After one of Stephen’s scrummie pancake breakfasts and a long-distance chat with Mom, I dropped Stephen off at gaming and went into town, aiming for the Affordable Art Show on Queen’s Wharf. By “affordable”, they mean “under $5000” — so, affordable by some standards anyway. The schtick is that everything is “cash and carry”. If you see something you like, take it off the wall, haul it over to the checkout, and take it away with you. Show staff are constantly scurrying around filling gaps with more art. The show runs for three days, so even if you come the first day, there’s constantly new stuff to see.
What it was for me, though, was tremendously educational. I tend to be a “like that; ehn, don’t like that” sort of art consumer, but getting to see so very many different pieces by different artists all jumbled together, I couldn’t help but expand and refine my categories.
— That’s a good idea, but clumsily executed.
— This is derivative, AND clumsy. When you see fifty different mountains-reflected-in-the-lake, and twenty-five different pohutakawas-by-the-sea, you start to be able to tell the difference between skilled and not-so-skilled, even when the style is meant to be somewhat primitive or impressionistic.
— I really really like that, but wouldn’t want it on my wall.
— I’ve seen better work in SF con art shows, done by 13-year-olds. Do they seriously expect to get $700 for that ?
— That’s really very very good, but I don’t like it at all.
— This person should be doing X (comic book covers, childrens book illos, trading cards, etc.)
— This would be very suitable for a Y (motel, office, cafe, etc.)
— I would hang that on my wall, if I owned it, but will forget about it five minutes after I walk out of here.
— If I had $4500 and a living room big enough for it, I would walk out of here with that right now. Damn, but that’s cool.
There were only a couple of pieces that fell into the last category, one of which was a bench/sofa/thing made out of a hollow driftwood log. Overall, I would have liked to have seen a wider variety of media; there was a ton of flat art, but not very much of anything else. A bit of sculpture, and maybe two mosaic artists. No fibre arts at all, with the exception of one person doing mediocre soft sculpture of little tigers and dogs.
So I wandered around and had a look at everything. I found that when I passed the same wall for the second time, I’d notice pieces I hadn’t the first time by, so with that in mind, I got my hand stamped to go out and get lunch, planning to come back and do a second pass later, while I waited for Stephen to call for his pick up.
For lunch, I planned to head down to the new Mexican place in the Wellington Market and continue working my way down the menu. Outside, the weather was stunning — sunny and warm (nearly 60F, which is pretty nice for mid winter) with just enough breeze to get the sailboats out in droves. The waterfront was bustling (it was the last day of this round of school holidays, too). On the low wall in front of the Odlin timber “forest”, the really good Maori guitar busker had turned his microphone over to a pair of eight-year-old girls and was playing along while they sang “Twinkle-Twinkle Little Star”. Hee.
I detoured to check out the frigate Wellington, which is tied up outside the museum. They’re stripping it in preparation for turning it into an artificial reef and dive attraction, and in the meantime, they’re letting folks tour it, and they’ve even got a little bar set up in the helicopter hanger. They’ve had neato period-style posters up all over town (check out http://www.divewreck.co.nz/F69/Canteen.php) and they’re selling the stuff they get out of it on TradeMe, and in a trailer-museum parked out front. Want to own a torpedo tube ? Or one of the consoles with all the switches and little lights ? I bought the key to the Gyro Room — how cool !
I also got a pretty macrame necklace with a hunk of turquoise and little bells from a nearby blanket-seller. Much cheaper than any of the art !
Stephen rang just as I was finishing up my tacos, so I grabbed some bubble tea (ooh, there’s a new Korean place in there… must drag StephenR out for bee bim bap…) and went to pick him up. There was still plenty of afternoon left, so after giggling at Jason (the palomino pony) and his new haircut, Stephen revved up the chainsaw and we did a little gardening. Woo !