Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Art brut, Southern style

At first I thought this was supposed to be Sting the singer. But I learned this morning it's the wrestler Sting. Anyway, the singing Sting performed Tuesday evening in Atlanta, which made me think of this painting. Artist Chuckie, who lived in Shreveport, Louisiana, became well known for painting celebrities. This portrait on cardboard looks maniacal, which I guess is the wrestler's image. The artist also went by Painter Chuckie and some other names. He died 10 years ago. A Chuckie snake is on my gallery site, Candler Arts.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Summertime refreshment

Watermelon has represented summertime bliss for a long time, as this naive 19th century painting demonstrates. In May I posted a blog showing an African-American boy holding an uncut watermelon. That painting pretends innocence but in reality has a sinister undertone. Context is everything when it comes to depicting America's love for watermelon.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Crackle face

An old holder made with clothespins. But the real selling point is the face, some 80 years old and so crazed it looks like it just might crumble.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

High camp

The portrait of Jackie sold at the Edgar Owen online gallery. It had been priced at $2,500. I think it's great -- but tasteful? Hmmm. I hope you can see the head of JFK in the clouds just above Jackie. Along the same lines is this kitsch plaque. It's an old tourist item that for me, anyway, transcends the form.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Olympic memory

In 1996 I was working at the Atlanta newspaper when the city hosted the Olympics. The newspaper attracts its share of odd characters, and not all of them work there. One day this envelope arrived and a colleague gave it to me, knowing I like offbeat stuff. The envelope had already been opened and I had no idea what had been inside, but I didn't much care, the outside was so interesting. Anyone who appreciates the crazy posters made by the Prophet Royal Robertson will see some similarities here. The mailer lived in a world watched over by a wrathful God. The words of warning to the newspaper spilled onto the envelope, both front and back, in an exciting jumble. My guess is the forthcoming onslaught of tourists for the Summer Games prompted the mailer to unleash his torrent. The postmark is June something 1996, a month before the Centennial Olympic Park bomber struck. The bombing killed one and led to the death of another who was fleeing the scene. The perp was later identified as Eric Robert Rudolph.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Magnificent carvings

These sold Sunday at Ken Farmer Auctions in Virginia, the one on the left for $7,000, the other for $4,500. That's before the auctioneer's fee. The artist was Charles H. Saunders of Shelby, N.C., who died in 1984. Mr. Saunders carried his carvings in a case to schools and fairs, and won awards. Here's more about this special man.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Painted parrot

An old photograph completely painted over. In March I did a post on a portrait of a woman also embellished with paint. On my gallery site is a painting of a boy with a huge fish that started out as a photograph. Notice how the young man's catch is not even bending the pole. The magic of paint.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Seated gals

I call this carving gals because the faces are different, but I wonder if the artist meant the figure to be one person. Anyway, it's from that era that I love, the period between the world wars. She's posed as if modeling for an artist or photographer. Or is she sitting dockside, soaking up the sun's rays and thinking how lucky she is?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Hawaii Beach

Some 15 years ago, when it was much easier to just get up and go, I visited the painter Andrea Badami at his home in Arizona. I asked him, why did you sign this painting Andrew Badami? He answered that callers thought Andrea was a woman, and that bugged him. Badami, an Italian immigrant, was a nice man but a bit cranky. He died in Tucson in 2002. His painting "Saint Rosalia and the Hunter" is in the Smithsonian American Art Museum. A small Badami portrait of Ronald Reagan is on my gallery Web site, Candler Arts.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Added sparkle

Glittering glass eyes are often a nice touch on folk carvings. I have a carving of a man in a green jacket on my gallery site that also has glass eyes. The sparkle grabs your attention and adds strangeness, a quality I always like.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

A Sound on the Stairs

This is a strange, mysterious painting signed Robert E. Fraser of Georgetown, S.C., 1949. On the back is the title, "A Sound on the Stairs." A likely ancestor of the painter, also named Robert E. Fraser, once owned the former Kensington rice plantation north of Georgetown, according to ancestry.com., and the Pen Branch plantation, according to the book Historic Houses of South Carolina. Georgetown is located on a coastal bay north of Charleston and is the third oldest city in South Carolina.