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Dorothy F Foster Art work


Fearless Collectors—Guest Contributor Joyce Markovics Writes About Her Love of Objects That Speak

Fearless Collectors — Guest Contributor Joyce Markovics Writes About Her Love of Objects That Speak

My neighbor and friend, Joyce Markovics, an award-winning writer of non-fiction children’s books, is also a passionate collector and wonderful storyteller. My husband Doug is also a passionate collector and arranger of objects. Accumulating things implies that there is a place, a safe place for them, like a home. As a child of parents who were on the run from pogroms, collecting anything is considered excess baggage or potentially dangerous. My mother’s justification for this, You come into this world with nothing, and you leave with nothing.” It took me a while to understand Joyce’s and Doug’s comfort and joy in their hunt, discovery and willingness to reveal themselves through their finds. Rochelle Udell

Not Finding Turtles: Objects That Speak by Joyce Markovics

A friend once told me, When you look for turtles, you find turtles.” Ive broadened my search to include stuff I dont even know Im looking for. Things — especially old and curious objects — speak to me. First, they whisper ever so slightly. Then, they sternly call my name. Finally, they scream like a siren, and I happily succumb. I find these things at rummage sales, thrift shops and, if Im particularly lucky, on the curb. Its like the objects want me as much as I want them. I believe they want to tell me their stories. They want me to feel the heft of their history.

During the summer of 2021 with the pandemic raging, I was in Port Jervis, New York, with my husband and a group of artist and art-loving friends, including Claire, our dear pal who works at an art gallery. We ventured into town. On the main drag was an antique shop going out of business. I could see the objects inside in harmonious disarray. I begged our friends to stop. My husband rolled his eyes. Inside, I swan-dove into the clutter. Our friends did the same, albeit in a more reserved fashion. Soon enough, we had all gathered around a group of ratty photo albums. Flipping them open was a revelation. They contained hundreds of dazzling pencil drawings of elf-like creatures, womens faces and geometric birds on scraps of newspaper, magazines and old cards. They cried out to me with a loud shriek. Each was signed Dorothy F. Foster in lovely cursive script on a strip of masking tape. Dorothy, as it turns out, was a necktie designer who never married, wore straw hats no matter the weather and created thousands of otherworldly drawings. My friends and I scoured through the albums, each selecting our favorites. I paid around $30 for a dozen drawings and framed them as soon as I got home. 

Fast forward several months: Claire, as it turns out, is the associate director at an outsider” art gallery called Fleisher/Ollman in Philadelphia. She ended up acquiring the entire collection of Dorothys drawings, which are now the buzz of the outsider art world. In fact, one of the drawings adorns the poster for this years Outsider Art Fair. And Dorothys pieces are now selling for thousands of dollars. 

The fact that people see the value in Dorothys art is wonderful. Its too bad that Dorothy herself never received such recognition while she was alive. My takeaway from the experience is this: If an object speaks to you and you can afford it, buy it. But please dont buy it because you think its valuable, buy it because it calls you — ever so loudly and persistently — to share its story. 

Note: You can help build a child’s library with Joyce Markovics’ books. The latest series on Black Moviemaker’s, a collaboration with Alrick A. Brown, can be found on Amazon.

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