Thursday, June 03, 2010

On Velvet

Back when I was in my 20s I was dating an elementary school teacher. Oddly I never enjoyed hanging around with people I worked with, but is seemed our social circle was comprised of all the people she worked with. There was always and event or a party where several of us were found hanging out together. We went to their homes and they came to our homes. We all went places together as friends do.

There was one couple, both teachers, which actually surprised me. When we went to their home it seemed like a normal home on the outside. It was well kept and they had a nice yard and garden but upon entering they wanted to give us a tour of their art collection of which they were genuinely proud. Every room in their home had a velvet painting as its center piece.

I was looking for the catch. I was waiting for them to go into some sort of John Waters kitsch mode, but they were sincere. They absolutely love paintings on velvet. To them it wasn’t hokey at all. They even had their portraits done on velvet and proudly displayed above their bed.

We spent the entire evening there and not a word was mentioned about it all being a big joke. On our way home I asked the woman I was dating if they were real about the velvet paintings. She told me they were very serious collectors. To this day I think of them every time I see velvet, whether or not it has paint on it and I shiver inside.


Blogger Beth said...

Ah, but wouldn’t the world be a dull, boring place if we all possessed the same (superior!) taste in art and all other things? ;)

4:51 AM  
Blogger darev2005 said...

When my daughter went to visit Critter last year she brought me back a couple postcards from the Velveteria there in Portland. I never knew such a place existed. I'd have some just because it's so awful and startling. But then, if I collected art, I'd need several large rooms. My tastes run from the sublime to the ridiculous.

5:13 AM  
Blogger Syd said...

I'm certain that I would have put my foot in my mouth in that situation. Certain.

8:06 AM  
Blogger Joni said...

Although velvet paintings also raise the "ick" factor for me, I do have to admit that back in the 70's when I was still artistic, I actually tried to paint on velvet, and it was VERY HARD! So even though I don't care for it, I do have respect for artists that can manage to do it!

8:58 AM  
Blogger mark said...

Back in the late 70's I saw a portrait of Elvis, Martin Luther King, and JFK on a single piece of velvet; it was for sale on a roadside near Bakersfield, in southern California. If I hadn't been hitchhiking at the time, with about five dollars in my pocket, I would have bought it in a heartbeat.

9:12 AM  
Blogger g said...

When you enter such a setting - RUN, don't walk away.

Of course there are those who listen to rap music.

7:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sadly, the Velveteeria was under appreciated and closed last fall. Another great art institution lost to us.

8:20 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Beth, perhaps we could then have consensus.

Darev, just think of prison art on velvet.

Syd, but that's what we love about you. Speaking of which I haven't seen any TLF stories in a while...

Joni, I can see why. Velvet pushes back.

Mark, I'm sure you can still find it out there somewhere, or you could commission one.

g, and you have never been to a side show...

Anon,I think their collection now resides at the Portland Art Museum.

5:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, they took all the art with them when they moved to California.

7:31 AM  
Blogger g said...

I'm still young...

4:41 PM  

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