On New Year’s Day, I woke up to something that always puts a smile on my face (see photo at left). Seriously. I thrifted this some years ago and am so glad it didn’t get tossed in the great Chicago-New York move. Over the years, Chris and I have amassed a substantial collection of second-hand and thrift-store art. Our gems have been scavenged from Salvation Armies, yard sales, alleys, and dumpsters from Chicago to New York and everywhere in between. There’s so much to love about thrifted art including the unbeatable prices, (mere dollars, with our most expensive piece costing around $15), and the sheer weirdness you’re bound to stumble upon. (It looks like they actually took their poodle to Sears for a formal portrait. The only thing missing is a faux sunset backdrop.) I’d guess that roughly half of what we own has been found on the curb or in the alley on garbage day; full portfolios of (near)finished paintings by armchair artists, abandoned family photographs, etc. I always find it hard to believe that someone could so easily part with something so personal. A woman in Memphis once sold me an old sketchbook that included old portraits her deceased mother had drawn of herself and husband (see works by “Melba” on Flickr set). Is nothing sacred?!
We’re by no means pioneers, collecting thrifted art is nothing new. Collections of second-hand art are being published and exhibited, which makes me happy. It means there are others out there like us- those not afraid to do a little digging, celebrating the weirdness and beauty of lost-and-found art.(See the Flickr set for more.)
— By Melissa