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Arts: Collector

Christian Burch

+ Written by Alisan Peters
+ Photography by David Agnello

Longtime resident and artist Christian Burch is a self-taught painter, award-winning author and a hardworking teacher who encourages children to develop their creative impulse. When he turns his eye to his own environment, the resulting collection of unusual furnishings—fine art, classic photography, vintage objects, well-worn antiques—is arranged with a wry wink and a nod toward homey comfort. “My style is less modern, maybe more masculine, like an old bar or men’s club, and has been collected over the last 15 years,” Burch says.

Wall Display

1. Moose Antlers

These came from a cabin in Kansas that my grandparents had bought in the ’40s. My grandma, Nonnie, was selling the cabin after my granddad died, and she asked if I wanted anything. I opted for these antlers and added an old beaver-fur hat, also from the family.

2. Piggott

This Mike Piggott painting moved in with my partner, John. Originally, I had picked it up from a gallery in town, and it lived with me for about a week. Then John bought it and hung it at his house. When he moved in, it came with him. The title is “After Andy’s Party.” I like it, especially because of our coffee table [#6].

3. Doctor’s Table

A doctor from Caney, Kansas, used this as his examining table before my dad salvaged it. He kept it in the barn for years, stored dog food on it. I’m glad it came my way.

Wall Display

 

Living Space

Living Space

4. Art & Photography Wall

I like to collect local artists like Ryan Hayworth, Mike Piggott, Carrie Geraci and Henry Dombey. But Georgia-based photographer Chip Simons produces photographs that have a dark, fairy-tale quality to them. The fellow in this shot is riding a BMW across an open field. He’s decked out in a tuxedo jacket, a top hat and a bunny mask.

5. Chair

This guy in Salt Lake City was rehabbing old warehouse buildings. I met up with him and went to see this chair, sat in it and went right to the floor. He made me a screaming deal, so here it sits. I like that it has a history that I don’t know. Maybe it sat on someone’s porch; maybe they smoked cigarettes in it. But it’s very comfortable and at least 50 years old.

6. Coffee Table

Local artist Ben Roth made this metal-topped table early in his career. It’s been in every one of my houses in Jackson. Part of his plan with it was that he didn’t treat the metal, so it has a patina that becomes more and more interesting over time, what with the many rings left from drinking glasses. It’s a reminder of parties and late nights.

Mix Old & New

7. Bar Chest

I love being able to mix old pieces with new ones. This metal chest was maybe a kitchen piece from India. The slots at the bottom were for holding dishes. There are locks on the cabinet doors to protect food staples and a rack on the side that probably held knives. I love the rusty quality of it, and it has more personality because of the life it had before I came into contact with it.

8. Michael Eastman Photograph

Focused on the face of a Rodin sculpture, this Michael Eastman photograph has a shimmery, silvered quality. It fascinates me that someone took a photo of someone else’s work and reinterpreted it through their own style.

Mix Old & New

 

The Unknown

The Unknown

9. Unknown Painting

Sometimes you just find stuff. This is from a used furniture store in Salt Lake City. I picked it up for $35 because the shop owner didn’t think it was worth anything. I think it’s really beautiful, and part of that beauty is that it’s a man standing in his kitchen, a kitchen that has the same layout as mine. But it’s a mess, a stark contrast to how I live. I have no idea who the artist is, but the medium is acrylic on board.

Sculpture

10. Sculpture

“Finger Through Her Belt Loop” is by Kara Roschi, of Phoenix. She held a show of these delicate sculptures, all focused on the egg as a symbol of the fragility of relationships. The eggshell is not secured by the twine, and if you bump it, the shell will fall and shatter. So the sculpture came with a carton of a dozen blown-out eggshells. Come to find out that inside each one is a little note. The first one that got broken, the note said, “We convinced her to stay.” It gives us something to look forward to.

Sculpture

 

Contrast

Contrast

11. Army Medicine Cabinet

This glass-and-metal chest came from a military hospital in Idaho. The bottom part has markers for storing basins and other supplies. We use it for towels, guest soaps and keepsakes. I really like the contrast of the softness of the towels with the metal.

12. Whodunnit?

Whodunnit? is a great fundraiser where local artists are each given the same-size canvas on which to create their own piece of art. Aaron Bowles came up with this black canvas and working zipper. When you open the zipper, it says, “What were you expecting to find?”
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