Sunday, April 27, 2008


There's this painting that I've had for what feels like forever. Like all pieces of art, this one has a good story behind it.

Back in the summer of 2005, my friend Genevee and I went to the Riverside Art Museum to check it out. Neither one of us had ever been there before. I immediately fell in love with a painting by Gegam Kacherian that was in the front lobby. It was so gorgeous! See for yourself:

I loved it so much I considered throwing down my credit card to buy it. But I didn't. (And I won't lie - sometimes I wish I would have.)

After checking out the downstairs part of the museum, Genevee and I made the trek upstairs, and it was there I noticed a very interesting exhibit called Childish Things. Here are a few of the pictures we saw:

I was totally intrigued by this collection. Some of the pictures made us laugh; some made us cringe and feel uncomfortable. I was pretty impressed with the whole exhibit. (And yes, those are toys. So wonderfully strange, indeed.)

We went back downstairs and made our way even further downward into this single room filled with all kinds of pieces of original art sitting up against the walls. I found out that these were for a silent auction to be taking place the next weekend. I found one piece called "Firebird" that I thought was beautiful, and I told myself I would come back.

Interestingly enough, I also found out that the creators of "Childish Things" were going to be at the museum the same night as the silent auction, as there was some kind of gala planned. I found a copy of the book version of Childish Things in the museum gift store and snatched up a copy. I already knew that I would be back for the silent auction and gala.

Fast forward to the weekend, and Roy and I showed up at the museum. There was lots of schmoozing going on, which was totally gag-worthy. I think we caught a glimpse of Davis & Davis, the creators of "Childish Things," but they were surrounded. So we didn't get a chance to talk to them.

I did, however, go bid on "Firebird" once the auction started. I was soon outbid by a small amount, and I felt defeated. Roy and I decided to leave, and in typical Leslie fashion, as soon as we were out the door I began second-guessing my decision to not bid on the painting again. We had walked all the way down the street and gotten in my car when I decided to go back and bid again. We hauled ass back to the museum - Roy dropped me off and I ran back inside and bid on "Firebird" again with about two minutes to go.

And I won! (I think I won it for $150.) I came back to the museum later on that week and picked up my painting. Roy and I immediately took it to Aaron Brothers and quickly found out that it was going to cost more to frame it than I actually paid for it. Discouraged and not wanting to throw down the money, we stashed it in the closet to be framed in the future.

Warning! Here comes a long tangent.

Soon after this whole experience, I started graduate school. I took a class called The Western Rhetorical Tradition my first quarter. Our entire grade was based on our final paper on something rhetoric-related. One day I had a rare stroke of genius and ended up writing my best paper ever (still, to this day) on the "Childish Things" book and exhibit. My class loved it. Hell, even I loved it! Later on that year I submitted an abstract on my "Childish Things" paper to a local graduate conference, and it was accepted. I began putting together a power point presentation of some of the images, and then I felt like I should email the artists (who are a husband and wife team) to make sure they were okay with my using their images.

So I emailed them, and they responded back, giving me their blessing. They asked if they could read my paper, and once they read it, they responded back with high praise for the work I'd put into it. We exchanged a few more words, and a few weeks later, I went to the conference and presented my paper.

I was really shocked when I was approached by one of the artists of "Childish Things" after presenting. It was so awesome that he took the time to drive out here. He even signed my copy of their book, and we went out to lunch. It was so cool.

End tangent.

Anyway, we finally got "Firebird" framed - almost three years later. We picked it up last weekend, and it looks so beautiful. Already it contains so much history. Here's a detail shot of it:

So that's the end of my long, drawn-out story. Man, I'm really long-winded. I try to be economical with my words, but for some reason, I'm all about back story. So there you go: here's more than you ever wanted to know about my love for art. I have managed to avoid doing homework in favor of writing this post though, so I consider this post an absolute necessity.


WeezerMonkey said...

So cool re your "Childish Things" experience!

dapotato said...

love the story and tangent re: the work. art is so personal, and i love that you told us the back story.

Anonymous said...

Yay! Glad ou finally got it framed! :)


amber said...

the painting is beautiful. i'm sure you're stoked to finally have it framed and be able to enjoy it on a regular basis.

also, that is such a great story about "childish things." i'm sitting at my desk totally smiling for you :D

sherthebear said...

what a great story. How cool of the artists to come and here your presentation!

Discombobulated said...

I would love to see/read your Childish Things presentation. It sounds very interesting.