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What's so fine about art? My tale from the Ginger Fox Gallery

29 May 2013

Editor's Note: My title here refers to a lyric from an Old 97's song, which I also got to enjoy this weekend at their show in Arlington.

When I think "twenty something female impulse shopper," I conjure images of arms filled with glossy shopping bags, walking around an open air mall. My shopping addiction, however, is not of the fashion kind. Unlike some young women my age, I get the big money signs in my eyes when I see a piece of art that I love.

When I see a piece of art that I love, it just clicks and, although I had no idea it existed moments before, I know that I have to have it. Knowing it is out in the universe and not with me will mean a life less full and lived. I've been this way with art a few times in the past few years. One time I held at art auction to benefit Darfur Peace and Development and saw a piece towards the very end, a watercolor of an octopus, that I knew I should have bid on. I talked about it so much for the past few months that Markus finally comissioned the artist, Corbett Sparks, to make an exact replica of the original for me for my birthday. It still makes me so happy every time I see that lumpy, orange octopus spread out across the top of our television! Why I needed that octopus so badly, I'll never be able to explain, but I luff him.

After a year or so of an art dry spell, I casually walked into a Ginger Fox Gallery in the Bishop Arts District a few weeks ago and got hit by the same feeling.

I thought I was kind of over a lot of the galleries in Dallas for where I am in my ability to buy art (as in what is comfortably in my price range is more craft and then there is a massie jump to the really good galleries here that are great to visit but way, way out of what I can afford). Ginger Fox Gallery is my new Goldilocks gallery - as in just right as far as me finding the art to be innovative while also able to find pieces I can invest in.

When I was first walking through the district, this piece was hanging in the window and drew me in. For someone who is as into color as I am, I was surprised to see how much I loved the subtle variation and texture of this collection of yard sticks put together in such a unique way.

I learned the artist is Ted Cantrell, a North Texas native who started making art recently and loves using recycled materials in his work.

I posted this one below made from free pencils to my Instagram account as was excited to see that my friends were just as in love as I was!

Then there is the one that really got my attention: the perfect meeting of my love for Dallas, repurposing and color. This piece is made from matchbooks that Dallas restaurants and bars used for marketing in the 1970s - 90s.

I am very proud to announce (though my bank account may disagree with me for the next week or two) that after a few weeks of talking about this fine piece of art at the breakfast table and staring at my photos that I took on my phone, Markus and I went down to Ginger Fox Gallery on Friday, and I made my first art purchase from a gallery!

The owners of Ginger Fox Gallery really went out of their way to help me know that this is a purchase that will forever be special to me. They are artists themselves, keep great relationships with the people they represent (when I bought Ted's piece they asked if I wanted to text him together!) and make similarly personable and strong relationships with their customers. I know that the next time I find a space on my wall or bump in my budget that I want to fill with a new piece of art, I will be going here first.

And as a note to anyone thinking you're not hoity toity (offical art jargon) enough to invest in someone else's talents while beautifying your home - we had crazy spurts of rain this weekend. Friday I walked into the gallery almost soaked to the bone from a sudden downpour as I was walking in, and Saturday I was a hot mess from literally chainsawing down a tree in the rain (I had paid for one hour of tool rental from Home Depot so I couldn't wait for the bad weather to clear!) before deciding to go pick up my new art, and I was treated like royalty here! Here is my scrapbook photo from Saturday night:

Since my parents lived their twenties in Dallas before they were married and had me, spent many parental date night out about town while I was growing up and, of course, raised me to be a good Dallas girl into the unique restaurant and bar scene of our fine city, I recognized the mass majority of the matchbooks, even though many of these fine establishments no longer open their doors today. My mom has told me that the cool thing was to collect your matchbooks and have them in big fish bowls around your house. Maybe that is where Mr. Cantrell stored his before turning them into art?

People who came over this weekend took their time staring it up and down, pointing to different places they loved or used to haunt. Every time I look at it I see a new matchbook. I am obsessed!

Ex(c)iting by Ted Cantrell is happy and settled at our house, very appropriately hung over our bar cart! It will be hard to top the good feeling of this impulse buy anytime soon, but I am sure I will think of something...

What is the one thing that we you see it and love it, you gotta have it?

Have you ever bought art from a gallery before? What kind of art is the most meaningful to you?


  1. I Love it! I had a huge jar of match books when I was a kid but we finally threw it away when we moved. Who knew it could have become art.

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