Bill, my Art-Buddy

  William Bayer (left) is an internationally-renowned crime author. His novels have been translated into a dozen languages, his books have been transformed into television movies, and he has won numerous awards for his writing. He is also my Art Buddy.

Once a month, Bill and I go on various art adventures; galleries, private collections, or museums. Our gatherings involve lunch while we catch up on local chit-chat and gossip, plans and projects, and our respective artistic endeavors. Then we head out for several hours to the splendor of our eyes and minds and souls. We are cut from the same cloth, Bill and I are: Lovers of many mediums, aficionados of emotive arrangement, debaters of classical forms, or simply gluttons of the primal desire for beauty…

He is a man with exquisite and discerning taste. When I first met him — through his wife, Paula Wolfert — I was taken with his stunning collection of Art Deco silver, North African bedouin curved daggers, and a voluminous collection of over-sized film noir one-sheets (movie posters). How could I not be star-struck? We shared a love of film which for him, I’m sure began being raised by an Oscar-nominated screenwriter, Eleanor Perry. We bonded early over our love of films when he learned I was *trying* to explain to some online foodie community ignoramuses that Casablanca was NOT a noir film. It turned out that he had not only written numerous crime novels, but one specifically close to my heart, THE GREAT MOVIES:In Cinema History, 60 Films Deserve to be Called.

Bill is a man with impeccable style, elegantly donning his
Italian-made dress shirts or stunning, seven-fold silk ties. He has
long since divested himself of his silver Deco collection ("too much
polishing," he sagely advises), but is now obsessed with collecting modern Japanese
ceramics. It was this mania which started him into taking some clay classes himself but also led us to our latest Art Adventure, the San Francisco Arts of the Pacific Asia Show. Bill’s enthusiasm for clay has rubbed off on me to a small extent as we spent considerable time at the only vendor within the show offering modern Japanese clay on a large scale, Randall Morris of Cavin-Morris Gallery. It was great fun listening to them banter their knowledge of this artist and that artist, but through it all, I couldn’t take my eyes off a particular piece by Tim Rowan:

We wandered the rest of the show but I was haunted by the interior spikes and the colors on the finish. The pins were viscerally inviting and the wood-fired spectrum was warm and enticing. It didn’t take long for Bill to convince me — or maybe I had already convinced myself — to bring this piece home…

From another previous discussion, Bill encouraged me to attend a special exhibit last year at the Asian Art Museum to see the Masters of Bamboo: Japanese Baskets and Sculpture from the Costen Collection. This exhibit was last May and I have been completely enthralled with various forms of artistic weaving since then. I took a week-long jewelry class from the California Living Treasure Arline Fisch author of Textile Techniques in Metal, at the Revere Academy. For over six months I have been pondering these intricate, amazingly woven pieces of art and at the Asian Arts Festival, succumbed to *those* desires with the acquisition of a piece by Honda Syoryu, represented by Tai Gallery (although mine being the exact same form but in black):

502a78c283024133bbf0819ac022aa41Bill is more than my Art Buddy. Besides important lessons in art acquisition ("better to buy one really good piece than lots of mediocre ones"), there have been poignant moments of affection from a gentleman who has offered a fatherly surrogate to one who lost her own father several years ago. Thank you, Bill. For everything…

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