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Charley Harper

J and I went to a modern show in Cincinnati a couple of years ago where we introduced to the art of Charley Harper.  We were both immediately drawn to his work but the prices were really steep on the pieces at the show. We admired the work, drooled at little and then went home.  Later that year, Pam from Retro Renovation ran a story about Charley Harper posters still available from the US Printing Office, no tax, no shipping.  I showed the story to J and we both liked the art, but still not enough to buy it, mainly because we didn’t think we had anywhere to put more art.  Fast forward to a week ago when we were discussing J’s studio dilemma.  Jennifer from Brave New Home suggested integrating the studio,  rather than trying to hide it, by adding art, etc.  We had been thinking along those lines ourselves, so we finally made a Charley Harper purchase.  J chose “Canyon Country”, which is really nice.


This poster is huge – 29 x 39 – and only cost $17.00 from the US Printing Office.  The paper is very thick, not like regular poster paper.  It’s an extremely nice print, especially for the price.  I’m seeing this exact same poster selling online for between $40 and $50 for the print alone, so if you are interested in some Charley Harper art, check Pam’s story on Retro Renovation first for all the links.  If I had more room, I’d buy more prints, that’s for sure.

Charley Harper’s work pops-up in the most amazing mid-century modern homes, like this one featured in the new “Atomic Ranch Midcentury Interiors” book, which I managed to snag from the library (serious eye candy!!). In addition to loving his work, it seems that our house really wants Harper’s work hanging on its walls and we are happy to oblige.  He described his work as “minimal realism”, which I think is apt.  Charley Harper said “When I look at a wildlife or nature subject, I don’t see the feathers in the wings, I just count the wings. I see exciting shapes, color combinations,patterns, textures, fascinating behavior and endless possibilities for making interesting pictures. I regard the picture as an ecosystem in which all the elements are interrelated, interdependent, perfectly balanced, without trimming or unutilized parts; and herein lies the lure of painting; in a world of chaos, the picture is one small rectangle in which the artist can create an ordered universe.”  Maybe I like his work because I like the idea of an ordered universe, which is so far from reality.  J probably likes it because of it’s graphic orderliness.  I find that the things he likes the most tend to be graphically balanced, partly because of his schooling, I’m sure, and partly because of his ordered sensibilities.

We’ve made a lot of art purchases over the last couple of months and I love each piece.  They have been carefully selected and are pieces that we both like, although our art buying is coming to a close because we really are running out of space now.

We found a spot for our Shag art.DSC01572

As part of the January Cure 2013, I’ve also hung the Norman Rockwell print we purchased at the DAI last year during a traveling exhibit.DSC01657

Admittedly, this one is more me than J, but it makes me ridiculously happy every time I look at it.

Going and Coming 2

Now we need to procure a very large frame for our Harper print.  I’m thinking of going with a satin gold finish, since this piece is going to balance the large orange bird painting we have hanging near our table.DSC00992

drawImage  Or, possibly black? drawImage

I’ll have to think about that some more and let you know what I come up with.  In the meantime, I feel satisfied to know that I have completed at least step one of “Operation Integrate the Studio”.

What about you?  What artists have you been crushing on lately?


About sugarshellandbutterknife

I am a work-at-home mother of two, daughter K who is 16 and son N who is 12. I live in a 1956 mid-mod ranch with my children and the love of my life, J. We're slowly renovating our house on a budget and love all things DIY. I hope to make this a place where frugal-minded folks like myself can exchange ideas, gain inspiration and find encouragement to tackle whatever life throws our way.

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