Antiquity: A Travel Essay

When you first see it, if you find yourself on the sharp edge of Downtown Fred’s outskirts, all you see is brick. The quasi bar/karaoke lounge that lives next door is laid entirely of burnt cherry blocks, and oddly enough, the way its foundation sits makes it jut out slightly in front of Antiques. If you make it past that weird little obstacle, you’ll find yourself at the front door. You’ll be greeted by the smear of children’s fingerprints across every bit of the glass’ surface, as well as twenty to thirty pairs of eyeballs. Or at least, that’s who’s been looking at me for the last four visits or so; the doll section makes itself known pretty quickly.

When you venture through the door, past the grimy spots and creepy stares, you’ll tread outdated red carpet. Bookcases loom over you while great, big chests vie to be opened and explored. Sparkling things glance at you through dusty surfaces. And delicate, watercolored china stands at attention, making ready for the passing admirers. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch a smile from Ingrid at the front desk area. When I do, I make sure I stick it in my pocket for safe keeping.

What you’ll find is that this floor is a maze; it makes you feel overwhelmed in more ways that one. You’ll feel overcome by the vast array of stuff and with curiosity to conquer each little planet across this great universe of the past. If you keep going straight, you’ll see that it’s made up of more bookcases, more chests with drawers and doors to be opened. They go off in directions that will take you to different places, whether in history or in household genre, each section and piece of the grand scheme puzzle organized by vendor. You’ll see how easily you’d be able to use your daylight hours going through it all.

If you’re like me though, you start from the top and make your way down. If you’re like me, you make the trek up the steep foothills they call the staircase to the second floor. As your calves are pumping, you’re met with paintings of landscapes, and people, and dogs, frogs, bears on logs, flowers, a few cross-stitched love notes; every millimeter of wall space is covered. After about fifteen steps, you’ll make eyes with literally everything but the kitchen sink. (Well, that’s not true, I did see an old sink once.)

There are two windows straight ahead, but they’re shrouded by stacks of boxes. The best ones meet the lip of the window sills, full of records by underground artists from the 60s and 70s. One of those curly-q phones neighbors a wall display of practically every manufactured Pez dispenser, hanging overhead random kitchen appliances and scratched up furniture. Some of them are junky and on their last leg, but they still have a place; they’re still allowed to take up residency here. I can’t help but think of the no-kill shelter that’s near my house, the one where we looked when we were searching for a dog. Even if the sun doesn’t rise on their adoption day, every pup can make that house their home. In the same fashion, it seems that nothing is turned away here at Antiques. There’s something really tender about that.

If you decide to go right, you’ll make your way into an alcove entirely made up of loose fabrics and crochet work: doilies, tablecloths, blankets, lacey pillow cases. My favorite are the itty-bitty baptismal gowns. I can almost see them, those women pricking their fingers and swearing under their breath. I can feel the breeze tickle their skin as they labor the night before the baby dedication. I can feel the thread spooling from their hands into this piece of clothing, the one I’m holding in my hands. I can feel everything when I’m in the expanse of this place.

If you decide to take the other route, you’re getting closer to the best spot. Instead of following directly right, you’ll make that right and then go backwards, going past the old cameras that need flash cubes that aren’t made anymore. Knick-knacks organized by animal classification will roar and meow and stamp at you, inviting your advances. After those cases, you’ll be confronted by an odd smell. Imagine mothballs coupled with an aging ink stink; it’s not bad, but not entirely pleasant either. It’s something acquired.

Keep this path until you see the, “For Rent” sign, and the huge window that exposes the dirt that’s crawling on the floorboards. The last time it wasn’t vacated was two Autumns ago. Picture in your mind turkey themed gravy boats and leafy napkin rings. Handmade ornaments, and wreathes with fresh holly berries. Baskets teeming with seasonal postcards next to the pile of old Christmas tree skirts. Soon February came, and since then, this sanctuary has been open. Freedom reigns in this place, at least until this coming holiday season.

For this reason, you’ll make the trip to Antiques, for the perspective it gives you, for its vantage point. When you step foot onto this holy ground, you’re allowed a glimpse into the days preceding the moment your lungs expanded. You get to watch the stories of the people before you play out. And as you read them, you can’t help but read over your own. You’ll think of your own life, all the stuff you smile at when it comes flooding back, and then the stuff that you grimace at, the stuff that makes you wipe your eyes with your shirt sleeve. When you stand in the barrenness of that room, you might feel the same. And that can be good and bad: either your life is open and free, your future awaiting you, or you’re empty and have nothing. Either way, this room will tell you the truth about yourself. It will tell the truth about what happened before.

