Two things happened to collide in my first week home. One was our overabundance – how big America is, how wide our roads, how many choices we have for cereal. And “B” (it’s a family joke) was a New Yorker article I was reading at the gym about Walmart art. http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/culture/2013/02/walmart-art.html#ixzz2MfZBirVd
Artist Brendan O’Connell worked for the Winn Dixie as a teenager when he had the brilliant idea that he wanted to paint the patterns and colors of store shelves. He saw beauty in the endless void of our material world, someone called him the Warhol of this generation. But he didn’t actually start painting until he started to photograph shoppers and shelves in Walmart. Imagine, Cheeto bags inspired passion; well actually he hasn’t painted a Cheeto bag, yet…
Now, his is the only art hung in Walmart’s corporate headquarters in Arkansas, and Alec Baldwin is a collector. “A company executive said, (O’Connell is) capturing ‘the art in the Wonderbread; the art in the Jif.’”
I like to think that’s about how I write. Something ordinary, or maybe newsworthy, might catch my eye and off I’ll run with words. Seeing something extraordinary in everyday things. The Flapper and my beautiful sister Kay were the artists in my family, so drawing was out of the question for me, but painting a picture with words and metaphor seemed doable. Still, I can appreciate art when I see it.
Like the lovely Art in Place project that has sculpture and murals popping up all over Cville. http://www.artinplace.org I am consistently delighted to see ever-changing roadscapes while I drive around town.The fin of a giant whale, a zipper being unzipped, a harried commuter with his tie flying in the wind, or even a butterfly made out of stone by Philip Kyle Hathcock
Since I don’t go to Walmarts, here is my photo montage of O’Connell-like shelves I found intriguing after getting through customs, my dignity somewhat intact and my avocat lotion not confiscated:
A still life of 100 calorie snack packs at a Harris Teeter grocery store. The French do not have a word for “snack.”
The Starbucks mermaid.
A favorite chip for teens in Target
And a woman looking for beauty products
What is art, what is beauty? Discuss.