Wednesday, February 17, 2016


To my knowledge, I have never told this story on my blog. I'm not even sure I've told people in real life. It's time. My shame can no longer be contained.

This painting is probably the only piece of legitimate art I have in my house.

I love this painting. I am not usually a fan of this style, but something about it just spoke to me. It also was a perfect match for the wall color in my office.  It doesn't look like it in the picture, but it compliments  beautifully. I've had it for almost 10 years.

My problem is that I only own it because I stole it.

I didn't mean to steal it.  I didn't even realize I had stolen it, at the time.

When I was in college getting my art degree, we had a very small art building. That's not so unusual at a college that's main purpose is churning out astrophysicists and engineers, but because of that, space was kind of an issue. When I came back to school for my last year, I walked into the lounge area of the building and saw that a lot of projects were piled everywhere. Mostly it was drawings, but there were a couple of paintings and this one caught my eye. The frame was peeling and there was a hole in the canvas, but I immediately wanted it. I couldn't read the signature, and I didn't know anyone in painting classes anyway, so I went to the office and asked the lady in there who the art belonged to and why it was in the lounge. I don't remember her exact words, but I do remember she basically said it didn't belong to anyone and was art that had been graded and that students had left behind over the summer. I know I asked her again if it belonged to anyone, and I know she said no.  Trust me, I'm way too paranoid to just assume something is free to be taken.  So I went and got the painting and took it home.  Over that semester, when art would get piled into the lounge, I'd sift through it and take stuff I liked.  Free art!  Woo!

My last semester of school, I walked into the lounge to see if anything interesting had been left in there over the break. The room was completely bare of any art. I was disappointed, of course, but I didn't think much of it until later on when I overheard someone asking where last semester's projects were being kept, and heard the reply that they were now in a locked room because stuff had gone missing.


I literally had no idea that the artwork that I was taking wasn't just left over, it was final project type stuff, which is usually a big deal and had been left there over the summer because it was being graded and there was no other place to put them! I had just been going in there and taking whatever I wanted, when there was a pretty good chance that the artist didn't get a chance to decide if they wanted to keep it or not!  Without realizing it, I was Thomas Crowning the sh*t out of the art department.  I almost died, right then and there, and in a perfect world I would have confessed and brought everything back. I didn't. I was too embarrassed.  I think I just went home and got rid of everything I hadn't given away, except for that painting.

It's still hanging on my wall in the same place it's been this whole time. Judging me.

Now you know that, at one point in my life, I was a prolific art thief and I never got caught!

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