As you stand there, you will act as witness to the leftovers of people’s lives that have long been finished, and when you finally get to the window, you will be reminded where you came from. The street that you walked to get here will span in front of you, and you will not be able to do anything but spin through the reflection of past, present, and future.

October 30th

I’ve always said that people need people; people need certain people, at certain times, in specific places and spaces in the sequence of their lives. As of late, and especially today, that truth has hit me harder than before. I’ve realized once again that I’ve needed someone I just can’t have yet. My father, Preston Coleman, has been gone for thirteen years. I had the privilege to exist with him for two-thousand five hundred and fifty-five days. This equates to exactly seven years of glory. The downside of this is that I got to have those seven years at an age where I wasn’t cognizant of how great it was, and of who exactly I got to do life with. This makes me sad. And it took me until today, truly, until I was almost twenty-one years old, to realize that when my body goes in the ground and comes out the other side, I’ll receive something that makes everything worth it.

Each empty spot and broken piece will have meant something, and will have given me this in return: the fact that the first experience I will be aware of with him, truly aware, will be with the dew of the Savior on his person. My first taste will be through Christ-colored glasses. And there will be nothing to compare it to. My sister and I will be the only two people in existence to have this, our first meeting with him at his freest. He will be a blank slate in our minds, slates that throughout eternity will be filled by the strokes of God’s hand. Filled up with talks and laughs and maybe a few cries, but the good kind. The kind that makes your stomach hurt and your eyes crinkle up on the corners, the kind that as it’s happening makes you grateful to be alive and grateful that such good things get to happen to you.

You see, that’s the most exciting thing in the world, the knowledge that when I get to make eye contact with him again, we’ll both be the best versions of ourselves. There’ll be nothing to compare me to; he’ll see me through a pair of Christ-colored glasses. He’ll meet me at my freest. So here’s to a few more years. I can wait. 

Close to Home

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Home starts and ends with the marriage of milk and Frosted Flakes, tied together by a promise made of glucose, upheld on a ceramic foundation.

 

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Home is boiling water. The cavatappi cooking in its heat. Your mom’s 40th birthday apron, the one that runs with foxes weaved into its starched cotton landscape.

 

 

 

 

Home is grounded in Keebler’s eyes, pressing loyalty into the open wounds of your soul.

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Home rests in the echo of Kipper’s bark, and how the bellow hugs the squirrels’ eardrums.

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Home is day three laundry finally being folded. Home is the same basket from before my conception, the one that’s got a split on the bottom, forking its way gradually towards the handle.

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Home is the piano and the residue of memories that remind you of life’s moments where you fell flat or you stayed sharp.

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Home’s where you can always find the matching sock. Home’s where you’re never without a mate, or the person that just gets you. The one that you can sit and scroll at a computer with, and feel completely whole.

Home is the spot where you were diagnosed with double lung pneumonia, where your ex-boyfriend threw your heart against the wall, and where your cat laid next to you while it all transpired.

Home is a cycle.

Home has the same company, the same breakfast, and the same spirit.

The only thing that changes is you.

Gifs of Fredericksburg

Records

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SkippingSanta

FreedomAintFree,ButMusicIs

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Books

JingleBells

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Christine

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Here’s how it went down:

-I spent welllllll over two hours (honestly, more like two days) coming up with this idea. I flip-flopped between different angles of this project. Originally, I was going for a “Humans of New York” type of idea. Like so:

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I wanted to apply this to Fredericksburg. But after careful thought, I decided I wanted to do something a little more original. At the heart of it, I wanted to document FredVegas through a raw and journalistic lens. I wanted to create sincere moments; I wanted to have people really GO to Fred with me and feel like they were in that very scene. So with that intention, I grappled with a few different approaches. I ended up deciding to make gifs to capture what Fredericksburg is to me. I was a happy camper with a set-in-stone idea! This was my face:

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-So yes, after coming up with this idea, I ventured out into the cold and shot all my footage. I made over fifteen gifs, but I chose the ones I liked the best. In total, I spent about five hours downtown. That includes all of the shooting time, the walking time back and forth between there and campus, etc.

