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My Own Museum

Well, nothing says “Time to write your first blog,” like being home sick from work on a rainy day. Staring at my walls, which are covered by works of all types, waiting for Ellen DeGeneres to come on, I’m uber-inspired to tell you about my very own museum I live in.

A lot of times when people find out I work at the IMA they assume I have an art background or have at least taken one Art History class. This is, in fact, not true. I do remember making a paper mache’ fish when at the IMA in the summer when I was about 7, at some of our Summer Art classes.

I began collecting art about 6 years ago when I got out of college and didn’t know what to do with all my free time now that I was in the “real world.” I started going to Goodwill, garage sales, thrift stores, and other places I could actually afford and started picking up art that makes me smile. It doesn’t mean I’m not a great art collector, it means I’m a treasure hunter. After all, how great is it that you can find treasures anywhere, like IMA’s new collection of Weegee photos that a couple of ladies found in a trunk at a Kentucky yard sale?

People also ask what my favorite kind of art is and if you walked into my house you’d realize it’s an eclectic mix, similar to my movie collection, my taste in music – heck, even my friends. Right inside the front door, before you head up the stairs, is a canvas reproduction on “American Gothic.”

I really love that you don’t have to just have posters anymore to see your favorite reproductions. It’s more affordable – and more fun – to do a little creative searching and find works on canvas, or pick up works at art fairs, even if you can only buy their work on greeting cards to start with.

In one corner of my living room, I have two posters I’ve framed, four portraits that I bought from the IMA’s former Better Than New Shop, and an embroidered “Be Happy” piece I bought at Goodwill because it was colorful and obviously had a positive message.

On the bookcase in that corner are housed hundreds upon hundreds of pictures I’ve placed in photo albums, being as that I’m an amateur photographer in my own mind. (Basically I’ve captured all the moments that prevent me and most of my friends from ever running for public office.) There’s also a framed photo of my Grandpa Ray, who has a piece in my collection as well. When he passed away the one thing I wanted from his house was a small “sculpture” he had on top of his TV of a dog chasing a raccoon up a branch, although my witty grandpa painted the dog to look like a beagle, which he raised as hunting dogs. It sits on top of my TV stand now reminding me of his humor and the pencil sketches of owls and funny cowboys he’d draw for me.

Perhaps Craig Miller wants to talk to me about Design? Well, okay so maybe I just assembled the entertainment center I bought at Wal-Mart, but our Exhibits guys might be surprised to learn I’m pretty handy with a hammer and a glue gun. I did, however, come up with this clever use of cd covers to display my crazy taste in music and art, and these are a great conversation piece.

Also on top of this elaborate entertainment center sits Madamoo Foo Foo. She’s a sculpture I bought from a fabulous gay couple when I was out treasure hunting one day, and they insisted if I bought her I keep her given name. Deal.

I will also beat you to it and poke fun at myself for the YouTube video the Nugget Factory made of me before I lost a bit of weight and found my real identity at the museum, when I said “I like this whole wall!” like a 4 year old child for my family and boyfriend to now constantly tease me about.

I created a whole wall of things I love that you see as soon as you walk in my front door, which includes “Boy in Blue” by Modigliani, which is in the IMA’s permanent collection.

One day I decided to name him Jasper, and it’s made me smile ever since. Then there are my Van Gogh classics, as well as a very special picture made by my mother when she was in high school and still an artist known as Judy Ray.

I love it. In my spare room I have my most “vintage” piece, a work my father bought at Penrod, on the IMA’s campus, in 1973. Fantastic.

Perhaps my strangest works featured together, maybe because I can’t seem to get it just right, is in my bedroom. Yes, I’m allowing you in to see where some type of magic supposedly happens. Above my bed hangs an old Stone Temple Pilots poster I had framed back in high school, along with my most expensive piece of artwork, a lithograph from the artist Sunol Alvar.

My parent’s house is full of Alvar that I plan to inherit someday, and this was a Christmas gift from them 2 years ago. She has moved around in my room but I found on this wall I can see her as soon as I wake up, and it makes me happy. Please excuse the folded clothes in the picture as it was laundry day, but look Ma, I made my bed.

My office is full of toys and wonders as well, featuring an “Office Sweet Office” poster that looks embroidered as an homage to Home Sweet Home. One of my coworkers said last week “I wonder what it’s like to live in your head for a day.” Now you know what it’s like to live in my own museum. What kind of artwork do you display in your home that tells your story?

Filed under: Art, Musings

3 Responses to “My Own Museum”

  • avatar
    Liz Says:

    Your CD cover collage reminds me of the album covers I have framed on my walls. Eric Clapton’s “Layla” and The Beatles’ “Abbey Road” are two records featured in my living room.

    I’d love to steal your CD cover idea becuase I’ve spent far too much money on music to have the ole’ booklets go to waste – very creative!

  • avatar
    irvin Says:

    Excellent entry Amber. I bought some Dolly albums just for their decorative potential. I’ve always had a thing about van Gogh too, the thick paint and brush strokes. And the ear. Always the ear.

  • avatar
    Gail Patrick Says:

    Gosh! I remember a local artist by the name of Judy Ray. Was her dad an avid hunter? :)

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