Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Eye of the Beholder

I have been accused of wine snobbery. Perhaps it's the circles I travel in. When I upped the price I was willing to spend on a bottle of wine to, on average, $25, I was met with uncomprehending stares. When partial cases started arriving at the house I was queried as to why such lengths needed to be gone to. When first one wine fridge and then a larger wine fridge came to live with us, there was some snickering. I was ok with this because my drink of choice is wine. It's what I like to drink with my food.

I know nothing about wine. Except what I like.

I go to a restaurant, they bring me a wine list, I barely glance at it. The sommelier or waiter returns and I tell him or her what I'm ordering, and that I like unusual wines. I don't care where they're from or what color they are, I want something different, something that really goes well with the food I'm eating, something I'd remember. 80% of the time I have perfectly enjoyable wines I would never go out of my way to find again. The other 20%? Well, that's where we run into trouble. For the other 20%, I will expend boundless energy and time to tracking down more of the wine. Snobbish? I don't know. Obsessive. Yes.

But I've never thought much of wine ratings. What one person finds tremendous I might not, and, as I had to tell a wine shop proprietor recently, I would never spend more than $30 on a wine I had never tasted just because someone else liked it. To me, that's just stupid.

Yet, when confronted by art, another fairly subjective medium, I have the feeling that there is capital-G good art and capital-B bad art. Which is ridiculous because I know no more about art than I do about wine which means good art is art that's good for me. For a couple of years, we took the easy way out decorating our walls. I've gotten more proficient with a camera, we take trips to pretty places, and some of the 45 million pictures I take are frame worthy. This was fine in an apartment, but we seem to be working with a lot more space now, and our walls are starting to look a little bare.

But I can't afford ART art, and I wouldn't want to buy bad art.

No, wait, I don't care. It's what I like that's important. So, I've started browsing the artist's democracy, Etsy. For a couple hundred bucks I could help a struggling artist out, get several pieces for my walls, and it doesn't matter if the art isn't good because if I only spent 60 bucks on it, I can throw it out when I tire of it and not really care.

Well, now I feel liberated. I bought three bottles of wine on spec and didn't like them, but I was only out $60, so they'll do. Imagine treating art the same way! I'm going to put together a slide show for devoted partner so we can agree on things, but this will be my contribution: we will have stuff on the walls that is unique and, possibly, cool.


  1. Submitted for your approval:

  2. I too love Etsy (and wine) and have been checking out some of the art as our walls are pretty bare. I'll be interested to see photos of what you purchased and how it looks on the walls. I hope the move is going well and you're surviving in suburbia!

  3. I don't get it, Abby. Did you type "zombies" into Etsy, or was that on your wishlist?

    Erica, give me one more week and then we should get together to drink wine and talk Etsy (as I'm typing I realize you're going to ruin everything by being one of those 'doesn't drink while pregnant' women - sigh - fine lemonade).

  4. I've been familiar with the print shop that made it-- Yee Haw Industries-- for several years. I have a lot of their work in my house and officel.

    Also, I was suggesting you buy it and hang it on your wall. As art, or as a bona fide warning to houseguests.

  5. I have a slight Etsy prejudice. Here's an awesome list of affordable online art vendors:

    *I love Little Paper Planes*