Buy My Art!

This is your chance to own an original oil painting by me. Chances are that I will never be a famous artist or famous anything else – but maybe you like my style, maybe you like my art. These are available for sale. One of my goals this year is to sell a piece of … Continue reading “Buy My Art!”

This is your chance to own an original oil painting by me. Chances are that I will never be a famous artist or famous anything else – but maybe you like my style, maybe you like my art. These are available for sale. One of my goals this year is to sell a piece of my art to someone who likes it – and isn’t related to me and so possibly inclined to look on bad work favorably. Maybe these aren’t the paintings that will sell – but I will keep trying. These are all oil on board – which is new to me.

1) MonaLisa Simpson

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2) The Fool SOLD
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3) Hot Virgin Mary sold

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4) The Scarlet Letters sold

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5) Rising Spider Sun sold
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6) Poof Room SOLD
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7) The Dictator Strong Man sold

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8) Doc Bugeyes sold

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Selling My Special Finds Here

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It’s funny that it’s taken me this long to come to this decision – but finally, here it is. I’ve decided to start selling those things I consider special finds – here – on my personal website.

I’ve had an antique shop for years now and been selling on Ebay, through auction houses like Bonhams, Sothebys, and Skinner and at flea markets and antique shows – and for some reason – I’ve been hesitant to sell here. No more.

I will be listing art, ethnographic, toys, advertising, books, and more here. I hope you enjoy these things as much as I do – at the very least – this creates a record of some of the beautiful, interesting, and bizarre items I enjoy the most.

Anonymous Confessions | iGNANT.de

An interesting idea – thought provoking art.

anonymous confessions

As they say, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas – but what if we could share with full discretion? Everyone of us has his own little secrets and ‘Confessions’, a public art project by american artist Candy Chang, invites people to anonymously share their confessions and see the confessions of people around them in the heart of the Las Vegas strip. Chang lived in Las Vegas for a month and turned her P3 Studio gallery into a contemplative place for people to share their confessions and being fascinated by the secrets others hide inside themselves. Inspired by Post Secret, Shinto shrine prayer walls, and Catholicism, people could write and submit their confessions on wooden plaques in the privacy of confession booths.
By the end of the exhibition, over 1500 confessions were displayed on the walls. It’s about sex, love, or fears of dying alone. By collecting the confessions of the hotel’s visitors, this project seeks to create a cathartic sanctuary for this temporary community and help us see we are not alone in our quirks, experiences, and struggles as we try to lead fulfilling lives.

Anonymous Confessions | iGNANT.de.

Japanese Statuary – Hakata Urasaki – Beautiful Japanese Life

 

History of Hakata Urasaki

One of the first items we’ve featured in our brick and mortar art and antique shop is a wonderful collection of Hakata Urasaki figures. These figures vary in size but most of the one’s we have are 8-10 inches tall. The porcelain figures are known for their exquisite details – in particular when it comes to capturing facial details and the minutia of Japanese life.

I should point out right away that there is a distinct difference between a Hakata figure and a Hakata Urasaki. It is helpful to know the history of both.  The original Hakata dolls date back to the late 1500s in Fukuoka Prefecture on Kyoshu. A lord was having a castle built and noticed a worker constructing figures from clay. The sculptor, Sohichi,  was so skilled that he was immediately patronized by the lord and passed his skills and trade secrets on to the next six generations. The secrets died in the mid 1850’s with his final heir.

Hakat Dolls Washable

It wasn’t until 1885 that artisans in Hakata took up the art and displayed their work at a national exhibition. This is where the dolls came to be known as Hakata. The figures became internationally known at the Paris Exposition of 1900. Hakata are earthenware and each is hand painted.  They are delicate and as a result, not many true Hakata have survived.

