Several weeks ago art thieves broke into the Florida Craftsmen Gallery in St. Petersburg, stealing two beautiful glass pieces worth thousands of dollars. This is a provocative and unusual event for a gallery and artist. The fact that someone likes an art work enough to steal it must be the ultimate left-handed compliment.
Prolific artists, many years into their careers, experience similar dubious distinctions. I have had my share. My art has been stolen from galleries, night clubs, and outdoor shows. Other works have shown up in garage sales and flea markets.
Years ago, I donated a large painting to a Tampa charity auction. The work was purchased by a doctor, who later went through a contentious divorce. He kept the house; his ex-wife got the contents.
The doctor’s ex needed cash and dumped much of the contents in a Clearwater consignment shop. Two friends, waiting to dine at a restaurant next door, wandered through the shop. They recognized my painting hanging in the back, and, after a bit of haggling, bought it at a considerable savings. The piece now hangs in their dining room.
A Dunedin bistro once bought one of my collage pieces and placed it in their dining room, and later moved it near the exit. Having lunch one day with friends, I looked in vain for the art. I found it on a visit to the men’s room, hanging over the urinal.
No heavy philosophical explanation can be given for this. Simply stated, if you hang in there long enough, your work will hang in some unusual places.