Saturday, September 20, 2008

Recent Acquisition

It started the first year I worked for the Utah Arts Council. It was August, 2001 and we did our annual statewide exhibition up at the Bountiful Davis Art Center. The theme was mixed media and works on paper.

I was immediately drawn to this monotype by Jason Jones and thought, “I should buy this.” It’s called Portal. The artist told me he painted it in Helper when he was there taking a series of workshops. If you look closely you can see a blue USPS mail box and a glass door behind it. I remember talking to Jason on the phone and I told him this was my first original art purchase. He said, “Congratulations! It’s addicting.”

He was right. That winter the Utah Arts Council exhibited the Utah Watercolor Society’s “miniature” show and I bought this piece by Steve Sheffield. It’s really small, which makes it affordable, but I love winter scenes and Steve told me he painted this particular piece up Millcreek Canyon and I love Millcreek. He was really nice at the reception and told me he didn’t like how it was framed and I should let him reframe it for me. So I bought it. My coworker Lila and I fought over this one a little bit and so Steve painted another one just for her.

The following summer (2002) my friend Ilene was visiting and wanted to get her hair done so I took her to Phil at Jagged Edge (if you don’t know this about me, my ability to recall detail is ridiculous. I can also tell you I was wearing a blue and white striped shirt I bought at “Next” in London earlier that spring which I have since handed down to my roommate Carri). Phil was bleaching Ilene’s hair so it took awhile. While I waited, I walked over to Utah Artist Hands on 100 South and saw this pastel piece hanging on the wall. It’s by David Maestes. I couldn’t stop looking at it. I think I really liked the blues and greens (it looks better without my reflection). It now hangs above the coat rack in my house. I used it for a Relief Society lesson once on the creation of the world. Thanks to my art history training I can squeeze meaning out of just about anything. It was actually a really good metaphor about how man can seem insignificant compared to the vastness of the universe, but how we really are God’s most important creation. I won’t get into it here, but you can ask me about it later if you want.

This is another piece I just couldn’t keep my eyes off of so after visiting it several times, I just decided to buy it. It hung at a show we did at the Alice Gallery in the winter of 2003. For a photograph, it was more expensive than I wanted it to be, but I like it (and the artist was really nice and gave me a deal). It hangs in our living room to the right of the west windows. It’s by Don Thorpe and yes, I know it’s blurry. He took it at Liberty Park. I love Liberty Park; and trees, apparently. You may start seeing a theme here.

One Christmas I was feeling generous and had some extra money so I thought it would be nice to buy my parents a painting and call it an anniversary/Christmas present. My parents once told me they have this goal to visit every Spanish mission in California. I found a painting by Wilson Ong of the San Carlos mission and I knew that’s what I wanted to get them. But then I saw this companion piece depicting a chandelier at the same mission. The owner of the gallery told me if I wanted to buy both she’d give me $100 off. So I bought this one for me.

I’m losing track of my years. I think this one was late summer 2005. Each year the Deseret News sponsors a landscape competition (well, they haven’t the past two years since MUAH closed because of Main Street construction) but I saw a couple pieces by my good friend Shawn Rossiter there. I bought a piece of his for my mom once, but never owned one myself. I kept coming back to this as I looked at all the paintings, so I emailed Shawn and told him I wanted it. He commended my excellent taste. I’m not crazy about the frame though. I keep meaning to have him reframe it for me. But he’s expressed frustration about how I write more for my blog than I do for his magazine. So maybe once I have an article for him I’ll be on his good side.

Ted Wassmer was the oldest artist in Utah until he died a couple years ago. I was lucky enough to visit him when he was well. I went up to his apartment with some coworkers because we wanted to buy paintings to give to our outgoing board members. Ted gave us each a small painting of his before we left. He has a whole series of ladies with hats. When I picked mine out Ted looked at me, smiled, and said, “She’s in Vegas.” It hangs in my bedroom. Last week Annie told me she thinks it looks like a lady whose head exploded.

I started this fundraiser for Utah artists. I invite a printmaker to create a print, commissioned by the Utah Arts Council to coincide with our annual arts conference. The artist makes an edition of 25 and then we sell them for $100 each – which is a steal. The money goes towards innovation grants for artists. Last year Sandy Brunvand made this one for us: Healing Branches II. She stitches layers of wax paper over a lot of her prints. I believe she had surgery on her hands and so instead of stitching, she started stapling.

And my most recent acquisition: de sein by Stefanie Dykes. She has amazing technical ability and was this year’s invited artist for our conference. What makes this print even more unique is how each print of the series has this red pattern painted across the front and each is different.

I simply don’t have enough walls in my house to continue this habit. But I doubt that will stop me.


Annie said...

I think the David Maestes one is the favorite in our house. I was walking down the stairs today and had a "moment" when I looked at it and it was as if I had never seen it before. I think it's stunning and I'm glad to have an art lover in the house. Thanks Laura!

(And I still don't see the hat, I think her head exploded.)

designempress said...

What lovely choices you've made--on so many levels.

SRA said...

You do have some great stuff at your house. It's fun to come by every once in awhile (e.g. when you host Ward Prayer). :)

Cameron's Corner said...

Ok, so I had a hard time concentrating after I read that you bought a blurry photo taken at Liberty Park.

I don't even WANT to know how much you paid and I'm sure it's totally taboo to even ask, but it makes me think I should be a photographer.

Go ahead. Tell me how I don't understand art or something.

Kelly Durham said...

Oooh, thanks for the "tour" of your personal collection. You DO have excellent taste! I can't even pick my favorite.

Laura Lee said...


The artist calls his photographic technique "impressionist photography" with the goal of intensifying emotional character. He uses digital techniques to create a stronger visual impression that appeals to the emotions rather than the intellect.

Lisa Marie Trent said...

I rather like the reflection of you with your camera. Very abstract.

Alex said...

David Maestes is my favorite of the bunch. He reminds me of an artist (Maybe he is the same) that had a gallery with my friend's dad down in St George. There was an open house for the gallery so my friend and I from college went down to visit. It had a tree and looked overcast, but it was the most beautiful painting I had ever seen. It was over $1000 and being in college, I couldn't even dream of affording it. I'll have to check if this is the artist I fell in love with. I also REALLY like Stephanie Dykes print. The designs in it are so amazing. I'm jealous you get to have a job that brings you around art all the time!

Ilene said...

Will you please call my husband around Christmas or our anniversary and tell him you have the perfect gift for me.

I would love to have some original art but am too cheap to buy it for myself. However, I would be happy to accept it from my husband. The fact that all of the money comes out of the same checking account regardless of who buys it is pointless.