Top 5 Pieces of Art Hanging in my House

Welcome to Top 5 Fun Friday, a regularly-occurring blog feature where I give you a list of extremely specific pointless shit from my life no one asked for. Why? Because the internet is STILL incredibly un-fun in 2021 and I enjoy blogging. It’s Friday and these will be fun! This week’s list…

Top 5 Pieces of Art Hanging in my House

It’s generally bad form to undermine the title of a blog within the first two sentences, but I’m going to do it anyway. The term “art” here is meant in the loosest possible sense. Although it would be quite the pivot to find me going on and on for hundreds of about Piero della Francesca or Roy Lichtenstein or whoever the fuck, wouldn’t it?

But that’s not why you’re here. You’re here because I write off-kilter nonsense about goofy ephemera and detritus from my own life. So, if you’ve been reading me for awhile, you know I have unusual taste. We have art of all stripes hanging in our house ranging from my ACTUAL favorite painting “Nighthawks” by Edward Hopper to an insanely specific and very heavy shadowbox commemorating the careers of (ready?) Andre Dawson and Andres Galarraga given to me by my dad. Why the two of them are together in this memorial is anyone’s guess, but it’s cool looking and has served as an interesting conversation starter for anyone who finds themselves in my basement.

So, with that preamble, I’m happy to present you with five pieces of “art” that you can honest-to-god find in my house.

ya brah

Look at this dipshit I taped to the door to my office. I mean, look at him. Your immediate reaction has to be to think he’s Secretary-at-Arms on the City Council of Doucheville. And if it isn’t, well, it’s sort of like spotting the sucker at a poker game… if you haven’t realized who it is in 20 minutes, it’s you, douche.

I have a complicated love/hate relationship with dudes and bros. On one hand, I’m very much a dude and a bro. It’s how I talk, it’s how I dress, it’s how a lot of my taste skews. The dudes and bros in my life are generally good, kind people who work hard and treat people with respect. Most of us just happen to look like we wandered in from a 311 concert. On the other hand, there’s a strain of dude and bro that cultivates that aesthetic, but marries it with casual misogyny, glib, facile opinions, and a volume that is always about two clicks too loud.

The “ya brah” dude in this photo appears to be yelping out an epic bro-yawp at something undeniably gnarly that just happened, and you’ve gotta love the guileless lack of irony in his face. I spotted this at the I Heart Denver Store in the Pavilions and couldn’t stop laughing, so home he came with me.

I choose to believe he’s the former type of dude, not the latter in the paragraph above. Am I wrong? Possibly. But I’d still totes shred some gnar pow with him at Breck, if asked.

This recognizable rap lyric in cross-stitch form

Perhaps my favorite category of thing in the entire world is “Stuff That’s Too Stupid To Exist” which explains a lot of my taste. Professional wrestling certainly fits in this category. Third wave ska music in many ways does too (“You know what would make this pop punk better? If we hired a couple of dorks from the marching band to join us and play some brass!”).

One time we were all at the Punk Rock Flea Market where a friend of mine had made a pair of cutting boards with Jules Winnfield from Pulp Fiction burned into them and the following quotes, “Vegetables, motherfucker!” and “Meat, goddammit!” I bought them both and we sent them to my sister-in-law for her enjoyment, in Utah. Also at this Flea Market were a bunch of adorable little cross-stitched quotes in tiny little frames. The catch is that all the quotes were rap lyrics.

The real joy of this ridiculous piece is that everyone of a certain age reads it the exact same way. You can see them reading the first line earnestly. The second line makes the wheels start turning a little bit more urgently. The head starts nodding on the first “up in here” and by the time they start the second one, they’re full-on bobbing their head like they’re cruising through town with the windows down and the volume all the way up.

You can’t really see it at this resolution, but in the upper right hand corner are a bunch of tiny punctures. We bought this one at a discount because the creator’s cat had chewed on it. Writing this all out, and it’s clear to me just how stupid this thing is, and I love it even more now.

Calm Your Tits

Hanging above our keys next to the back door on the way out to the garage is this helpful daily reminder. Just calm your fucking tits. Seriously. Everything is going to be okay. Maybe not right away, maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but eventually. So calm your tits.

Pretty sure this one came from another Punk Rock Flea Market, which is something that desperately needs to come back post-COVID. We went to like 4 of these and they were always amazing. Around Christmas time you can get a picture drinking beers with Santa. Sometimes there are people there with really bitchin’ records they’re selling.

And, my favorite time, there was this 11 year-old kid who worked a table by himself selling custom bookmarks he made to all these middle-aged dorks because he was saving up to buy something special. His parents paid for the entry fee into the market, and told him he was in charge of the rest (they were at the booth next to him). It’s a clever design, and I still use it to this day. I’ll bet that kid will turn out alright.

This painting of God

We feel it’s important to be religious in this house, so in one’s kitchen, one must have a painting of our reigning deity Lemmy. And I know you’re not going to quibble with me over his deity status. I mean, c’mon.

We go to Old 121 Brewhouse a lot. Yes, it’s run by two of our good friends. But I would probably go there regularly even if they weren’t because it’s exactly the aesthetic and brand I want from a brewery. The beers are exceptional and not cutesy-poo, gimmicky bullshit like so many breweries in 2021. There’s always punk rock on the stereo. And the walls are dotted with cool shit like this.

We saw this thing hanging there for probably at least 4 visits. As we fawned over it for what turned out to be the last time, Kristin asked, “Why don’t we own this thing? Is it too expensive?” She goes over to it, looks at the price tag, comes back, and says, “Jesus. What’s our problem? That thing is criminally underpriced. We’re buying it right now.”

IMPORTANT NOTE: I have cracked wise about the previous three entries on today’s list. You won’t find me doing that here. This is incredible work, and I love it earnestly so hard.

This painting of all the cool shit on Colfax

Colfax Avenue is 49.5 miles long and runs from Golden in the West all the way to Strasburg in the East. I grew up about two blocks from Colfax off of Youngfield Street, which divides Lakewood and Golden. I now live two and a half blocks from Colfax in East Denver 12 miles from childhood home. I got my punk rock education going to shows at the Ogden and the Bluebird inbetween. This street might as well be the goddamn axis around which my entire world revolves.

So when I saw this thing at the I Heart Denver Store, I knew I had to have it. The street is simply too delightfully weird. I love that one long ass street can have a kitschy, artery-clogging diner like Davies’ Chuck Wagon, the strange, single sex nudity of Lake Steam Baths, the old Denver charm of Bastien’s (Home of the Sugar Steak!), and all that other bizarre crap too.

Someone asked me why there was a knife dripping in blood on there. Have you ever been on Colfax? It’s the same reason there’s a hypodermic needle on there, which you could find wedged in the booths at Tom’s Diner. The only thing it’s missing is a hooker, but I suppose that’s implied by the Bugs Bunny and Trail’s End Motels.

Sometimes I just stand there and stare at this thing for minutes on end. It’s too evocative for me simply to pass by casually. And isn’t that what good art should do?

I hang stuff in my house that demands your attention. And as I started writing this, I realized this may not be the only post like this to come. We’re simply too fucking weird. Ain’t it fun?

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