Deep Thought Thursday: FIRE!

Quick! There’s a raging fire coming at your house/studio (or a flood, tornado, or your preferred natural disaster).

You can only take two pieces of your art with you.
(Play along with me here. If you make jewelry, pretend that it's really big jewelry and you can only carry 2 pieces.)

Which ones are you going to make sure are safe and why?

©Marilyn Fenn, Tornado–Ames, IA–March 30, 2006.

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26 thoughts on “Deep Thought Thursday: FIRE!”

  1. I have a very large mosaic I did several years ago that’s hanging above our couch – that would come. And I just finished up a vase that’s probably my best work – that would have to come too!

    Honestly, I’d rather save equipment so that I can make more art. The process is what I love the most – after that, I’m only emotionally attached to a very few pieces.

  2. Haha, I don’t have to pretend my jewelry is really big ;^)
    I’d probably take two of my most recent pieces. Like so many artists, I’m happiest with what I’ve just completed. Probably, Ice & Blood from my Elements series, or maybe a medallion or my most recent brooch. I’d have to make a pinch decision like I do when I go out to eat, just pick two at the last second!

  3. – Interesting – my first thought was for my polaroid cameras – equipment so that I can keep creating. Very hard to choose just two specific pieces though. Maybe I’d actually choose something from a medium I no longer work in ( hand painted silk) and one of the first photos that I took that really started to get things moving for me.
    ( I suppose two cds with scans is avoiding the issue a little ? 🙂 )

  4. Funny, my first thought would be to rescue the art that I have from other artists. I can always make more of my own art, but it’s harder to replace the work of someone else that I’ve acquired through a purchase, trade or gift.
    That said, I have an original by Lena Liu from 25+ years ago that we purchased before she became really famous. It’s gorgeous watercolor with very Asian simplicity and tranquilness. The 2nd would be a an original by Russ Yerkes, a beautiful watercolor image of fish in deep hues of blues and greens.

  5. In that situation art and business becomes less important and family comes first. So I’d grab two of my favourite paintings of my two children. But if it was for real I’d probably not take anything from my studio. Just grab my kids, husband and dog and run.

  6. I would have to take my first watercolor to get in an International exhibit, “Winter Light on Fruit.” And the other piece would be a watercolor of my son and his two buddies walking down a country road in Tennessee, titled “Summer Pals.”

  7. First of all, thank you, Alyson, for using my painting for this topic! 🙂

    My first thoughts were my supplies, then other artists’ works; but to answer your question literally, I think I would save a little representational still life I did of my studio space while in art school; it’s a piece that I keep finding things in I didn’t know I painted, plus it reminds me of a very wonderful time of my life. The second piece would be another representational still life…done in the style of Cezanne, because it was a real breakthrough painting for me. After that, my work started tending to the abstract that I love so much.

    Just two of about ten older works I cannot seem to part with…so I hope Mother Nature or any other type of disaster doesn’t do it for me!

  8. Interesting question. I think I would grab my two pieces crawl and ecstasy because they have a super special secret something (dare I say the A word?) that I still can’t recapture. crawl took me over a year to finish and is very personal.

  9. There was a fire in a building where I had a gallery once, it was a real learning experience. There is a limited amount of time before the fire department gets there and starts soaking everything with water. (Water does damage everywhere, fire just where it’s burning) Once the fire fighters are on scene they will physically remove you and you will NOT be allowed in the building to rescue stuff. So here’s the deal… if the fire starts to the point that someone has called the fire department then you have maybe five minutes to grab what you’ll be wanting to save. Cause you’re not going back in once they are on scene. Take your computer hard drive, take the purse and whatever else you can throw in the car. (They’ll be wanting you to move your car in a moment!) Leave what fire and water can’t damage. Don’t be sentimental; what does it take for your life to work? Take that. Sorry, that was a bit off topic but I think it is really important that ppl be informed about what one will actually be able to do in case of a fire.

  10. The two paintings I really liked are already gone, sold. The next ones will be better than the past ones anyway. (That’s the plan) So, keeping in mind that the bills keep coming, I would grab the two commissions I am working on.

  11. I know the 2 I’d grab and run, but the one thing I’d also be tempted to get is the photo album of all my work. Those memories are very dear to me. The 2 I’d get are from many years ago. I no longer weave and these I couldn’t reproduce. My current work I see as stepping stones to my next work. As soon as I finish one I’m thinking about the next.

    Thanks so much jennie for the fire dept. info – good to know.