Hakata Urasaki Dolls

In post WWII Japan, there was a revival of Hakata dolls, mainly as souvenir’s for US troops.  In the 1950s during the Korean conflict, a doll making firm was contracted by the US Exchanges to produce a special line of Hakata dolls, called Hakata Urasaki, after the name of the firm making them, the Urasaki doll store. Hakata Urasaki were painted with a waterproofing coat which allowed them to be washed. These were produced only during the 1950s and only for the exchanges and US Servicemen. The dolls were not as brightly colored as the original Hakata dolls and were not desirable to Japanese consumers and so they were discontinued when the bulk of US troops left.

A special note about these dolls – even thought the labels say they are washable, the washable surface has long worn away with age – these should never be washed with water, only dusted with a dry cloth.

Our New Venture – A Vagabond Antique and Art Shop – Brick and Mortar!

Coming back to the USA was difficult for me. I want the best opportunities for my daughter in terms of health and education and since I can’t move my family to Canada, France, or the UK – it made sense for us to move back to my home country. Coming to the USA has been difficult for my wife – but she is resilient and adapting well.

Marley Horses
Marley Horses from the Fouria Estate

One of the big problems for both of us was that of finding work – much to my surprise, nearly a year on and I find myself doing the same work that was supporting us in Morocco and Turkey (blogging) but in a much more expensive country. Over the past few years, it seems that Google and the FCC really have it in for independent bloggers and they’ve systematically made it harder and harder to earn a buck web logging – and yet – here we are. Still going.

We wouldn’t have made it without a second income – one that has always been a sort of second nature to me – picking. From the time we arrived in the USA we’ve been cruising estate sales, thrift shops, antique shops, and garage sales and grabbing overlooked treasure – then reselling it on eBay. It’s made the difference in making rent and putting gas in our tanks. Picking is a lifetime skill and I enjoy it.

A series of rather lucky events led to me putting my skills to work when a high school friend lost his parents. He needed to have a series of estate sales and didn’t have any ideas about how to run them or price things, research things, or set it up. This was like graduate school for me – suddenly, I was faced with the valuable horde of three generations of art lovers – depression glass, cast brass sculptures, paintings, French furniture, Italian art glass, Turkish brass, Japanese lacquerware, antique wood working tools, paintings and the list goes on and on.

Vagabond Antiques and Art
Our humble beginnings

Over last summer we turned what probably would have been fairly good garage sales into highly profitable estate sales – and – we cleared out a huge amount of day to day stuff in the process. I discovered my sales skills are good enough to sell three cords of firewood for a profit in 115 degree summer weather and during the countless hours of digging on the internet and in antique books – I learned about everything from Bohemian glass to Hummel figurines to vintage fishing gear and old oil cans.

Our first two sales were focused on the less than extraordinary stuff – which, in point of fact, was really extraordinary when compared with most stuff you see at sales, but not so extraordinary as the stuff we didnt’ sell. There is still all the French furniture, the Japanese wood block prints, the Victorian decorative items and more…and a truck load of smaller brick-a-brack of great beauty and moderate worth. The big success was that we cleared out enough stuff so my friends could deal with it and we didn’t accidentally give away any great treasures. We knew what we were selling and we got fair prices for it.

After the estate sales, my wife and my picking became much better. With the knowledge we’d earned, we could go to estate and garage sales – even those that had already been professionally picked – and find the extraordinary that had been missed. An example – yesterday I paid $10 at a thrift store for a painting that is most certainly worth several thousand — there is more research to do – but the painting was done by a prisoner in the Green Haven Prison facility named E. Conway in 1970. The picture does not do this oil on canvas winter scene justice…but certainly it is worth more than $10 – there is something darkly magical about it.

E. Cnway The Woods in Winter

So, my point is that we’ve accumulated a nice collection of items and a storehouse of knowledge that exceeded our eBay store and my office’s capacity to hold them. So, we decided to open a brick and mortar store. We didn’t have the money to open a full store, nor the inventory – so we opted to open a space in an antique mall. The rent is $200 per month and the owner of the mall takes a hefty 15% commission, but the store is well known and has a wonderful location – so, we don’t have to be there or pay utilities or hire employees.

