I was recently inspired by on Ohio artist I discovered online. Dave collects thrift shop paintings and alters each one with a Star Wars scene. Instead of space, the backdrop for R2-D2 is a beach; battle grounds for the Rebel Alliance and the Galactic Empire are bucolic country sides.
I wanna try that! On my first attempt to find something suitable to add my own spin, I spotted a small professionally framed piece at my own nearby thrift shop.
For a whopping four dollars, I brought the piece home where I did more examining. On the back, the title – Melbourne High School – and its painter – Kenneth Jack – were written on two small rectangles of hard paper.
After a quick online search, I learned that Kenneth Jack (1924-2006) was an Australian artist who created 100 signed prints of this school, painted in 1953.
Wow! Instead of a piece I could guiltlessly enhance (read: destroy), I snagged a signed print going for $350, and already in a quality frame!
Before removing the paper backing to examine the print, I stared at Jack’s signature and title on those two little rectangles. Then I looked more closely at the online page where I found the original photo.
“Wait a minute,” I said aloud to my husband. “Why does the writing on my frame look exactly like the artist’s handwriting? This can’t be good!”
There it was, or in this case wasn’t – the bottom of the print had been cut off to fit the frame’s mat! Those two rectangles were taken from the chopped section!
Two questions: How could anyone wreck a signed print, especially a ‘professional’ framer? And how did this almost 70-year-old Aussie print end up in a thrift store in Edmonton?
Since the print was pre-wrecked, I added my own mixed media spin of Botticelli celebrating nudes, where 1490s Italy meets 1950s Australia meets 2020 Canadian crow heads.
I present to you ‘CrowBot Jack.’
Beauty – and artistry – is in the eye of the beholder. As well as my first piece of wrecked and reimagined art, it will be my last. You’re welcome.
Current monetary value? Zero. Wacky unknown backstory? Priceless.
To see Dave’s reimagined art: https://buff.ly/3eesJNn
audio version song