I won a couple more pieces from artist John Soukup aka Kettle; this time a couple of illustrations from a series he did featuring superheroes holding pickles painted on the face of dollar bills. I chose to bid on these ones because Spider-Man is universally awesome and one of my sons is named after Wolverine. My other two sons are named after superheroes as well, but their namesakes weren't among the items available...yet.
I actually purchased these items and wrote that first paragraph a long time ago, probably several months or maybe even close to a year ago. At the time I was thinking pretty heavily about how you define art and how we separate art from not-art. The thing that really sparked this internal discussion was a couple of performance art pieces I saw, but then I started thinking about sketch cards and art on currency and figures painted for wargaming and where the line is that you have to cross to have something be considered as art. I found that the discussion kind of goes around in circles and seems to have a lot to do with being able to trace the inspirations for your art along a lineage of influences that are accepted by the artsy people as legitimate. You could also influence other people and be retroactively accepted by arty people because they like the work of people who traced themselves artistically back to you. That's the really short version, and there are probably all kinds of holes and exceptions in that definition. You need arty people to like your art or your art isn't really art. For what it's worth, I think the stuff Soukup does is art because it appeals to me in a certain way.
In the time between picking up those first pieces and now I was able to get a couple more bills featuring the characters my other sons were named after, Hulk (Bruce) and Thing (Benjamin). These guys aren't holding pickles, though, so they don't quite all fit the same theme. I think they are pretty cool. I'd really like to pick up one of Soukup's full-size paintings, but that is a #futuregoals kind of thing more than a today thing. Until then I'll keep picking up these smaller works and spend time thinking about the true definition of art.