You Call It an Art Problem, I Call It Creative Admiration

There has never been a time with more access and ability support artists, which probably explains my incessant search and purchasing habits.

A range of recently acquired art pieces sit on my work table before I begin framing.
Justin Ribeiro

“You have an art problem,” Monica stated after eyeing the table full of recent acquisitions, a colorful mixture of color and techniques waiting to be measured, matted and framed.

To deny her statement would be to deny my nature. I adore art, I adore art museums and galleries large or small, and most of all I adore talking with artists about their art. I enjoy art I don’t understand that spins my point of view, I enjoy the differences in process and the way creativity flows through to create a piece. The joys are sometimes simple or complex and almost always evolving the more I visit a piece.

The joy of our art collection is that said problem filled a gap that I didn’t think I would ever encounter, that being that museums and galleries haven’t exactly been accessible during the pandemic. Not being able to attend openings or shows, not be able to meet with friends working on pieces has been a tiny ache added to the larger pain of the time.* Years of collecting pieces sort of helped fill the gap as we moved old pieces and reorganized walls and table stands.

The joke of course is that our art collection was driven not by some notion of monetary value now or in the future, but what brought and continues to bring happiness. I can’t name a piece of art in our house that cost any great sum of money to purchase. Not a single piece of the two dozen were purchased through a dealer; some were gifts from artists, others a trade of art for art, others purchased directly from artists on Etsy or other in-person shows back when they were still a thing, still others from Michael’s TOP print and book sales. It was how I was able to meet and speak with the photographer and author Ctein just before the pandemic started much to my pleasure.

David Steele, Rabbits v Robots 2006, hangs in our a bedroom near one of the alcove desks.
Justin Ribeiro

When said art collection is combined with our own art and creative pursuits, it’s a lovely mix of a house full of meaning. The kids have taken to painting canvas, which hang in various places in the house. Monica and I have our darkroom prints in the family space. Our art room and darkroom space is filled with a trove of sample pieces of various states.

While it may not be a house full of old masters and we surely don’t have the space for large sculpture, it doesn’t make it any less of a collection or any less enjoyable. Art should make you happy, it should make you think, it should evoke some emotion or connection. These days, with the ability to talk to artists and buy work directly from them, I find it a better avenue to supporting their work where ever they are.

Yeah, I have an art problem. It’s not a terrible problem to have and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

* Okay, that’s not exactly true; I did get a brief art fix early in the pandemic when I picked up a Seal 500-T press from a closed local gallery, but that was an in-and-out deal. Stay safe out there, social distance!