In atypical traditionalist fashion, I knew I wanted to take part in the custom of spousal-wedding-gift-giving when Joe and I were married two years ago. A watch seems like the typical token of sentiment for the occasion, but I wanted my gift to have a little more individual meaning. When I saw this piece by Jeff “Buffalo” Bonker, I knew investing in original art that we could share in our home would be a great way to celebrate our commitment:
It felt like a fit for a bunch of reasons, like the fact that Joe is an ardent Cubs fan, that our house was once owned by Sec Taylor, the famed Des Moines Register sports editor after whom Principal Park was originally named (it’s still Sec Taylor Field), and that the artist was a colleague when Joe and I met working at the Register. Plus, with the gold dome of the Capitol in the background, if we ever leave Des Moines we’ll be able to take a landmark with us. And I thought it was just plain cool, especially since it’s acrylic painted on wood and has some heft to it. I talked with Bonker about the piece, which I first saw on his Facebook page, and we were able to work out a deal that fit my budget. I’d purchased art on Etsy before, but this felt like a real investment in a local artist, and it was exciting! I knew Joe would love it, too.
Fast forward and it turns out I chose an award-winning painting. Bonker submitted an image of the work for inclusion in the Des Moines 2011 Performance Report, and it won People’s Choice!
Bonker was able to pop by and borrow back his painting back for a couple days to get some higher quality images, and I get to be tickled that the Iowa Cubs wanted to buy it from him, but he had to tell them it was mine! Sounds like there might be a commission in the works. When I ran into him at Americana the other day, Bonker told me that he’s recently moved into the Fitch Building, where he’ll finally have a studio, and is newly represented by Kavanaugh Gallery. It’s exciting to see passionate people gain momentum like that.
I’m already running out of space, and there are a bunch of local artists I still want to purchase. I’ll follow up this post with some stories of other art we’ve acquired (on a budget) for our home so far. It’ll be a fun little tour, because I’m a total nerd.
P.S. TEDxDesMoines speaker and local artist Rachel Buse had a thoughtful post on the art choices for the Performance Report on Art Beacon Des Moines.