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Home / Articles / Arts / Urban Scout /  Finding affordable art and design at Art San Diego
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Wednesday, Sep 05, 2012

Finding affordable art and design at Art San Diego

Product Porch and Objects USA peddle cool goods that won't break the bank

By Alex Zaragoza
urbanscout Orange & Park’s mapcentric prints

The Art San Diego Contemporary Art Fair happens Thursday, Sept. 6, through Sunday, Sept. 9, at Balboa Park. While the art fair is a chance to see some of the beautiful work by local and international artists, it also gives artsy-fartsy types a chance to augment their fine-art collections.

Let’s be real. Most of us can’t drop $10,000 on a new kidney, let alone a beautiful painting for the guest room, which is really just the living room with sheets over the couch. With all the gorgeous pieces that’ll be on sale, surely there are a few that a regular Joe or Jane can afford, right?

As part of the art fair’s Art Labs—on- or off-site exhibitions that seek to do more than just display art, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego’s bringing back Product Porch, a pop-up store that will sell goods by local and international designers. Located at MCASD’s Downtown location (1001 Kettner Blvd.), the shop will feature furniture, artwork, design pieces and accessories. Some highlights at Product Porch:

• Posters by Orange & Park: David Klinker and John McCauley, the guys behind this Coronado-based design company, love maps, the beach and typography. These three elements combine in their simple, bold and elegant posters featuring California’s coastal cities. For locals, there’s a San Diego version, too.

Bajaus’ indoor / outdoor rocking chair


• Indoor / outdoor furniture by Bajaus: Bajaus calls Tijuana home—its name is a cheeky homage to Baja California and the Bauhaus movement. Their minimalist Acapulco Rocker rocking chair caught my eye—perfect for a patio or an nursery. 

• Welcome Companions’ wagons: Laurel Broughton takes humble canvas bags and attaches two pairs of wheels and a handle for a stylish way to transport groceries and small children.

• Prints by John Bauer: Bauer, a San Diego native who lives in L.A., creates dark-and-edgy abstract, monochromatic works that are interesting enough to be conversation pieces but can also blend into the background.

• Elyse Graham’s “drip” bracelets: Dipped in urethane, these bracelets evoke everything from twigs to white-chocolate-covered pretzels and look cool stacked high.

Another Art Lab is Maximum SD Vintage, a curated shop by Dave Hampton from Objects USA, an online midcentury-modern art dealer. Here is where you go if you want higher-end vintage pieces that are not only beautiful, but also a piece of modern-design history. Hampton is selling work by six San Diego artists, as well as coveted Charles Eames furniture.

You may need to bring a couple credit cards, since the goods here will range from $1,000 to $4,000. However, these pieces are lifers. Expect interesting sculptures by James Hubbell and art from Russell Baldwin, Fred Holle and Sheldon Kirby. The Baldwin piece titled, “William,” with its geometric shape and bright colors, is everything Ikea strives to be minus the mass-produced quality. Hampton’s bringing pieces that not only tell San Diego’s design history but also have gone unseen in decades.

“This is my chance to bring their work back into the context of an interesting art fair,” Hampton says. “They did things in the ’60s that people are repeating today. It’s like you’re rediscovering something. Stuff looks cool now in today’s art world. It holds its own.”

That sounds dangerous to your bank account, but it’s well worth the investment.

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