While driving upstate to the NYFA follow-up session at Golden Artist Colors on Saturday (which, while a good experience that I will soon address, is not what this particular post is about) I passed Man Cave Antiques. Old signs piled up around the entrance and a tired-looking truck parked out front. I vowed to stop there on my way back. I entered to a roomful of more signs, mirrored or metal, old bottles and glasses, some faux-vintage which makes me shudder, and a friendly owner who, once I mentioned I liked painting some of this stuff, engaged me in a conversation about the inconsistencies of art pricing. "Take this one," he said, pulling out a ludicrous Renoir copy. "I know a guy who..." he began, as I nodded and shrugged, nearly straight-faced.
I wandered outside and after asking permission, took a few photos. We talked about rust. "Rust is a must," he said, and then his brother came by and repeated the line, so it might have been a motto for their collection. "That was our first sign," he said fondly, pointing out a tattered Quaker Oil. He said he was in baseball (this was near Cooperstown) but happened into this everything-you-need-to-furnish-your man-cave business. I used to think the term man-cave was pejorative, but it is clearly as legitimate as 'kitchen' or 'living room'.
Today I did a painting of an ice cream sign I found there, on a square canvas shaped like a box (3" deep) that someone gave me 4 years ago and I never knew what to do with it. I'd had the vague idea that I would paint it to look like an actual object, and even though the sign was flat, it kind of looks now like you could open it up and dig in your spoon. If this frozen dessert thing seems like a preoccupation, it is, but let's call it a 'theme' of my work rather than a curious fixation. Then it is art.