Outsider Art — Why You Need It

This weekend provides a rare opportunity to peek into an artist’s lair and walk away with a piece of it at a relatively-reasonable price.  This estate sale is at the home studio of Kansas City artist Allan Winkler, who will be in and out during the sale and is happy to sign his art for you.
Mike and Roger Estate Sales, July 26-28, (816) 309-2728

 

Each week I look diligently through the online posts for estate sales — a chance to walk into a stranger’s house and look at all their stupid stuff (it’s the stupid stuff that sticks around for the sales), and snoop around their homes.  It’s fascinating to see what people spend their money on.  And then, on my way home with a car full of someone else’s old junk, a brief moment of self-awareness sometimes kick in when I realize how I’m spending MY money.

But this week something unique caught my eye — a chance to walk into a strange artist’s home and look at all his piled-up art. I think most artists don’t appreciate their talent, so their basements collect piles of cast-aside work. That certainly seems the case with local Kansas City artist Allan Winkler, the talented sculpter, painter, cut-paper artist, cut metal artist, potter, poured glass, collage artist. He’s well-known in art circles for his outsider art.

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Bread and Puppets

The Bread and Puppet Museum, Theater, and Paper-Mache Cathedral
753 Heights Rd
Glover, Vt 05839
802-525-3031

From https://breadandpuppet.org/museum :
The Bread and Puppet Museum is a massive accumulation of the puppets, masks, paintings and graphics of the Bread and Puppet Theater, housed in a 150-year-old barn in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, 25 miles south of the Canadian border. It is one of the largest collections of some of the biggest puppets and masks in the world. It was created in 1974 when Bread and Puppet Theater moved to this former dairy farm after a residency at Goddard College, and before that close to a decade in New York City. The museum is full to the brim; its population density is an expression not only of the accumulations of time but of the urgencies which inspired the making of so much stuff: the poverty of the poor, the arrogance of the war-mongers, the despair of the victims, and maybe even stronger than that, the glory of this whole god-given world. And naturally, all this will decay in due course.

 

The Bread and Puppet Museum is an immersive experience, even when it’s closed. During the winter and spring months the museum is closed, but their website proclaims “…you’re welcome to come in, turn on the lights, and have a look around.”  You just have to turn off the lights when you leave.

obsessivehobbyist.com

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Perpetually waiting…

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I love this sad little guy! I’m not sure he knows what he’s waiting for, but he seems to still have hope. And his hair is stylin’!

When art inspires stories, that’s when you take it home. There’s nothing more inspiring to me than original folkart. I found this wonderful assemblage art piece by former Hallmark artist Chari Peak Roberts at Prize Antiques in the Bottoms Up Antique Market. West Bottoms in Kansas City, Missouri. That’s a working seed spreader on his belly!

Now that he lives in my home, I’ve renamed him Lefty McBrush-Head.

 

MY PHOTO GALLERIES

 

Photo LA — Major Inspiration

Anytime you can see this many amazing photographers in one place….do it! It’s too late for Photo LA this year, but mark your calendars for next year. It’s so inspirational. Some trends I noticed — 1) lots of unconventional printing materials – metal, fabric, scraps of wood; 2) several artists displayed encaustic (beeswax) photos – I love this technique and can’t wait to learn it; 3) lots of cool digital collages and multi-media presentations.

My favorite section was the Emerging Focus Competition…

La Posada – A Winslow Oasis

Photo by Stephanie Roberts, http://ObsessiveHobbyist.com

At $155/night (inc. taxes and pet fee), the La Posada Hotel was my big indulgence for the first leg of the trip, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. I was feeling sad about Route 66, American poverty, and general neglect as I drove into Winslow,  and I was afraid it would be the same as Two Guns, Twin Arrows, and Meteor City — abandoned, neglected, sad. And much of Winslow is exactly that. BUT…

The most impressive place in town, and the best reason to visit Winslow, is  The La Posada Hotel — billed as the Last Great Railroad Hotel, built in 1929 by the Santa Fe Railway, and a former Harvey House, located right on the railroad tracks. Architect Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter’s southwest masterpiece, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. I didn’t realize when I checked in that La Posada means “Resting Place,” and that’s exactly what I did. This beautiful oasis was unexpected and very welcome, and I immediately booked a second night! And I’m so glad I did — it turned out to be the kind of place that feels instantly like home, or like visiting a good friend (with really good taste and a lot of money).

This hotel has to be a train-lovers mecca, but it’s also an art-lovers mecca. It’s the home gallery of funky, eccentric artist (and hotel owner) Tina Mion, whose work is displayed throughout the hotel — make sure you check out the second-floor gallery. I ran into her in the hall one day and enjoyed talking with her, and she gave me some great local photo recommendations — Homolovi State Park and Little Painted Desert, a county park just up the road from Homolovi.

The gardens of the hotel are gorgeous, and I’ve never been to a more pet-friendly hotel! Dogs are welcome in nearly every garden on the property, and there is a huge lawn at the back and on the side that are specifically for dogs, plus a fun hay-bale maze for human children.

You’d think that an active train station would be loud, but they roll by so slowly it just seems relaxing. There’s always a group of folks sitting out back watching the trains go by — and with an average of over 90/day, they never have to wait long. There are still 2 stops per day at La Posada — one from Los Angeles and one from Chicago. I’m thinking that my next trip to La Posada should be via Amtrak!

FOR MORE ARIZONA ROUTE 66 PHOTOS CLICK HERE

Meet the Mural Mice…

While I was taking a photo of a cool old motel sign in Flagstaff, a guy on a buckskin-fringed bicycle rode up and asked me what I was doing. It’s one of the things I love about a camera…people always want to know why you’re taking a photo of whatever it’s aimed at. Sometimes they’re baffled by your interest in a commonplace sign, but mostly they’re flattered that you’re interested in something they’re interested in. That’s why artist R.E. Wall (he likes to be called R) stopped. He and Mural Mice partner Margaret Dewar (Maggie) were working on a Route 66 mural on a building across the street, and he gave me some interesting info about the area.

I didn’t know, for example, that Phoenix Avenue, where we were standing, was the original alignment for Route 66. And when it was moved a block away, to its current location, business owners on Phoenix were offered, as compensation, tall signs that could be seen from the new highway. A couple of those tall signs have survived and can, indeed, be seen from Route 66…

After years of spearheading the mural projects in Prescott, Arizona, the talented Mural Mice have been commissioned by the city of Flagstaff to create a mural of Arizona’s Route 66 attractions. They’re well into it, and should be finished by the end of the summer. Although they normally like to do community art projects, where anyone can contribute to the art, this project has more specific goals, and they’ve carefully researched their subjects. Something to look for in the finished product:  Ruby, the dog, makes an appearance in all of their works!

FOR MORE ROUTE 66 ARIZONA PHOTOS, CLICK HERE