The Level Ground film festival (of which much more soon!) also put together low-key art shows, by choosing the art which decorated the various spaces where we did our book readings and movie panels. The standout for me was Patrick Haemmerlein, especially his collage series: inky, high-contrast trees with scarlet blossoms, in a patchwork canvas with yellowing newspaper and other scrapbook clippings. Sometimes these severe yet cheerful trees would be accompanied by birds, or even a T-Rex, although my personal favorites were the ones with just trees.
You can see examples of Haemmerlein’s work here. Some of it strikes me as way too twee, but some of it is tender and haunting. It was all terrific in person–tactile, scruffy and lived-in in a way that pixels can’t convey. It might still be at (the excellent) Vroman’s bookstore, so you should go check that out if you’re in the Pasadena area, and see if you have $75 or $100 or so to drop on a painting your friends will love. (You should also check out the Vroman’s fiction selection if you haven’t already–just really well-chosen.)