Dan and I had another "first" this weekend. We purchased our first piece of art!
By the generous invitation of our wedding photographer (Steffi Smith; http://www.cariadphotography.com/), we spent Saturday and Sunday in the mountain town of Clayton, Georgia. Located in Rabun County, near South Carolina, North Carolina and Tennessee, Clayton is home to many an antique shop, kayaking outfit, cabin and country cooking establishment.
After touring around a few local falls and creeks and eating some homemade ice cream with Steffi, Dan and I ventured out on our own to Historic Clayton. We perused a few antique and knickknack shops as well as an Ace Hardware with particular character before being distracted by some artwork outside Lee Johnson's Gallery.
We overheard Mr. Johnson himself telling a sidewalk occupied patron that he would be closing the gallery in five minutes, as he had plans to attend a low country boil. We were especially struck by two rooster-themed folk paintings propped against the gallery's old brick building, on the sidewalk. We admired one acrylic painting of a solitary rooster, multicolored and on a piece of an old door. The other was of four roosters, also acrylic on wood, though longer and more rectangular. We saw signs that read, "Everything 20% off! Gallery closing!"
Mr. Johnson invited us to walk around for a moment. Because he saw our interest in the rooster paintings, he told us about Blake Gardner, the local and very talented artist behind the folk paintings. We saw several more of his interesting and colorful pieces near the register. Dan and I saw one of these pieces, rich in color and character, and looked at one another, feeling that we were both thinking the same thing.
"We'll take this one," Dan said. I was excited, exhilarated and giddy all at once. Dan had mentioned wanting a unique piece of art… and now we'd found it.
Mr. Johnson's wife didn't spare a second following our commitment to buy.
"I didn't want to say it until you bought the piece, but I really do feel in my heart that Blake will be famous one day," she shared. "He just has such a vision and a gift. All he needs is an agent."
Sure, gallery owners may say this kind of thing a lot, but I think whether Blake becomes incredibly famous or not, we have a really neat and interesting piece of art that we're sure to cherish. We also look forward to receiving Blake's handwritten bio in the mail, as promised to us by Mrs. Johnson.
Best of luck to the Johnsons in their retirement. Best of luck to Blake in his emerging career.
What information I could find on Blake: http://www.georgiaartists.org/artists/contact2118.shtml