When my brother and I were but youngsters, we rode our bike’s a couple of miles from our family home in the Spokane Valley, to where our Aunt Donna lived. Aunt Donna was very artistic, and she taught art lessons in the summers, seemingly primarily to our extended family of cousins (my Dad’s five brothers and two sisters produced a lot of cousins)!
While none of us cousins became artists, it did give us an appreciation and eye for things which others may not see. Personally, I am in awe of many artists who can take a blank canvas, chunk of stone, or everyday items, and craft a thing of beauty from them.
At the corner of Illinois 97 and Mill Street in Salisbury is the pole barn (and gallery) of renowned folk artist George Colin. Colin’s studio is a converted one-car garage pole building which he has used for his painting for the past three decades.
84 years old, Colin speaks with huge admiration of his parents. His father was a coal miner. Stored in Colin’s pole barn is a caricature of him which evokes memories of a smaller, realistic painting he made in the 1970’s of him sweating blood out of his eyes. This particular painting sold for $18,000!
Oprah and Michael Jordan have owned Colin’s artwork. In 1998 he illustrated the album cover of “Jubilation” by The Band (with guest guitarist Eric Clapton). His work has been displayed at the Smithsonian and the American Folk Art Museum in New York City.
No matter what form of art or creative works one may aspire to, a pole barn could very well be the solution. With a low investment and some sweat equity, even a previously unskilled person can successfully construct for themselves a beautiful pole building which can become the home of a myriad of possibilities, limited only by the imagination of the artist!