Listen to the dialogue and read along.
Nancy: Finally! After dating for years, I’m moving into your apartment!
Chuck: Yep, you’re moving in.
Nancy: It’s exciting to start something new. And let’s begin by getting your apartment organized.
Chuck: It’s really not that bad now.
Nancy: Okay, silly. Whatever you say. I need a place to hang my parents’ picture. Oooh. I know – I’ll just remove this thing.
Chuck: Whoa! Careful with that. It’s worth a lot.
Nancy: This junk?
Chuck: It’s NOT junk. It’s an original piece of art by R.A. Miller.
Nancy: Aria who?
Chuck: R.A. Miller is a famous folk artist. He’s from an area of the U.S. called the Deep South which includes states like Georgia and Alabama. But though he came from a small town, his work is popular with collectors around the world.
Nancy: Why? It’s just paint on old tin and wood. This probably didn’t cost anything to make.
Chuck: It didn’t. He wasn’t exactly broke, but he still used whatever materials he found. Art is more than the cost of what it’s made of. It’s how it makes the viewer feel. Though R.A. repeated many of the same images in his pieces, he was quite flexible with his creations. He made his work fit whatever materials he had available, and he let those found materials be part of the piece’s message.
Nancy: Why is that impressive?
Chuck: It’s like jazz music; you improvise to make something new using only what you have and how you feel.
Nancy: So? Children create things the same way that look kind of like… this.
Chuck: Exactly! He didn’t become an artist until he was elderly. And yet his work was so simple and fun that it looked like a child had done it.
Nancy: So, where did you get this?
Chuck: I bought it from him years ago. He displayed this piece in his front yard to greet people passing by.
Nancy: But you said he was famous. If so, then why would he still use free materials he found? Couldn’t he just have bought materials with the money he made?
Chuck: Not really, because he foolishly sold his pieces for very little money. His love of art was never about the money. He used it to express himself. Even until he died, he lived a simple life, almost in poverty.
Nancy: Oh, how sad. Okay, Mr. Miller’s art will stay exactly where it is. But that beer poster with the girl in the bikini has got to come down.
Chuck: But, it’s a classic!