Affordable Art Fair 2010: Even I could afford it

Shroomie by Scott Scheidly
Twenty years ago, when I was a youngish yuppie of sorts, I bought a couple of paintings by Aussie artist Basil Hadley  for about $2500 each. That was the last time I bought a piece of "original" art and they are now gracing the walls of my ex's home in Sydney.  Admittedly they were, shall we say, "decorative" - unchallenging modern landscapes setting off my black leather sofa and seaweed green carpet beautifully.

Since then, pursuing a largely traveling life, I've not been able to collect anything so unportable as art, apart from a very unportable print entitled Sticks and Stones by (Sisters, Oregon) artist Paul Alan Bennett -  currently parked on the wall of a previous beau in Eugene, Oregon! What is this I have with ex's and art I wonder?

But just recently, thanks to the affordable "free look" night at  The Affordable Art Fair in NYC, I bought my first piece of original art, a tiny painting called "Shroomie" by Scott Scheidly, pictured at the top of this post.

You can see how tiny it is in the picture below, partly obscured by Bold Hype gallery co-director James Kellogg, with me brandishing my purchase slip. 

The price? A relatively affordable $150. Yes, I know I could have bought a similar painting on the streets of Soho for $50, but come on, people gotta eat, including the gallery who no doubt paid a princely sum to bring this artist to my attention. In the above shot, you can see another of Scheidly's trippy works peeking out from behind James, priced at around $1000. Most of the works at the fair ranged from $100 to $10,000, so I did indeed buy at the very bottom of the range. So for serious art collectors who might drop multiple millions on a Damien Hirst, $10,000 is probably like buying a rolled up poster with those awful footers brandishing the exhibition details from the MOMA store ...

Surfing around Scheidly's personal site called flounderart, I found the companion "shroom" that sold earlier at the fair:

[oops I have to go find it again]

The eyes on this one evoked a vision of a saguaro cactus with holes drilled by nesting birds...

Scheidly calls himself a "lowbrow" artist, and initially I thought he was using the term in the same way I describe this blog.  A dose of wiki enlightens:

LOWBROW describes an underground visual art movement that arose in the Los Angeles, California, area in the late 1970s ... origins in the underground comix world, punk music, hot-rod street culture, and other subcultures ... often known by the name pop surrealism. Lowbrow art often has a sense of humor - sometimes the humor is gleeful, sometimes impish, and sometimes it's a sarcastic comment.

More surfing around Scheidly's site and I found myself utterly drawn to this surreal number, from an large number of largely SOLD paintings that feature "noseless" women:

An artist friend of mine was quick to offer that, in his opinion, this painting showed a "lack of understanding of anatomy" and that "noseless motif overstays its welcome." Ah, art is so subjective. Ethnically, the noseless one above reminds me of me, right down to the way-too-short, tattered Cherry Lane skirt I can't seem to send off to Goodwill.  I have to say if I had the $700 asking price in my hot little wallet right now I'd probably "add to cart."

Bold Hype is a young Florida gallery specializing in anime, street, tiki-pop, and other forms of non-stuffy art, and recently opened up a location in the home of Chelsea Gallerista: Chelsea, NYC.

"We've sold 75% of the current show, and it still has 10 days to run," said the impossibly young co-director and designer James. "People are really responding to that fact that our artists are affordable, and really different!"

One of the artists I almost sprung for was Dolla, a graffiti king now quite a street celeb in Miami, but who puts a lot of painstaking work into his made-for-gallery-sale work. There were a couple of striking works on the wall for $200 and $300. Pictured right, from his MySpace page, is a nifty painting featuring an integrated matching spray can. The cans alone were selling for $35 at the fair.

"People think his work is just vinyl transfers stuck down, because it looks so clean and precise, but it's layers and layers of spray paint, fastidiously applied," said Kellogg.

I can only imagine some of these artists dream of making it big like Banksy, but for now, we can all afford to hang a little of their young life's work above our IKEA sofas.

Why did I buy Shroomie? It's an obvious magic mushroom reference, and while I'm not into hallucinating beyond my own delusions, the little picture simply made me smile. And not only was it affordable and portable, it is the perfect size for a Manhattan 479 sq ft studio.

A little bio about Scott Scheidly:

Scott Scheidly - Ohio Born. Graduated from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh and moved to Florida, where he currently resides. Scott Scheidly’s work, with its realistic renditions of the surreal, often with pop culture references, is the very definition of "pop-surrealism". Scott's work is regularly shown in galleries on the west coast while represented by Bold Hype Gallery on the east coast. Scott is also well known in the Tiki pop art scene by his pseudonym "Flounder" under which he creates modern Tiki art and designs. - "The truth will set you confused”

Bold Hype Gallery
547 W 27th St, 5th floor
New York, NY 10001
(click here for google map)

Gallery Hours: 12 - 6 PM, Tuesday - Saturday
T. 212 868 2322     F. 212 868 2323

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