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Naked Art Gallery bears all
Buying great gifts isn’t a talent everyone possesses. Unless you know that person like the back of your hand- assuming the back of your hand is a close friend of yours- you may be clueless when it comes to hitting up the stores. How about this year you skip the generic mall stores and head somewhere a bit more local? For the fun, artsy and independent spirits and your life, try shopping at Naked Art Gallery.
Located in the Forest Park/South Avondale neighborhood, Naked Art is simply one of the best stores Birmingham has to offer. Native Belgian Veronique “Vero” Vanblaere opened the gallery in the late 1990’s, selling her unique artworks. Her distinctive style paintings are easily recognized in cafes and restaurants all over the city. At Naked Art Gallery, Vero and many other local artists sell their beautiful creations, but they are not just limited to paintings.
Many of the objects for sale are actually wearable. There is a gorgeous, handcrafted jewelry selection, from vintage buttons attached to rings, earrings made from Lego blocks, bottlecap hair clips, bracelets fashioned from Scrabble pieces and necklaces with charms handcrafted from recycled materials such as soda cans. There are also colorful knitted and crocheted scarves and hats which is way more personal and fun than anything you could find at mall stores like Express.
Beyond the jewelry is so much more. Of course, there are paintings here! John Lytle Wilson has a series that will tickle any fan of robots or silliness: traditional serene nature scenes being attacked by colorful robots. Yes, since these are paintings, they will tend to be on the pricey side, but nothing absurdly bankrupting. This could be the perfect addition for the love in your life who has an appreciation for that particular juxtaposition.
You can find handpainted dishes, ceramics, functional art such as tables at Naked Art too. Out back in the covered porch area is the Yard Art section. Have any friends that just moved into a house and have their very own yard? Surprise them with their very own bottletree, made by metal artist Stephanie Dwyer. An adorable four and a half foot bottletree can be purchased for $290, while a seven foot one is $1,200. A bit too expensive? A paper lattern or wind chimes will do just fine. That person who loves robots could maybe use a robot sculpture if you’re willing to spend a little extra. Nah, wind chimes are just as great.
The cool, classic icons of the Steel City are celebrated in many forms and materials here. The Metro skyline, Sloss Furnace and The Vulcan have all been turned into metal stencil wall plates by Eric Johnson, another talented metal artist. There seems to be a lot of local love at Naked Art: The Vulcan is quite literally the butt of many jokes and puns, but lovingly so. You can find his famous fanny on many magnets. The shape of the state is featured on a few jewelry charms, and in felted forms on pins.
So many wonderful things can be found here, and not just for adults. Onesies stitched with the cutest designs for babies, nightlights, and soft little stuffed animals can be precious little gifts.
But this is all just scratching the surface of what can be found at Naked Art, as there is so much more. Mixed medias and usable objects, and the most glorious installation of Christmas ornaments you may ever see. And now through December 24th, Naked Art is celebrating “Kitchmas” which showcases the loveliest little gifts especially for the holiday season. Pictures of artworks and information on the artists are available at NakedArtUSA.com and an online store is available for select works. To get to true experience, visit the gallery located on 3831 Clairmont Avenue in Frorest Park.
Senior Staff Writer