The Art of Repurposing
Being the daughter and granddaughter of artists, this subject is one of my nearie-dearies. To me there’s nothing better than the smell of turpentine in the morning. I try, in various spurts of enthusiasm, to step up to my genetic calling, but, satisfied for the moment at being a neophyte, I absolutely revel in cleverness and mastery, and seek it out wherever I roam.
What in the name of Gaudi does this have to do with thrift stores?! Feast your eyes, comrades.
These damn fine artists snatched up some discarded art and gave it new life, proving once again that, with enough creativity and intention, just about anything (things, people, etc.) can be transformed. While the art here might not be up your alley, it surely should get you enthused about repurposing things you find.
Wayne White is a painter, illustrator, director, producer and Emmy award-winning set designer, biographed by Todd Oldham in the book “Maybe Now I’ll Get The Respect I So Richly Deserve.”
His work is shown and collected in galleries and museums the world over (I first saw him at Fred 62, one of the hippest stops in L.A.). His recent work features lithographs of pre-existing mid-century landscapes festooned with White’s nod to the power of the written word.
White’s work is featured here courtesy of the Marty Walker Gallery, gracious folks who found my thrift store angle a bit of a hoot. Goes to show you – in the words of The Elegant Thrifter, “Isn’t it funny how inspiration almost always comes unexpectedly? Almost never when you’re looking.”
Tim Elliott: Thrifty Artist On the Move!
Speaking of inspiration – Tim Elliott is a young painter and designer living and working in my hometown of Norman, Oklahoma, who never heard of Wayne White prior to our conversation today. While having a strong mug of joe in the midcentury oasis of Gray Owl Coffee (Elliott also designed their logo), I spied (and photographed) a few of Elliott’s pieces. Though I missed out on buying one (he sold all 15 of the original series and has dozens of commissions), I immediately fell for his frivolity and overall vibe.
I tracked Elliott down in Norman and spoke with him about his inspiration and process. Turns out he’s a hardcore vintage and thrift store afficionado – he makes his own clothing out of vintage patterns and fabrics he finds in thrift stores, and finds his canvases in thrift stores, estate sales, flea markets and garage sales.
“I’m just real into the ‘70’s style, and always have been. Those old ‘70s Bob Ross-style paintings have really pretty colors and they end up in thrift stores and it’s real sad. I think they’re really pretty, and I want to do something that will make people want to look at them again. I like to make people smile.”
Tim doesn’t (yet) have a website, but has strong word of mouth that allows him to sell his art and design services (wedding invitations, band posters, boutique logos). He’s a rising star in the art and design world, and a hero to me as a thrift store connoisseur. He also designed the cover art for the album of a great Norman band, The Work Week – their single “Oh Me, Oh My,” is languidly catchy and worth checking out!
If you have a canvas you’d like to see given the Elliot approach, contact him at email@example.com. Or really. Someone give this guy a book deal!
As always, thank you for being a TSC Reader!
Over & out for now,