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This post is part of my 2022 Word Project. You can read what that’s about here.

Friday, August 25, 2023

After yesterday’s rant, I done wore myself out. I can’t rant two days in a row, and your eyeballs can’t take it, so I opted to do something fun today. And so I bring you: art! Art in all its unique and beautiful and sometimes terrible and strange manifestations. Not merely museum art, but everyday art, sometimes found in the least likely places, and sometimes not appearing as art at all except in the eye of the beholder.

I saw a question posed the other day that got me thinking about this. The question was: what is art? Go ahead and burn a few brain cells on that one, and don’t bother looking it up in the dictionary. It won’t help explain why you can look at the Mona Lisa and call it art, and look at a canvas painted completely blue and also call it art.

I’m not here to debate or define art, my brain is way too tired for that. I’m only here to share a bit of it that I’ve found in my travels around the sun.

Like this lovely sculpture outside the Frist Art Museum in Nashville. They don’t always have the most exciting art inside but I love the exterior.

Of course it would not be Nashville without some guitar art.

Or Brigantine without some beach art.

Hats can become art.

And so can bottle labels, if you look closely enough. In fact, I think bottle labels are some of the most interesting everyday art you can find. Wine bottles, whiskey bottles, mead bottles. They’re a lot more interesting than a blue canvas, anyway.

Speaking of bottles… this gorgeous thing is a keepsake from my grandmother. It is – or was – a bottle of rum that she brought back from a cruise and it’s as old as me. The rum has long since evaporated but the bottle will be art forever.

Sometimes art is obvious.

And sometimes it is not. Can you guess what this is?

What happens in Vegas…. is often strange and inexplicable, like this psychedelic Alice in Wonderland thing they had going on at one of the hotels. Pretty striking, though.

Mosaic art in Lynn, Massachusetts, outside of Boston.

Tribal art in Snoqualmie, Washington.

A little crab action in San Francisco.

And whatever this is. Hey, I said we were doing art. I didn’t say we were doing good art. I’m fairly certain this was painted on a restaurant wall in Atlantic City.

Everything is art in New Orleans. Cthulu made an appearance on a hitching post along the street.

And this guy was there to make sure there was no funny business at the bar.

Literally anything can become art in a bar. Bicycles hanging from ceilings, weird sculptures, sports memorabilia. And this wall of cards. You do NOT want to be the person responsible for dusting this place.

A bar we went to in Cotati, California, had this masterpiece on the ceiling. And yes, we climbed up there and stapled our dollar to the ceiling, too. It may not seem like art at first glance but you would not have the same aesthetic if the walls were painted, say… blue. Like that canvas.

A larger-than-life stallion at last year’s Pilgrimage festival.

And this oddity on Brigantine beach. I mean.. it looks beachy, no? I think it’s pretty interesting.

I have to explain this one but I promise it will do it no justice. It is a sculpture made out of a window screen. It is not on the canvas, but pinned to it so there is maybe four inches in between, which you can’t tell just by looking at it. But when you shine a light on it, it creates the most stunning shadows behind the sculpture, like it is dancing. You’d really have to see it. I want one.

One of my favorites from an entire garden of art around Olema cottages.

And this strange thing from a vineyard in Santa Rosa. Can’t say it’s not art!

Recycled art.

Art within art. We have a running joke with a friend who sends us pictures of himself and we take him with us wherever we go. The last time we went to the zoo, we brought his canvas and took this picture of it with one of the zoo’s sculptures.

Sometimes we do our own art. Once we went to a conference where a real artist brought a huge paint-by-number that she had drawn and designed herself. As conference attendees walked by, they could pick up a paintbrush and take part in the community masterpeice. Of COURSE we painted.

Ralph is particularly artistic. He arranged these bottles on the air mattress in preparation for my brother Kevin’s arrival.

And he created this masterpiece for me when I complained one day about how he always leaves the toilet paper empty.

I think that is the perfect note to end on. By the way, did you know what the rainbow-looking art was earlier? It’s what a car wash looks like from inside the car. See, anything really can be art!

Photo: a sculpture of the Harpeth River, which runs through Franklin. The shape of it mimics the actual shape of the river.