Every Monday at the Unique on Halsted is half-price day. It’s kind of a zoo with aggressive bargain hunters but I brave it every few weeks. It helps that all I ever look for is frames and canvases.

Thrift-store shoppers are a taciturn bunch for the most part. Many act like sleepwalkers barely aware of anyone or anything but what they’re looking for. Navigating around them feels like intruding in their space even though it’s no more theirs than mine. Full-price stores don’t have this vibe and yet I enjoy visits to the thrift store so much more. There’s an anarchic treasure-hunt thing to these places that’s entirely absent in the ones that sell new things.

Almost every frame in my Firecat show comes from Unique and all the canvases I’ve painted views around my house this year definitely do. The paintings that were on them before I gessoed them over were mostly amateur stuff. People learning to paint or the result of a visit to one of those awful paint-and-drink places. I never pay more than $10.

For frames, I’ll sometimes make an exception. The one in the top photo was listed at $49.99 but it was Monday, so half off. It’s around 30×40 inches and I had the cashier hold it so I could race home and attach the surfboard rack I use to transport art by bike to get it home. The running around was worth it when I found that it fit an old drawing of the Rainbo almost perfectly.

I like to think that whatever history is attached to these frames and canvases adds a patina—or layer of something or other—to whatever I use them for. It’s not quite the blank slate that new material is. Perhaps it’s baggage but I like the idea of reuse or rebirth. It’s the same thing that’s at play in so much of the collage business I’ve immersed myself in. An attempt to make old things run or sing again.

Good chance I’ll be at Unique later today seeing as it’s Monday. You’ll find me by the frames.

I talked with Mallory about a really dumb movie called The Relic, set at the Field Museum here in Chicago. Was a pretty good talk anyway.

Went to a reading at Bric-a-Brac Records and all I got were these lousy drawings.