Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The art of art

What I know about art couldn't fill a thimble. In fact, after filling that thimble you'd still have plenty of room for a big fat Lou Ferrigno-sized thumb.

But after years in the ad business and paling around with art directors, some of their visual acuity must have rubbed off.

Here's why.

Several weeks ago, my wife and I were out shopping for bedroom furniture. We're now in the third year of this five year process. We entered a small shop by the old Helms Bakery, which is now Furniture Central for those affluent enough to live in West Los Angeles. And smart enough not to shop on LaBrea or Melrose.

We didn't find anything we could agree on, but we both gravitated to some artwork we spotted on the walls. With my wife's birthday approaching I thought one of those pieces might make a perfect gift. So I returned to the store, solo, a week later. The store was gone. As in vanished, gone.They couldn't drum up the traffic to sustain the costly retail space.

So I went online and did some digging. I found one of their other locations and tracked down the name of the artist. With a little more research I found his website. And discovered that he lived in nearby Mar Vista.

E-mails were exchanged and before I knew it I was shaking hands with Sean Finocchio, who had graciously invited me to his garage to go through his work.

I selected three of the smaller pieces and think they look great (see above).
Everybody who has been to the house since the prints went up has agreed.

By the way, this was not the first art excursion I've ever made. Years ago, while walking on the boardwalk I spotted some interesting work done by a South African artist who does some three-dimensional pieces. He was charming as well and invited me back to his shabby Venice studio. I bought up some of his work.

I told Sean the story and he immediately snapped, "Fortune? Was the art done by a guy named Fortune?"

It was.
And it turns out he moved to Oakland and now hangs with a more elite class of art buyers, including Queen Latifah.

I'm guessing that the Fortune Sitiole work I now have in my possession is worth considerably more than what I scraped out of my beach short pockets years ago.

With any luck and a little promotion on my part, so will Sean's work.

One more thing. The next time an art director tells me I don't know what I'm talking about, I'm going to suggest otherwise.

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