PAINTER / PRINTMAKER / POET

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Sometimes the universe tells you things

There was this one time, I think it was Autumn of 2012 perhaps... I was driving through Newburyport, MA with Sam Stambaugh and we were headed downtown on one of the town's main streets. We passed what looked like an old church or some other large, colonial building and as we passed it, I noticed, peripherally, a bunch of things laid to the curb – an end table, an old mirror, and what looked to be some large canvases. I must've exclaimed some sort of "Woah!" as I pulled a dangerous U-turn back towards the building, and Sam probably screamed something along the lines of "Are you trying to get us killed?!" Ignoring the remark, I park next to the discarded elements, and begin to handle the canvases. There were four of them, large and varying sizes but roughly 30"x40", stretched linen, primed with Matte Medium or Rabbit Skin Sizing.

Like, I was driving, and found four, perfectly hand stretched canvases discarded on the curb. And I felt that day, as I loaded the canvases into the hatchback of my Forester, that I'm supposed to be painting - I'm doing a good job. 

 A painting I did in undergrad on one of the Miracle Canvases hangs above my bed where Billie's hanging out. 

A painting I did in undergrad on one of the Miracle Canvases hangs above my bed where Billie's hanging out. 

The Incident of the Miraculous Canvases hasn't been the only time in my life where the Universe has seemingly said "Keep Going," there've been times where I've been given copper, old barn windows, window screens and other junk that happens to be vital elements to my creative practice and the work that I make. Now perhaps it's just me being a scavenger, being constantly on the look out, and keenly observing every junk pile I drive by, but sometimes it feels like more than that. It's one thing to successfully thrift some frames and refinish them to frame a show on a budget - sure, that's crafty, but it's another thing entirely to be killing time at a distant Good Will while you wait for your partner to be done at the walk-in next door and find bundles of stretcher bars for a dollar or two per pair...

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or a 36" x 48" canvas for $10 in the same trip. That, to me, is a sign I'm doing the right thing. A reward for perseverance and the universe encouraging me to keep going. 

_AKK

Ali KellerComment