“You know, it’s not like any of these will ever hang in the Louvre.”
These disheartening words came frrom one of my instructors, as he moaned and groaned about how long a group of us were taking to complete our paintings. We may not be great masters, but we took each one very seriously and were turning out a high level of work. Every day, we artists soldier on in the privacy of our homes to produce highly complex, high quality art. Without an agent or a highly agressive business plan, most artists and their work fade into anonymity, admired only by family members. When the artist dies, the paintings are taken by other family members or by friends. Sometimes.
Regardless, where they eventually wind up is the local thrift store. Their canvases sagging, their paint scratched by being flung into trunks of cars with other discarded junk, they finish their life stacked in a corner and sold for a couple of dollars. That treasure, that hard work, abandoned and forgotten.
And I’m not talking about paintings of lopsided bowls of strangely shaped pears that seem to hover above the bowl, although these are here too. I’m talking about genuine works of art that deserve better.
Next time you’re rambling through your neighborhood Goodwill, take a look. You may find a diamond disguised as a stone, and in finding that treasure, Art lives on.
Just last night I saw a painting someone had plucked out of a pile of rubbish. And, yeah, though you’ll never see it hanging in the Louvre, it was certainly better than anything I have done at this point.
You are so right – My mother’s aunt, Jackie Cash Miller, passed away last November; followed a month later by her husband, Ken Miller. Though I didn’t know him well in my youth, we grew closer when I moved to Georgia, where he lived. He had an amazing workshop, woodwork mostly, and pieces all over the house but I never knew of his craft until his passing. It’s very sad to me that his children couldn’t keep all his treasures as they are in other parts of the country and don’t have the space. I know it saddens them just as much, probably more. He was a remarkably kind, talented, humble man. At every opportunity he and his wife would indulge my curiosity with stories of The Cash Family, also about whom I knew little. I would talk to he and his wife for hours about the subject, always learning something and wanting to know more. I only wish I had spent some of that time learning about his fascinations, too many to count. As I was helping my cousin go through his house, a new world was uncovered before my eyes, his world, leaving me only with more questions than I could stand and dare not ask… Another artist’s work silenced, unappreciated under a layer of dust in a thrift store or worse.