For as long as I remember watching commercials on TV, I remember seeing ads for "starving artists" shows coming to Milwaukee. When I was a kid, I thought the artists were literally starving, and I felt badly for them. As I got older, I remainined mildly intrigued with buying a "sofa-sized" painting for no more than $59.
Fortunately, my wife shares my appreciation for kitsch, and while we set our sights incredibly low, we finally took the plunge and attended a starving artists show this weekend at the Brookfield Sheraton Hotel.
I'm glad none of the starving artists were actually on hand -- I imagine they work in a sweat shop in China or Mexico -- because we spent a half hour giggling at the "fine art," and it turns out we weren't alone.
A lot of people actually turned out for the event, and most seemed legitimately impressed with the various paintings of Mediterranean scenes, flower vases and streets of old Paris. A few people, like us, came for the irony of it all -- buying mass-produced, generic art at rock-bottom prices.
Indeed, I thought a lot of the paintings were technically well-done. Most, but not all, were much nicer than what I created when my parents gave me some oil paints and a painting book when I was 9.
But of the hundreds of paintings on display, we ultimately found only three that we could actually imagine buying. Two were pretty, but not distinctive enough to hang in our house without feeling guilty and / or tacky. However, we discovered one abstract and colorful painting that could potentially work in the early '60s-themed rec room that my dad and I are building, and we settled on a 24x36-inch version for a mere $59.
Of course, the paintings come on unframed canvas, so we felt compelled to buy a $49 frame. The traveling staff that almost resembled carnies promptly stapled it together for us. In the end, we dropped $108, plus tax, on a large and ridiculous piece of "modern art."
Now, however, I know what a starving artists sale is all about, and I'm confident that I won't need to return. I'm also sure I'm the owner of a giant painting that will become the center of ridicule by our daughter (when she learns to speak), and I fully expect her to take it to college in 18 years and hang it in her dorm room.
Hey, our starving artist painting might just be her generation's velvet Elvis. That notion, alone, is easily worth $108.
I'm so happy I googled "starving artists Brookfield" and found your article. Definitely will not be attending. Today is my only day off and you just saved it for me. : )
Suppose these art pieces (they are some decent effort in my opinion) are from China, you ought to check out online sites that is at least upfront about this fact, and their prices are 1/3 of what these scalpers are asking for.
Ouch..$108!!! That could have purchased a number of items at an Art vs. Craft Fair where starving artists actually make and sell their work. I understand the kitsch novelty of wanting to go to the event but I would have saved my money for the starving artists right here in Milwaukee. I should know because between MIAD & UWM we have about 200 new starving artists each year, myself being one of them.
4 comments about this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Andy Tarnoff
Published May 21, 2013
Preparing to hang three photos I took in 1997, I noticed something amazing about the second photo that I had never noticed before: the building in the center of the frame is CityCenter. The viewfinder is looking right at our new office suite. When I shot that photo, I had no idea what that building was. It just looked cool.
Published May 17, 2013
I watched the series finale of "The Office" last night, but before I did, I had to blow through the previous five episodes gathering dust on my DVR. In the end, it was worth the night of marathon television, but when I think about the entire final season of "30 Rock," also unwatched on my DVR, I wonder when I'll get around to it.
Published May 15, 2013
Hidden in plain sight is a clothing store you have to see to believe. Frieschskys, 788 N. Jefferson St., isn't actually that special to look at. But when you step out of the elevator on the seventh floor of the nondescript office building, it doesn't take long to realize that something special does await you.
Published May 13, 2013
Plenty is written about baseball's jerks. I've even met some of them. But rarely do people talk about how nice some players are. They may not have been the best players, but if personality counts (which it doesn't), they'd be in the Hall of Fame.
Published May 9, 2013
Shelby Croft was following the playbook for most television reporters. She jumped from market to market, position to position, ultimately serving as a main anchor in Salt Lake. But Croft knew there was something more in life than market size. She moved to Milwaukee to get closer to home. She got married, had a daughter ... then got divorced. A single mom with a high-profile job, Croft's story is an interesting one.
Published May 3, 2013
Last night at about 3 a.m., I woke up to go to the bathroom. I used my phone to light my way, so as soon as my eyes adjusted, I noticed that my mom had sent me a death notice. My friend and neurosurgeon, Dr. Spencer Block - the guy who did my back surgery in 2011 - had died yesterday at age 51.
Published May 3, 2013
The Brewers should've won the game Wednesday, but John Axford blew a two-run lead in the eighth inning. Sitting close to the field, it was the first time I'd seen and heard the vitriol from fans around me. They booed him. A lot.
Published April 29, 2013
It's pretty thrilling to get on stage in front of a live band, facing a cheering audience, putting your personal spin on beloved cover tunes. The idea that you could win $1,000, studio recording time and a gig at Red Rock Saloon is practically gravy, right? The Red Rockstar II competition runs for four weeks in May, kicking off this Wednesday.
Published April 24, 2013
If I was a less verbose writer, I could sum up the 2013 Jaguar XJ in one word: perfection. But that wouldn't make for much of a review, and after a month with the XJ that Fields Jaguar in Waukesha loaned me, I have so much more to say. I'll start with this: if you're the kind of person who can afford to spend $73,000 on a car, and you require something with four seats, this is the car you should buy. Run, don't walk, to Fields Jaguar and buy it. Now.
Published April 24, 2013
This spring, the American Cancer Society is kicking off a massive project to sign up, track and study 300,000 adults for decades, in hopes of curing various types of cancer. It's not the first time the society has undertaken this. Cancer Prevention Study-3 (CPS-3) follows CPS-1 and CPS-2, and the results of the first two programs served to advance cancer knowledge and treatment by leaps and bounds. The Milwaukee goal for CPS-3 is 2,000 people.