Reinvention is 2020

04 Feb 2020

The power of the retro-fix

By Christine Hall

Richard Armour said, “Hindsight is 20-20.”

Barbara Walters said, “This is 20/20.”

Well I say, “Reinvention is 2020.”

I’ve declared this my new catchphrase because I believe this year holds power in the retro-fix. I see it all around me. In the simplest of terms, I see the power harnessed by people taking something old and turning it into something new. Allow me to explain.

A friend of mine named Renée up-cycles furniture in this way. Her work breathes life into old and worn surfaces. I marvel at her artistry as a finished piece proudly stands with new purpose. The gilded surfaces glow with new delight. The waxed and preserved wood holds secrets in its gleam. Her work inspires me.

The ARTworks Vass artists inspire me. With the installation of the Art-O-Mat, I am reminded that magic can happen when reinvention and a little opportunistic creativity combine. The Art-O-Mat (featured on page 32) is this example in spades. The founder of the art-dispensing machine, from the deep-in-the-old-tobacco city of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, saw opportunity in something old and cast-off. His creative mind saw a second life in a retired cigarette vending machine. The artist in him was looking for a way to sell his work.

One Washington Post reporter shared her perspective of the Art-O-Mat this way: “In the age of public smoking bans, the humble cigarette vending machine seems to have all but outlived its usefulness. Pity not. Under [the] Art-o-Mat, neglected machines are rescued – and rejiggered to dispense contemporary art. Artworks that, one might say, are a breath of fresh air. (The surgeon general would be proud.)”

If a reporter can make resuscitating an old cigarette machine sound like the work of a pet rescue, then you and me, my friend, are capable of reclaiming purpose in things in our lives.

It is inspiring to learn how others are feeding passions or supporting careers through reclaimed means. Their work proves that the tools for reinvention may be right in front of you, or in places where you least expect. Maybe I am being a romantic. But, hold my biscuit. Apparently, I’m
not alone.

Sandhills Farm to Table was inspired by its founders in this same way. (on page 73) A collection of forward-thinkers united to reclaim purpose for an agricultural community that was reinventing itself following the fall of big tobacco. Farmers were looking for a way to vend their new produce yields. The vessel that was created was one built upon people and their
labors — connecting farms to tables in their local communities. And giving a new and invigorating purpose to an old and waning way of life.

If you are open, you too can see the “something more” in the “once useful” around you. What will your new use for an old vessel be in 2020?

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