Be like Italy

bare floor with carpet removed

You’ve been there…

…the Italian-American restaurant with fountains, fake distressed stucco on the walls and ceramic tile roof portions inside.

It’s an imitation, just like Las Vegas imitates reality with their New York and Egyptian themed hotels.

It’s not a bad thing to bring those places to people who may never get to visit the real thing.

But let’s be genuine.


My office building has been undergoing a renovation, mostly because flood damage meant they had to replace the carpets and baseboards anyway.

During the few days between when the old carpet was ripped up and the new carpet was laid, the bare floor was exposed. Then I saw a beautiful patchy, distressed, stucco-like pattern.

Why not leave it that way and skip the carpet?

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A fork in the road

a fork sitting in the road

I recently came across a literal fork in the road.

It made me think:

  • Did it fall off the back of a pickup, after someone finished their meal and forgot to put up their silverware?
  • Did a villain throw it out their car window to cause tire damage to a random follower’s vehicle?
  • Was it part of an art project, and the artist meant to pick it up a few days later, after it got even more mangled?

What theories do you have about how this fork ended up by the side of a busy road?

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Support your local artist

drawing of hipster balloon man

This great drawing was on the wall of an indie coffee house in San Antonio, Texas. (For those of you down in that neck of the woods, it was Local Coffee.)

I could have served you up a photo of the balloon man — but that wouldn’t have been nearly as interesting. (Photos can be fascinating — I’m not knocking photography!)

Sadly, I didn’t get the name of the artist. None of the artwork on that bulletin board was for sale (and the drawings were fairly small).


You can get art for your walls for way less money than you think. Here are some ideas for creatively obtaining real art to add more life to your living space:

  1. Visit your local high school. There’s bound to be artwork in the display cases and on the walls. If you like the work of a particular artist, ask the art teacher if you can commission a special piece of art by that young artist.
  2. Tour your town’s arts district. If your city is too small to have any galleries, be prepared the next time you visit the big city. Do research to find the area with the highest concentration of galleries.
  3. Avoid expensive big name artist galleries in posh touristy towns. (Yes, Aspen, I’m thinking of you.) Large metropolitan areas often have an arts district where you can visit a wide array of galleries.
  4. Find out when and where community artists have their annual or semi-annual shows.
  5. Make friends with an artist. They may sell you some of their “out-takes” art for less than their top-shelf works.
  6. If you know someone with latent artistic skill, encourage them to get back into their craft — and share some with you!

Go forth and get good art.

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Take time to visit a museum

spider-like antique chair

This amazing spider-like chair currently appears in the Denver Art Museum. It totally reminded me of a Tim Burton movie.

Even if you live in a very small town, at least in Europe, North America and parts of Asia, there might be a museum you don’t even know about. Do a little research to see if there is one down that other street.

I guarantee you’ll learn something new if you spend at least an hour and read some of the exhibit plaques.

Footnotes:

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Great app — Prisma

This little app has given me more fun than the last three photo apps combined — Prisma.

Here’s the original photo:

Jay, pre-Prisma app

And here are some of the results (tap the right side of the image to get to the next one):

So if I convinced you to try this app, here’s where you can find it: Prisma. Currently, it’s just available for the iPhone, but if you have an Android, you can sign up to get news about the beta version.

Special thanks to my son Jay, the model.

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But is it good?

weird signage for littleton village, coloradoArt is very subjective. One person’s favorite is another’s hated reject.

But when art meets commerce — what used to be called, “commercial art,” there is another standard. It must communicate.

The artists behind the signage of the new Littleton Village, a residential and commercial development near my home, crossed the edge a little too far:

1. At each edge of the main corner’s signage area, there are two obelisks that look like something from a science fiction movie.

2. During the day, shadows hinder readability of the development’s name.

signage for littleton village, colorado

3. What’s with those white vertical stripes? Before the development name went up, I thought they were giant adhesive strips to adhere the development’s name. No. They are not lighted, either. And then there are a bunch of holes that look like ventilation for an underground chamber.

Whaaaat??

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Really shiny

shiny things at michaelsI am embarrassed at my comments about the chain of stores called Michael’s that I made to Heather just after we got married. I said something about how it was for ladies who were bored and had crafty tendencies — but I probably used more negative and judgmental words.

We went there recently and I just loved the shiny aisle. (Don’t worry — just seeing it for a few seconds and then three minutes later insisting that my daughter Rachel* see it was enough for me.) But how awesome that such a shiny aisle could exist in any store.

* (Shown.)

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Creativity has its price

creative-bootsI saw these boots in a shop window in Santa Fe, New Mexico. They were not, shall we say, my style. But they sparked an idea.

It would be fun to get some old cowboy boots from the Goodwill for next-to-nothing and paint them with an interesting design, to create some display-able artwork.

I have a bunch of interesting (to me) items displayed in my office. I would enjoy doing this boot project, at some point, to add to my office collection of fun stuff.

The price is simply time — and energy. At the moment, time is in short supply.

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Creativity vs. Practicality

cabin-camperFort Collins is full of creative people. I’d bet that your town is too.

My son Jay took this photo on one of the residential side streets of Fort Collins. I’m guessing that the owner of this Toyota uses his (or her) cabin-camper as daily transportation. Obviously, it’s not as practical as a boring sedan for daily use. But it has a huge amount of character. The artist who made this dwelling/vehicle chose to favor creativity instead of practicality.

That’s what art is all about. The beautiful painting that graces your wall is not practical. But it is, in a way — beauty feeds the soul. A healthy soul makes for a better functioning life. And that’s practical.

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It takes a special person

spiky shoesHow fun that there are completely impractical shoes! My wife would not wear them. I might buy them for her, if she would.

It’s just great that things like this exist.

(I took the photo in Los Angeles. Denver is home to fewer such stores.)

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