Thursday, June 24, 2010

estate sale excavation

when making art, i often think of it as a process of digging. of excavation and chance discoveries. a drip of ink, a smear of paint, the flick of my paint brush. digging through my bins of found material. i make collages and then transform them with color. it's a very random way to express myself, but i like how organic, unplanned it is.

it's similar to going into an estate sale. my sister and i both love going to estate sales in san francisco. i enter a home with no idea really what i will find. it's almost a little voyeuristic to be going into someone's home, possibly soon after a death, but the artist in me marvels at how decades past can be preserved in someone's home.

the most recent one i went to was in the west portal area, which is a middle class residential neighborhood, close to the sunset district. west portal is kind of stuck in a time warp, especially on the main street of the neighborhood, west portal avenue, with mom and pop shops, restuarants, and other small businesses. not too many chains except for a walgreens, starbucks and a noah's bagels. there's a movie theatre, a very girly gift shop and an independent bookstore.

i climbed up a hill to get to 280 dorantes ave. the neighborhood is quiet, with proper little lawns and actual spaces between houses. the leaves fallen to the ground. when i go into the garage, the stale air overwhelms me.


i don't really see much of interest so i go up the stairs into the house. i am greeted with a song playing on a record player. stacks and stacks of old books. they are everywhere, and the shapes combine together so it looks like an abstraction, an installation almost. i also see a boy scout's sash, stained with age. it makes me think of Russell, the adorable boy from Pixar's Up. One of my favorite movies now. i flick through a bunch of the books hoping for handwritten ephemera. i find books on spanish, french. old maps and tattered novels. a red hardbound volume of Shakespeare. luckily i do find a college blue book, an essay written by Norma on Hobbes and Locke. Philosophy at UC Berkeley. She got an A-, by the way.

the first aid box caught my eye. it was sitting low and unobstrusive, stained with dust. boxes make me think of joseph cornell, butterflies pinned and framed, the tin box from amelie. boxes can be places of discovery so i nudge it open and there are piles and piles of keys - car keys, a skeleton key, keys tagged with little tags about their location, a leather pouch toughened and cracking, so many keys!


i like to imagine what places these keys used to open. i started counting how many keys are in this sturdy box and then gave up because there are so many.




katilady said...

ahhh, keys! you must've been in heaven!

catwrangler said...

Maybe the person was a thief!