

I bought my first piece of art when I was six years old, at an outdoor art show by university students. It was an etching of a cat; it cost $1.25. I loved cats and it fit my budget. I still have that piece.

I like to think my tastes have deepened--I’ve studied art, travelled a lot, I hang out with artists. But my buying criteria haven’t really changed since I was six: strong reaction to the piece, comfort with the price.

Thus, Rule #1:  Don’t get wrapped around the axle about this, it’s just art.
more Cat Art from my youth, by Jewitt Campbell