Accidental Art

Sometimes art shows up where you least expect it and where nobody intended it. I think it's art nonetheless.

7/2/10 - In rustic Central City, Colorado an establishment known as the Teller House Bar caters to tourists by the thousands. The bar's claim to fame is the ghostly image of a woman painted on the creaky wood floor, which is popularly called "The Face on the Barroom Floor."

Face on the barroom floorI saw it with my parents on one of their forays into Colorado when I was four or five years old. I remember the lady as a blonde, but nowhere on the Internet does a reproduction of the painting exist that shows her with yellow tresses. I also remember her expression as more benign than it apparently is, without the furrowed brow and suspicious eyes with their dual-focus gaze. Oh well. If that's what the Internet says she looks like, it must be true.

Face on the bathroom floorWhen Ted and I first arrived in New Mexico, we lived for a while in a neighbor's home. The ceramic tiles in the floors there bore random streaks and spots, intended to mimic the natural striations in stone.

One tile, located in a spot where you can't help but see it because it is a few inches away from your feet as you spend a certain amount of personal time on a seat above it, has this comical image--a face on the bathroom floor.

It's fitting that a New Mexico bathroom would continue a western tradition by providing the face of a cowboy with quirky features--a funny hat, Teddy Roosevelt glasses, and a wide-open big mouth (presumably for yodeling at the high plains moon or hollering at beeves), and a bandana at his chin.

Face on the bathroom floorIn case your imagination isn't given over to absurdities the way mine is, I've outlined the cowboy in the image at right.

5/28/11 - When you're as weird as I am--and you know it, as I do--it's a considerable relief to discover you're not the only one.

Turns out that others know about and appreciate accidental art. Years ago I found this eloquent definition: Accidental art is . . . anything that achieves an aesthetic or creative expression without the original intention of doing so.

Wish I'd said that.