On this bargain-hunting Wednesday, a note concerning one hell of a steal for art collectors: From 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on August 16, Jeff Scott's going to unload a major hunk of his Elvis Presley artwork at Studio 1019. One reason: Scott had been showing in Gerald Peters Gallery, but its shuttering in February -- a victim of the economy -- left the artist without a venue in which to offer his work, much of which was featured in his 2005 book Elvis: The Personal Archives culled from days and weeks spent photographing Presley's most intimate trinkets, from his gun to his cologne collection.
At the same time, two other home-away-from-homes, in Austin and Memphis, likewise shut down, and rather than seek new venues in which to show and sell, Scott thought it best to take his art directly to the customers. If nothing else, it cuts out the commissions and allows collectors to buy items for, well, let's say quarters on the dollar. The piece titled TV With a Bullet Hole, which does indeed feature Elvis's infamous shot-out television set and once sold for $10,000, will be available for $3,500; and Visionary, which graced the book's cover and is one of the larger pieces in the collection, has been marked down to the low, low price of $1,000.
"It's where the economy is: Customers don't have to pay the gallery fee, and this way, the artist can stay afloat. Frankly, it's what I've been doing the last three, four months, and business has been thriving," Scott tells Unfair Park. "People will spend money if they can see value in this economy."
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Scott's work is beloved amongst Elvis fetishists: It's been displayed not only locally, but for a time hung in the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. But he's also a must-have amongst serious collectors, as Scott's work can be found in the permanent collections at the Dallas Museum of Art, The Smithsonian Institution and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
It's the Elvis work for which he's best known, a result of his being given exclusive access to "every single thing he had in his life, except his bedroom," Scott says. The idea was, if Scott could turn everyday items into art, perhaps he could "use them as a window into the private world people don't see, which reflects Elvis. So I've taken the badge and his pistol and driver's license and allowed us to connect with him as a human being, and I've been fortunate to show in some major museums."
And now, for those who can afford to spend a little less than a whole lot, that work can hang in the house -- that's a nice spot, above the couch there. Says Scott, nothing will sell for more than $3,500, and there are deals to be had.
"They're not meant to be in the studio," Scott says. "They're meant to be in people's homes."