-Once that was accomplished, I started to do the best part: EDITING! I loved this portion of the project because as I saw each one come together, it was like I was reliving these moments all over again. It took about five hours to create and edit them all (I had taken just under a thousand photos). These were my cohorts in the pizza eating, picture taking process! And we made a cat friend! I named him Fred, in honor of our beloved Fredericksburg. (Plus, he just looks like a Fred.)

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-And after they were finished, it came time to load them onto the blog. Because of WordPress having some issues, along with Apogee’s usual difficulties, it took about an hour to load them all and position them in the places that I wanted them.

THEN VOILA!

We have the Gifs of Fred.

The Hommage Project

I’ve created 14 hommages to 14 of my favorite artists. I have taken my favorites of their work, and crafted them together to make new forms of art.

1- Judy Chicago

2- Chuck Close

3- Steve Cutts

4- Marc Quinn

5- Starn Twins

6- Frank Stella

7- James Turrell

8- Eva Hesse

9- Walker Evans

10- Tony Cragg

11- Lorna Simpson

12- Ed Ruscha

13- Bruce Conner

14- Pipilotti Rist (woohoo!)

 

Judy Chicago (American, born 1939). Through the Flower, 1973. Sprayed acrylic on canvas, 60 x 60 in. (152.4 x 152.4 cm).Collection of Dr. Elizabeth A. Sackler, New York, NY. © Judy Chicago Photo © Donald Woodman

 

 

Chuck Close

 

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Marc Quinn

Starn Twins

 

 

Frank Stella    

James Turrell

Eva Hesse

Walker Evans

 

Tony Cragg

 

Lorna Simpson

 

Ed Ruscha

 

Bruce Conner

 

Pipilotti Rist

Scan, Scan, Scan

Here is a project that was made by my two hands, three boxes of Kleenex, a scanner, and tools in the Adobe Suite.

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An Ode to the “Hands of God”

Here we have one of just the tissues. Gotta love that texture.

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Sniffles

This was made from Dum-Dum wrappers placed strategically in the scanner, and then edited in Photoshop to create that swirly goodness.

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Wrap Me Up

What’s Digital Art? And what’s the FUTURE of it?

I think that Digital Art is exactly what it sounds like. DIGITAL art. It’s made with technology: computers, editing programs, film/DSLR cameras. Art is the outpouring of a special place. It’s where the brain meets the soul. We continue to further our technology, personally my favorite art form, to make more… art. And by making technology, and making art from THAT ART, it’s a beautiful cycle. Art never stops.

And I think the future of it all is unforeseeable. I don’t think we’ll know what art’ll look like until the artists get to work. I have three of my favorites below. Use them as reference for what I want to see in the not too distant future.

Cause what I really want is to make beauty, not just within the medium. My deepest desire is that the beauty within the art would manifest itself on our planet. I want the world to be transformed and it starts with us: the artists. We’re the ones to inspire the movement. So let’s get going.

Blowing Hair by Matthew Cox

Matthew Cox is just plain brilliant. I just found this today and I had to put this on my list of favorites. I love that he has two HUGELY (is that even a word) different mediums collide in one piece is breathtaking to me. The embroidery of her "face" (or the face she wants to project on society) covers her raw and vulnerable soul. The texture, the fact that embroidery takes a long time to make, alluding to the fact our facades for ourselves take a while to come to terms with... All of it just blows my mind.
Matthew Cox is just plain brilliant. I just found this today and I had to put this on my list of favorites. I love that he has two HUGELY (is that even a word) different mediums colliding in one piece. It’s just breathtaking to me. The embroidery of her “face” (or the fake self she wants to project on society) covers her raw and vulnerable interior. The texture of the embroidery, the fact that it takes such a long time to make, alluding to the fact our facades for ourselves take a while to craft and come to terms with… All of the symbolism, it just blows my mind.

Untitled by Anonymous

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I have a huge soft spot for black and white photos. There’s just something so honest about them. I really dig this piece because it’s anatomical, but other worldly. I’m obsessed not only with the intricacy (the patterns of those stars just GET me), but the simplicity. There’s nothing flashy about this piece. No bright colors, quite the contrast compared to Cutts.’ But it just gets me every time I see it.