12 May 2016

The Art Collector

I've shown off quite a few pieces of art done by John Soukup aka Kettle over the last year or so, including several sketch cards, a sticker sketch, and a Ken Griffey Jr.-themed painted baseball. Several times I have expressed the desire to own a larger piece of his work, but I wasn't ever sure if I would be able to make it happen.

Earlier this year he posted one of his paintings on eBay, a piece featuring Marvel comic book characters Thing and Man-Thing having some tea. I was in a position to bid on it at the time, probably because it was around tax return time, and when the dust cleared I was the winner.

I'm not 100% sure that I 'get' this painting, but I know a Carfax report shows information for used cars, like accidents, ownership history, repairs, and maintenance records. I would imagine that it would be useful to get a similar report for someone's heart, so you can know what kind of stuff to watch out for before you begin a new relationship. That might take some of the fun and mystery out of things, though.

I was really excited to see the next painting he posted a little while later. I had actually seen it on his DeviantArt page in late 2015, and I liked it so much that I even left a comment on the gallery page. And I mentioned it in a blog post in January. I'm not sure why, but I could stare at this thing for hours. I went back and looked at it quite a bit online over the first couple months of 2016, and when Kettle posted it on eBay I knew I had to have it for myself. 

He e-mailed me around the same time to show me some other work and I had to ask him the story behind this painting. The short version of his response is that he goes to a lot of comic conventions and there are always women there cosplaying (dressing up as characters from comics/TV shows/movies) and when they walk by everyone is looking at them and thinking about them. He wondered what the cosplayers were thinking about while everyone was thinking about them and decided that they were probably disconnected from all the attention and instead were thinking about what their cat was doing at home. So this is a Wonder Woman cosplayer focused on her cat while everyone else is focusing on her.

I was able to win this painting, too, and unfortunately as soon as it arrived my wife stole it from me. We share the room that we use as an office, so I still get to look over at her wall and see the painting, but it's not the same as if it were actually mine. I will have to steal it back some day. These are some decent-sized paintings, with the 'Carfax' one being 20" x 20" and the Wonder Woman one (titled 'Left Iowa Saturday Afternoon' on DeviantArt) being 18" x 24".

I am pretty excited that timing and fate matched up in a way that allowed me to obtain both of these paintings for my collection. While these weren't small purchases for me, I feel good every time I look at them and that's more than I can say about a lot of the stuff I buy. While I don't 'get' everything that Soukup / Kettle produces, he does a whole lot of stuff that speaks to me, like there is stuff in the art that tells me he's been to some of the same places mentally as I have. The Star Wars and comic book references are an important part of that, but I think there is more to it than just recognizing the characters or pop culture references. It has more to do with which characters he uses, how they look, and how they interact with each other and their environments. I don't know if any of that made sense. I'm not that great at talking about art and I'm probably even less good at talking about feelings.


  1. The part you mentioned about feeling good when you look at the paintings is really the most important thing when it comes to collecting, unfortunately a lot of us buy things on a regular basis that don't end up bringing us any real joy.

    It's nice too, that you are able to have some contact with the artist and be able to find out what he was feeling/thinking when creating the piece of art that you like so much.

    And as far as your wife stealing your painting goes--maybe she was just trying to get you back for stealing her heart?

    1. Yeah, I think sometimes we get locked into collecting habits that perpetuate themselves even after they no longer reflect our interests. That happens to me sometimes with things like retail packs, group breaks, and my comic book subscriptions.

      It is nice that Soukup has reached out to me a few times with information and generosity.

      I guess my wife can keep the painting as long as we share the computer room. If I made a big enough stink about it she would probably give it back.

  2. Wow. Congratulations on adding these to your collection. I'm not sure what's cooler... the fact that your wife shares an interest in these fine arts or the actual paintings themselves.

    1. It is nice that she and I share a lot of interests. It's good to have some common ground. I don't think she'll ever be a card collector, though, or a really serious sports fan.