Greater Than the Sum of Our Parts

a miscellany of the wonderful and the banal

On Being A Patron of the Arts (when I can be)

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I would dearly love to be a patron of the arts, but I am broke, so instead I am an occasional but enthusiastic buyer of prints & art books, and commissioner of people I know well enough to give me “mates’ rates” (and then feel guilty about wasting time they could be using on proper clients!). A couple of the artists among the manyI have a particular fondness for are Coey Kuhn and Shy Custis, whose work I have been following on various websites for several years now.

Though both artists are capable of tooth-rottingly cute styles, which affords them a degree of popularity with the kawaii-kawaii crowd, the majority of their work is darker and more complicated – intricate and stark at once, with themes of decay, dissection, and agony.

One of the most fascinating things about having followed the evolution of Coey & Shy’s work over the course of these years has been seeing how their personal styles have been influenced by each other as they have also improved with practice and study – but retained the innate core of their original artistic characteristics, their identity as individual artists at the same time.

Prints have been purchased and adorn my bedroom wall alongside the work of Gillian Blekkenhorst and Matthew Woodson:

A study of Coey Kuhn with arrows and an appleA throat being violently sewn uptwo prints: one of a man tied to a tree, the other of a man sewing up a corpse

I stumbled over my own paypal to pre-order the individual sketchbooks for 2009-2010, both:

Front covers of Coey Kuhn and Shy Custis's sketchbooks

Shy’s:

Interior art from Shy Custis's sketchbook

And Coey’s:

Interior art from Coey Kuhn's sketchbook

I also bought an art book which features both of their work, a 13Crowns production, which was as far as I’m concerned an excellent investment as it also features work by another favourite artist of mine, Lois van Baarle:

The 13 Crowns Studio Art BookInterior art from the 13Crowns book

And now I’ve managed to make a tentative agreement with Coey Kuhn for a tattoo design commission in the future, about which I am very excited.

I admit, this level of admiration and awe does make me feel a lot like a stalker in some respects, and I’m sad that I have neither the wealth nor the social cachet to be a “patron” rather than “an annoying fan”. I hope both women in question aren’t too annoyed by it!

If you want to buy the sketchbooks, they’re on sale here.

Post by Delilah

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