I have a lot of favorite artists. I credit my brother, Jeremy Bangs, also an artist, for introducing me to classical art at a very young age both here in Kansas City and as we were traveling in Europe. When I visited him in Holland at age 16, I became familiar with Arthur Rackham and also William Morris . I started paying greater attention to illustrators, especially children’s book illustrators. I was lucky to be raised in a “golden age” of children’s literature. This designation doesn’t just give a label to the written work, but to the illustrations as well. Some of these artists feel like best friends to me, because their work still strikes me with amazement every time I see it.
I have a comparatively large collection of original art here in my house. Not huge like a wealthy art collector always searching for something special to add to a list, but it’s still a collection. These are things that came easily to me. My own works hang on the walls, but I also hang many of my brother’s works.
I also have paintings done by my ancestors, and things I inherited from my parents. Most of what I have are originals. But I also collect those children’s books with the great illustrations and some prints from museums. Having all this around me comes under the category of what I “believe to be beautiful.” I’m very grateful that the concept of art appreciation was instilled in me at such a young age, that I’ve always been surrounded by artists, and that I have a lot of extra beauty and creativity in my life as a result.
If a stranger came in to my place, they would probably be amazed at the amount of “stuff” that I have all around me. I’ve always done my decorating with the idea that what I want to look at, and what makes me feel good, has to be visible or easily at hand. Sometimes I’ll rotate various craft projects in and out of storage, but if it is something I “know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful” it’s right out where I can see it and get my hands on it. To an outsider, it might look like clutter, but that’s just because of the size of my current apartment. I discard things occasionally, but only with William Morris’s quote in mind.
Perhaps later I’ll show you some of the art hanging here in my house, but for now, here are more of the decorations I’ve been drawing recently.
I do have one favorite artist whose work I don’t yet own, Jennifer Cavan. I’m planning to ask her to do a commission for me when I can see my way clear to pay for it. I first saw her paintings at a gallery in Bernalillo, New Mexico.
Do you collect original art work? Where do you find your favorites?