As we were making the arrangements, I wondered if we had enough inventory – then I thought of my friends and asked if they wanted to consign all those boxes of stuff in our shop – they agreed and we took a quick to trip to California to pick it up.  It turns out we probably could have filled our little space – but their antiques and Japanese stuff really brought life to our space and gave us such an abundance of inventory that we don’t have to worry about it being empty for quite a while.  Kismit and with any luck (and hard work), they will get more through our shop than they would through a garage or estate sale.  The past week, I’ve been researching and inventorying hundreds of items – pricing, buying furniture, and setting up our shop. We opened last Tuesday and so far – well, we don’t really know. The busy tourist season on Highway 101 starts in a few weeks – we have our fingers crossed.

Vagabond Antiques and Art

Eventually, we would like to have our own shop and perhaps even our own little antique mall – but for now – we are starting small. Please come and visit.

Brown Dog Antiques – 595 U.S. 101 -Florence, OR 97439  –

Come in and go to the back and you’ll see us. I will be writing more about my research interesting items and art in general on this blog. I hope that we can build a little community around antiques and art – where you can share your treasures and we can share ours.

Admire the Fine Art of George Georgiou in Atlanta

Atlanta has some wonderful fine art galleries located throughout the city, featuring traditional and contemporary pieces, together with all manner of visual arts, including sculptures, prints and photography. They are an absolute must for anybody with an interest in buying, selling, collecting or simply admiring the artistically creative works of some of the industry leaders.

Amongst the dozens of top artists whose skilled material is on display at the city’s Jackson Fine Art Gallery, is American Sid Avery, famed for his capture on film of many Hollywood stars during private moments. Especially popular is that of the cast from the original Ocean 11 movie, including Sammy Davis Junior, Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. Others show James Dean on the set of Rebel Without a Cause; plus Elizabeth Taylor, Yul Brynner, Audrey Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart in unfamiliar poses.

Mark Shaw has some of his work in the gallery too, which are certainly well worth a look. Although probably better known for his association with the Kennedy’s, for whom he was the unofficial family photographer, his “day job” was in fashion and advertising. Consequently, he produced some marvelous images of celebrities of the day, from the fifties and early sixties, many of which are on show.

Another photographer with many thought provoking pieces in the gallery is George Georgiou. London born to parents of Greek-Cypriot origin, he focuses his work on cultural splits amongst communities, particularly in Turkey, Eastern Europe and the Balkans. He has been professionally recognized with awards and prizes over the past decade, including: The Pictures of the Year for the Istanbul Bombings back in 2004 and the British Journal of Photography for 2010.

George Georgiou

It is George Georgiou who is responsible for the dramatic photographs of Yenikoy Village in Artvin from 2006, Bitlis in 2007 and Konya in 2008. He does more than most to dispel preexisting images of places and throws himself completely into any project. He runs numerous workshops in Europe, and has many exhibitions across the continent.

Anybody with the slightest interest in fine art should visit Jackson Fine Art’s website www.jacksonfineart.com and check out not only George Georgiou, but also the many fellow artists on display. The gallery was opened back in 1990 by Jane Jackson, who has gone onto become Director of the esteemed Sir Elton John Photography Collection. Initially it focused on contemporary work, but now under the leadership of Anna Walker Skillman, whilst maintaining the 20th century feel, it has added a number of exciting vintage pieces to its collection. This superb facility regularly participates in international art fairs, not only in US cities such as New York, Chicago and Miami, but also across the globe to glamorous destinations like: London and Paris.

There is a who’s who of clients for this gallery too, with iconic institutions that include: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. Additionally, they have partnered corporate collections such as: Delta Airlines, Citibank, Coca Cola Company, Saks Fifth Avenue and Sovereign. This gallery deserves all the accolades it receives and is certainly one of the best in the city.