Friday, 11 October 2013

Reusing in Edmonton: Art Discarded

The Reuse-it Edmonton team recently got together to brainstorm ideas for the blog, and there was one thing we kept coming back to: all of the fantastic reuse initiatives currently happening in Edmonton. So we decided to profile some of the individuals, companies, and groups that are spearheading these initiatives over the next few months on the blog, for your (hopefully) reading pleasure.

It was easy for me to decide who to write about because I have heard so many great stories about Lawrence, and his very popular blog, artdiscarded 

Lawrence is a Reuse Centre customer and a great lover of original art, who decided to undertake a personal challenge of 100 days of finding art in Edmonton. He wanted to see if he could buy a piece of original art a day for less than a premium cup of coffee (or the occasional bottle of wine). Along with price, Lawrence set himself a few other guidelines for the piece of art: it needed to be original (or a limited numbered piece, at minimum) and it had to be something a collector might display.

Bought at Goodwill for under 10 dollars
The challenge had him hunting through various thrift stores including Goodwill, Value Village, Salvation Army and also the Reuse Centre on a daily basis, though he says it wasn't time consuming. Armed with a monocle (this piece of equipment came later) to test the originality of the art, his small collection of just a few paintings steadily grew to over 560 pieces. Lawrence kept going after his 100 days were up.

One of Canadian artist Richard Tetrault's earlier works was found at the Reuse Centre. 

Lawrence started his blog when he bought two pieces of art at Goodwill for 10 dollars with no indication of who the artist was. He put a call out on his blog asking for information. It was a popular idea and people began following his blog, so in response he started posting more pieces that he found. Artists began contacting him to ask questions, most of them interested as to how he came to own their works, and as the word spread, the blog grew and grew.

Smaller pieces that have been matted and framed by Lawrence. They are now on display at his workplace.

The pieces that Lawrence finds are not always in good condition. Keeping with his "reduce and reuse" initiative, he often frames and mats the pieces himself, using materials found at thrift stores and the Reuse Centre. He told me that he has mended canvas with a spray bottle of water, used car paint to re-colour old frames and even got a friend of his to restore certain pieces of art that were damaged.

This particular painting was done by a Disney animator in the 1960's. Lawrence found it in Kelowna of all places!
The pieces of art are now displayed in Lawrence's workplace for all of his co-workers to enjoy. One day Lawrence plans to have an art auction of many of his pieces and the proceeds will go to charity.

Lawrence's amazing collection shows us that art can be reused to great effect, and that many great pieces can be found in Edmonton for very low prices. If you've grown tired of the art in your home, donate it to a local thrift shop or the Reuse Centre for the chance at a second life. Your old painting might just end up being the newest acquisition in Lawrence's gallery!

- Hayley (Staff)

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