Art and Thrifting {Or, the Art of Thrifting}

Art and Thrifting {Or, the Art of Thrifting}
Cover of "The Artist's Way: Spiritual Pat...
Cover via Amazon

I’m currently reading The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, and one of the techniques she recommends for getting in touch with your inner artist is to take yourself on an “Artist’s Date” (Thank you, Tara).   So, I complied by immediately going on Goldstar and purchasing a half-price ticket to see the Fisher Collection at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.  While, this may appear on the surface to have absolutely nothing to do with thrifting, mind you, I do believe that there is a link between art and thrifting.  Thrifting to me is a creative pursuit, and therefore, an art form, so if nothing else, seeing and appreciating the visual arts can hone your aesthetic and, therefore, make you a better thrifter.

And, I think that visiting a really great thrift store should quality as an “artist’s date” because I often find pieces that I think are very artful and would qualify as art.  And, then, there’s always the actual art that ends up at a thrift store.

Here are a couple of my favorite pieces of art from the Fisher collection:

Tattoos and Shadows

The above piece is from 2000 by Jeff Wall and is silver dye bleach transparency in an aluminum light box.  When Greg (the hubby) saw it he thought it was a photo of some new friends I had made, which made some sense given the presence of the vintage ice-cream parlor chair that the artist likely found in a thrift store.

Triple Elvis

This Warhol piece, Triple Elvis” is from 1963.  A personal confession here: my first crush was Elvis. It was when I heard his voice singing on the radio during a cross-country trip with my parents in our turquoise blue Oldsmobile Cutlass that I recall my first stirrings.  So, this is my homage to the King.

Valley Streets, 1968

This oil on canvas painting by Wayne Thiebaud was described as taking its inspiration from the San Francisco neighborhood of Bernal Heights.

Stadtbild Madrid

The city planner part of me liked this black and white city scene of Madrid from 1968 by Gerard Richter.

Life/Death/Knows Doesn’t Know

The neat thing about this 1983 neon tube piece by Bruce Nauman is that each of the words and phrases light up individually on a timer, but the moment I took the photo, they all lit up at once.  Magical.

The SFMOMA is going to be building an entirely new wing to hold all 1,100 pieces of the Fisher Collection, but this exhibit is a nice glimpse into the pieces that the founders of the Gap have collected over many years.  It’s a nice way to spend a few hours, and even nicer if you follow it up with a slice of Mondrian Cake and a little sip at the rooftop cafe on the 5th floor of the museum.

Slice of Mondrian Cake

This cake design was inspired by an actual Mondrian, similar to the one below that is in the museum’s permanent collection.

An Actual Mondrian

And, lastly, here is a photo I took from the rooftop garden, at the end of an inspiring afternoon…

Rooftop Garden

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  1. Wonderful and inspiring. Makes me want to push up from my desk, grab a cup of coffee and go treasure hunting at Thrift Town. “…not her real religion” hilarious. Looking forward to many, many more.

    1. Hi Rudy:

      Thank you for your nice note. Thrift Town is one of my favorite thrift stores (with multiple Bay Area locations). I will be including that in my Bay Area Thrift Store Directory in a future post.

      Happy Thrifting!

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