I’ve temporarily reached my saturation point for visual arts. Friday we did the Phoenix art-walk; Saturday, we checked out Jerome, a mining boom town-turned ghost town-turned hippie artist hang out- turned Sausalito-esque gallery tourist trap. Then we headed over Mingus Mountain to Prescott. Today was church and Superbowl festivities. Usually we just stay home or hike in the park behind our condo.
Our Friday night date got off to an exciting start when the guy at the gas pump next to us guzzled an entire beer while his tank was filling. Dr. G. was in the store and I was trying not to make eye contact. I’m not totally sure it was a beer, but it was definitely a dark glass bottle. And the guy was making occasional dry-heave noises and trying to get my attention. Some cops pulled up in the parking lot, and I reported him before we drove away. I felt like a tattletale. What if it was just fancy rootbeer? But I figured I’d better err on the side of caution. Maybe he needed help or maybe he would have accidentally killed someone.
The arts scene in Phoenix is of the down-at-the-heels, trying-really-hard variety. There are a lot of people in ripped tights and spiked dog collars hanging around. I’m always startled by the variety of creative visions and their execution. My favorite show was textile art– quilting with various natural elements incorporated into the stitching: cicada husks, eggshells, bird beaks, beetles, hair. Wow. Visual arts tend to inspire my poetry more than literature or music, and after a few hours of wandering in and out of galleries and studios I felt wired and expansive. And sad. There’s a lot of loneliness and alienation in the world and it tends to show itself in art.
Jerome was more upscale and crafts-based. There was one whole store devoted to fancy kaleidoscopes, and I got dizzy on fake flowers and glass cabochons twirling beneath my gaze. I got dizzy from the town, which zigzags up the face of a mountain; there are views of the red rocks from almost every building, and we were up high enough to be in the snow and pines. Nice!
One bad thing about seeing lots of beautiful ceramic dishes and funky handmade furniture is that it makes me unhappy with what I’ve got. Granted, our furniture is still 90% low-end, beat-up Ikea stuff, but I do love nice, interesting things. I wish I could afford to support artists and craftspeople more. there are just too many other things that are a priority. I’d love to have a big meandering house where one space is devoted to artwork related to doors and windows; another space devoted to the natural world; and a third devoted to non-representational art. And of course someone else to come and clean it.