Category: Thrift Shop Art

A State of Oblivion…

It was Black Friday and while most people were battling mall parking lots or waiting in mile-long lines at Target, I was checking out a new thrift shop on Capitol Hill in downtown Seattle. Everything was 50% off so when I found this painting that cost slightly more than what I would normally spend on a piece from a secondhand store, I thought, “Meh…why not splurge a little?”

From the bid card on the back, it looks like this was part of a school fundraiser. The artist, Reba S. Bigelow, had handwritten the title of her work in pencil on the back.

“A State of Oblivion,” it said. While I have no idea what it went for in that auction, the price tag in front of me said $14.99. Paying half price for it meant that I could have it for $7.50. SOLD!

Luckily, the artist had also taped her card to the back so I was able to Google search her to learn more about the woman behind this particular state of oblivion.

Reba is originally from Kansas but married a Seattleite. Her interests include line dancing and volunteering. I even found this YouTube video of an interview she did while her art was on display at ArtNotTerminal (https://www.antgallery.org/) in August of 2005.

What I like most about Mrs. Bigelow’s painting is how abstract it is due to the lack of facial expression. I guess being in a state of oblivion shields us all from extreme emotions and leaves everyone guessing…

Dear Kelsey…

Dear Kelsey,

You and I have never met but yesterday I saw your incredible artwork at a thrift shop in downtown Seattle. I loved your use of color and, of course, I’m a big fan of any painting that includes a dog! But I was in a bit of a hurry and left the store without buying anything.

Then, last night as I was lying in bed scrolling through Twitter I saw a Tweet from Lin-Manual Miranda:

Instantly, your pieces came back to mind and I wished I had purchased them.

This morning I thought, “Hmmm…maybe after I run my errands I’ll swing back by and see if they are still there.” But as I had feared, I completed three full laps around the store and couldn’t find them anywhere. I was about to give up and surrender to the golden rule of thrift shopping: If you don’t buy it when you see it, someone else will. But just as I was about to leave, I decided to check the front corner one last time – perhaps the guy who had been blocking the bottom shelf while looking at the assortment of vinyl’s had finally moved on and I could make sure they weren’t accidentally mixed in with the stacks of records. 

YAHTZEE!

I couldn’t believe it, there they were…

I grabbed them and triumphantly marched up to the register where I learned that all pictures were 50% off – which meant I got both of your pieces for $3.30. Should you ever stumble upon this blog post and decide you want them back, let me know and maybe we can cut a deal 🙂

I have no idea when you did these, how old you were then, or are now…but I sincerely hope you are still painting because they are fantastic and I think you are extremely talented. I am a big fan of your work, Kelsey!

Sincerely,

Megan

The Thrift Shop Obsession…

I know I’ve mentioned Goodwill once already, but this piece is where my obsession with buying thrift shop art started. Up until this point, I was very selective. I would not give my hard-earned dollars away without certificates of authenticity or hand-written stories. But that all changed when I saw something that I couldn’t take my eyes off of. It was an odd trio that looked like an Expressionist/Fauvism/Cubism hybrid – if that’s even a real thing (which it probably isn’t). But anyways, there it was on the shelf and I knew I had to have it…

In Seattle, you will find a Goodwill flagship store on S. Lane St. and I am not exaggerating when I say that, on a good day, I could spend hours there. This is one of the first thrift shop pieces of art I bought when I moved here in 2012; and it is safe to say that it has become one of my favorites.

No idea who the artist is/was and probably paid about $3 for it…