Let me start off by saying this, I love art.
I’m a designer, photographer, I took extra art history classes that weren’t required in college, my favorite thing in Chicago is to go see my old friends Van Gogh and Seurat who come alive every time I see their paintings, I buy custom drawings every time I go to a comic-con (my love for these will be subject of a dedicated blog when con-season comes around again) from artists even if I had never heard of them before, but I can’t afford the masterpieces I see around town at the monthly trolley hops. Once a week I tour a Louisville home along with contributing writer Steve Kaufman for our “Home of the Week” section. I get to take photographs inside and out of some of the most beautiful homes around town and I often hear stories about art they acquired at the St. James Court Art Show. I had been a couple times in years past but I normally never make time to go since, let’s be real, I enjoy being lazy during the weekends and the parking in Old Louisville can be a pain in the ass.
This past Sunday I eventually grew tired of laying around my house watching T.V. and decided to get out and go buy some art. I was on a mission to find something hand-made and unlike anything that anyone else had. I started sending texts and making calls to find a companion but low and behold, everyone that was interested had already gone the previous day or didn’t feel up to making the journey a couple miles to Old Louisville where 750 vendors occupied sidewalks in a part of Louisville that has the second most Victorian homes in the country. Since my excitement to get off the couch outweighed my fear of going to an art festival alone, I put on my shoes and locked my door behind me.
I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I secretly love solo-adventures. Some of my most memorable moments have come from random acts of just going and doing something. Whether it be driving aimlessly through Pittsburgh, ending up at their Carnegie Museums or going to The Nerdist Podcast in San Diego where I ended up meeting my favorite T.V. stars Matt Smith and Karen Gillan (Doctor Who) and spending my evening with two lovely Canadian girls, eating burritos on the stoop of bank across the street from the venue.
I started driving from my shotgun house in Germantown towards Old Louisville when I saw a TARC bus with the L.E.D. sign displaying the words “St. James Art Show” coming to a stop across the street. I immediately pulled over and ran to the bus, catching it as it was about to pull off and took the couple mile ride to one of the starts or ends of the festival, depending on which end you yourself came in at.
After admiring art in so many different formats over the past 14 months of photographing Louisville homes, I was bent on finding some unique pieces that I could too share a story with the next time someone asks me about it. So I took off walking through the sea of people, glancing in to every booth up one side and down the next. The first thing that caught my eye after spending $5 on an overpriced lemonade was a booth that sold custom hardwood lockboxes with doors made out of real cast bronze mailbox fronts from between 1890 and the late 1960′s.
My recent love for antiques has also grown after touring homes where I get to hear stories about furniture and heirlooms being passed along through the generations to the current owners. The only thing that I have even close to a family heirloom is a set of pots and pans that were given to me when my mother bought new ones. Not exactly a story worth sharing. (I’m sure I’ll be convinced to edit this portion after my mother reads this post and reminds me of a long lost thing that was given to me at some point and has since been forgotten about) The other inspiration for my love of antiques is due to my recent addiction to the History Channel show “American Pickers” where pickers Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz drive around the country and dig through people’s junk to find things worth selling at Antique Archaeology, Wolfe’s stores in IA and TN.
I finally settled on a box that happened to be their oldest at 121 years old. Inside the lock and key box was a copied page from a book on old mailboxes that told the specific details on this type of mailbox front. This one in particular is circa 1890, made out of cast bronze and still held in place the original beveled glass and mailbox number. The box set me back $110 which I considered well worth it for a piece of American history attached to a beautiful handmade box. Finally something that I can one day pass down to someone else.
After making that purchase I continued on, at this point trying to meet up with my friend Emily who was also among the thousands of people in attendance that I never did find in the crowd. The next booth that caught my eye was a magical white tent that sold custom puppets. For a base price of $200 for the puppet and additional costs for the clothes and accessories, The Puppet Artists will send you back a custom puppet based on a photograph you supply to them in 6-8 weeks. While I don’t have $300 to spend on a custom puppet now, hopefully someday I’ll own one of these that bare my own floppy hair, long face and Three Musketeer-esque facial hair. I mean really, how cool would it be to have your own puppet-you?
My next purchase came in the form of a baked clay painting. When I first walked by, what caught my eye was a plate that was covered in old 50s style robots, all speaking in what I can only imagine sounds like a robot would and chasing each other around the plate. After seeing the price tag I turned around and saw the piece that I bought, a bear saying the phrase “I like cheese” in a word bubble. I spoke with the artist when checking out and he said that the bear is based on the 2007 design he made for the art show that sported the same bear. When he painted this piece he wondered what the bear was saying in the original design, it turned out to be “I like cheese”.
After spending $110 on the lockbox, $35 on the clay painting and growing tired of walking for two hours, I decided to call it a day until next year. While I was done with buying art, my stomach convinced me not to leave until I bought myself one of those gyros towards where I entered that smelled so delicious. No matter how you pronounce this lamb treat, with its tender meat wrapped in a warm pita and smothered with a delectable Greek style yogurt, just know this – it’s really f*cking good. I handed my $6 to the lady at the register and stepped to the side to wait for my gyro and couldn’t stop wondering where I knew the cash lady from. After a few moments it hit me that it was none other than the first lady of Louisville, Dr. Alex Gerassimides. Knowing that she comes from a Greek heritage it makes sense that she would have some relation to a Greek food station. I met the then Mayor-Elect Greg Fischer with Angie Fenton when I photographed him for a cover last year, it was an honor to meet him then and while my short exchange of words with his wife stood out in no way, she seemed just as nice.
Being that Louisville is the biggest-small town in America it was only fitting that I sat down and ended up eating next to an ex of mine from 6 years ago and her family. Our exchange was short between me almost swallowing my gyro whole in a few bites. After lunch I took the TARC back to my car, went home and went right back to my routine of being as lazy as possible during the weekend to counter-act the sometimes hectic life I live throughout the week.
The St. James Court Art Show is held the first full weekend in October. It was founded on October 12, 1957 by St. James Court Association president, Malcolm Bird.
Category: Rants, Raves and Interviews
About the Author (Author Profile)
I read, I write, I watch stuff and most importantly I design and photograph for the Voice-Tribune full time. When I’m not doing those things then I’m probably eating something delicious or playing with my two cats. I live in Germantown and try to enjoy every day to the fullest.