  12. This is something I’ve been thinking about recently. We’re in the process of moving into a home surrounded by oak trees. Quite beautiful, they make a canopy over our roof and provide shade. But–I guess they pose a fire hazard.

    So, I’ve pondered the question since Alyson posed it yesterday. If I could carry 2 pieces in each hand, would that be okay???

    If I really could only take two, I would have to choose 2 of the 4 personal pieces I’ve done about my family. They include text, transferred photos and painting. If I could only choose 2, I’d take the one I did last summer of my Dad, it’s about the progress of his Alzheimers disease. I haven’t even photographed it yet.

    The other would be of my son, Mathew, documenting his time in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit after he was born prematurely. It also includes transferred photographs, text and paint.

    Such an awful thought, though. I guess it would be smart to salt away paintings in several different storage areas, so at least everything wouldn’t be lost.

  13. A few years ago several of my early works were damaged in a flood, so I have some experience with natural disasters. This was so heartbreaking, but it taught me a real lesson to back up my work digitally so I never lose the image completely.

    Choosing just two pieces in this fire scenario would be challenging… I’d go with two of my larger original pieces, “Lone Cow” and “Makalani.”

    I try to keep my paintings in rotation, so they are in various galleries, cafes, hotels, or with a family member… don’t keep all your precious “eggs” (paintings) in one “basket” (studio)!!!

  14. Easy. I’d grab the backup external harddrive that has all my photographs on it. Of course, I already have a second harddrive in the fire safe, so I’d probably just hightail it out of here.

  15. This is such an interesting question because I live in hurricane country. I have prepped for disasters quite a few times. I can honestly say, I have never counted my art into the mix of what I wanted to save. Instead, I pick things like my vintage ’40s chenille peacock bedspread or my 106 year old quilt made during a 1903 NH quilting bee. Also, I would want to save a beautiful Mexican retabloesque artwork I own or this Catholic “last rites” alter I have hanging on the wall. These are things I cherish. It isn’t that I value my own art less. I just know from experience, I can always make more art. I can’t recreate the things I mentioned as my treasures.
    Sheree Rensel

  16. After I’m sure my daughter and the pets are safe, I’ll grab my external drive (since most of my work is photo/digital based) and then, I can hear my Orchid Angel and Spirit Guides paintings. These are two highly charged energy works and they are very personal. Yes, I can create something similar again, and yes, the guides have most likely evolved more than a bit since I first painted these, however, these were my first visual interpretations of the energies that I see and feel when I’m paying attention to my true feelings.
    Great question Alyson. Got me to tune in instantly!

  17. This is an interesting question, and the answer would be different on an given day. Today, I think I would take my two pieces that began as collages using different skyline photographs of the city of Atlanta to organize my page. The collage material is primarily from a Arctic Cruise I took a couple of years ago and things that relate to Atlanta (like coca-cola logos, text from Gone with the Wind) and I then painted over it. But, my dogs and my husband would of course come first. And, my husband is a photographer, so he would probably grab the Edward Weston print!

  18. Ha, love this post and all the answers. Gotta agree with Joann Wells on this one! I can make more art, to heck with my stuff. I would grab Lynd Ward’s “God’s Man a Novel in Woodcuts” a stunning first edition book that really belongs to my partner. And I would just make a wild grab for a stack of antique Japanese prints that reside in a flat file. We have so much amazing art by other people, my own stuff would be last on the list.

  19. I’d grab a watercolour postcard a friend made that says we’re kindred spirits and an ACEO by American artist Martha Marshall – I have four though, and am not sure how I’d choose between them. My own work I can make more of.

  20. My partner, my senior mom, my dog and me and out the door we’d go. Art is about living, not dying for it. There isn’t a single piece I’ve done that I would risk my life (or any family member for). Besides, maybe I’ll come back and make great stuff with soot, ashed and water soaked canvases and call it my “Fire” series!

  21. I, too, immediately thought about the art I own from other artists. One is a large oil painting – my first real work of art purchased from another artist. The other would be a collage I made of old pictures of my deceased grandmother.

    Thanks for a thought-provoking question. I believe I would also think to grab family photos – I hope there would be enough time. And, I learned a lot about what to think about when disaster strikes. Don’t keep all your eggs (art) in one basket; have a hard drive backup on your computer and grab it; know you cannot return to the building once the fire department gets there; and finally, there is nothing more important thank just getting out alive!

  22. Pingback: My Art Featured on the ArtBizBlog « Marilyn Fenn Studio

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