Art For All People®    Real Talk About Contemporary Art   

((Excerpt from: "The Art of Everyday Joe: A Collector's Journal."))

Don't be alarmed.  I haven't totally lost my mind.  Yet, I think some of the best art comes from our own artistic ability, no matter how small.

I'm no artist, but I think that coming up with your own ideas for art certainly gives you some insight into the overall process.  Imagine … your own artistic, pioneering spirit!  I love product design.  If it's done right, it can actually become art.

Coca Cola and Pepsi are among the best examples.  They became conglomerates long ago by not only selling soft drinks, but their brands, their logos as well.  We all know they're icons.

It's amazing how comfortable we've become with commercialization.  It certainly lives in my home.  I love oatmeal.  Needless to say, I eat lots of Quaker Oats.  I always buy their largest boxes.  You know, those forty-two ounce mini-drums.  Boy, if I had a buck for every one of those I’ve consumed!  Anyway, one day I was just looking at an empty container that I was about to toss out.  Upon inspection, I remembered that it took a group of people with ARTISTIC VISION to create the carton's design that we all now take for granted.  Right then, I decided that I was looking at art.  So, I put the empty container on top of my refrigerator.  Then I put another up there and another and another.  Now, I have about fifteen large (empty of course, I eat oatmeal almost everyday) Quaker Oats boxes stacked up in a pyramid shape on top of my fridge.  I think there may also be an empty Brillo box or two around here as well.  Cool.

I really consider it my tribute to Andy Warhol.  It’s unlikely that I’ll ever own an original Warhol piece, but his spirit lives on in my home. 

Also, years ago, I visited a factory in Lockport, New York that makes packaging for food products.  Unfortunately, at the time, the company was going out of business and laying off many people.  The factory housed machinery that resembled printing presses.  The machines would spin out long sheets that would later be detached into many segments and folded into product cartons.  Things like Glad Bags, Cheerios, etc.

At the time, I got an idea and asked for a few samples.  I now have a couple of sheets that I decided to turn into art.  One is packaging for about ten boxes of Triscuit wafers now flat beneath framed glass.  Very cool.  I should've signed my name at the bottom before I took it to my framer, but I didn't.  That's okay, I'm not really an artist anyway.  The other sheet that I have is MilkBone dog biscuits.  I haven't gotten that one framed yet.

Whenever new visitors look at these pieces, they think they’re either cool or weird.  Who cares?  It's art.  It was made by designers ... people with creative insight.  I just decided to pull an "Andy Warhol" and raise it to the level of art in my own home.  By the way, many observers marginalize this art by calling it “kitsch.”  Sure, it’s fun and funny, however, I truly believe that it’s respectable art.  Of course, like beauty, “respectable” is in the eye of the beholder.  Still, no matter how many times I move in the future, all of those empty, worthless oatmeal boxes are coming with me.  You have to keep art alive for yourself.

Hmm … which now has me wondering … maybe I should try to contact Andy in The Great Beyond.  “Hey Andy, do you think I should start saving up all of those empty Campbell's Soup cans?”

Don’t worry.  I haven’t totally lost it.


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