Inspiration and Mentors

Its been a crazy couple weeks working on product development and PR, but I’m gonna step back from all that operations stuff and tell you a bit about my inspiration and why I like collecting art.

First off, I think everyone has an inherent interest in collecting things–any type of thing for that matter. It could be rocks, cards, cars, pottery, etc. When I was younger, I collected everything from sand dollars to sports clippings to baseball and basketball cards (I’m proud to say that I resisted the Pokemon/Digimon fad during my youth). While I finished up my senior year of college,  I realized that as we age, we tend to lose our collections and our desire to collect. What happens? Do we lose the time or money to maintain the habit? Maybe its a product of both, but that doesn’t mean we have to give up our childhood habit altogether. After all, a simple collection doesn’t take much. All you need is an interest, a desire to be curious, and the willingness to learn. Collections are proof that we found something we like, and were compelled to remember it by a physical object.

Many friends and family have inspired my interest in collecting random things.  In particular our neighborhood “mayor” Dr. Larry Thomas and my grandfather Yayo have had the largest impact.

Dr. Larry is always finding wild antiques to fill his “man cave”. A couple of his antiques stick out, one being a confessional and the other being a collection of leather medicine balls. Over the past couple years, Larry has passed along moose hoof book ends, an antler stool, and historic black and white Cornell University (my alma mater) photos, each which I have graciously accepted. From his assorted items, I have learned that seemingly disparate items, together can make a pretty sweet collection. It’s all about finding things you like, and holding on to them.


As for my grandpa Yayo, he passed away… but his collection lives on. He was a gimcrack collector as Yaya, my grandma joked. Gimcrack or not, the collection was fascinating; he had everything from a vintage slot machine to popcorn makers to juke box.

Definitely not in the gimcrack category was his Native American art collection. He worked with the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla in Pendleton, Oregon and had a close relationship with Native artist, James Lavadore. In Yayo’s basement, I can remember playing with a Native American drum with a Northwest Coast design as a young boy. His collection can be seen on display below:

Eagles and Salmon

I guess you could say, I grew up around devoted collectors.  After seeing the beauty and richness of the collections of those that were and are close to me, it is only natural that I should want others to house a similar bit of beauty in their lives too–by starting their own collection.

In my personal life, I have taken notes from both Dr. Larry and Yayo–holding on to objects which signify meaning to me. After all, thanks to Yayo, I grew up around a Native art collection. I saw how significant it was to my grandfather, and from there got interested. Whether it’s the tradition or the craftsmanship, Native art speaks to me.


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One Response to Inspiration and Mentors

  1. Shalaya Williams says:

    I like this one. I guess theres a difference between collecting and being a hoader. Great story Mac.

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