Favorite Things

Tim Lane and his art collection

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Tim Lane is an athletic specialist for the City of East Lansing and the assistant coordinator of the East Lansing Art Festival. He is a husband and father. Aside from that, Lane is also an artist, writer and poet—and his favorite thing fully reflects that creative passion.

My wife and I have lived on the East Side of Lansing for 25 years. We rented for a couple of years before buying a house. Once the house was bought, we began collecting artwork.

In the summer of 2017, the sink in our upstairs bathroom malfunctioned. Over the course of an unsuspecting night, water filled the upstairs and began to work its way to the ground floor and basement through the ducts, outlets, stairs and ceiling. The place was a water park, and we were ultimately displaced for six months.

Miraculously, very little of the artwork hanging on our walls was damaged. A few pieces were. Several pieces had to go. Over the years, our personal art collection has become one of my favorite things.

Our collection began with a couple of pieces I had inherited from my aunt who was a graphic artist. One year, early on, we spent our income tax return on a series of collages our good friend, Detroit artist Teresa Petersen, had made. We established a relationship with Patrick Turner and began to collect his work, as well, around this time. Turner was an artist from Milwaukee who had won awards at the East Lansing Art Festival.

Sometimes artists trade work. As an artist, myself, I have traded work with artists who have become some of my good friends. We have a Travis Black in our dining room, an Aaron Curtner in our living room — both local, homegrown artists. I have a beautiful allegorical painting of a winter woods in my work office that was painted by Mike Clark of Silver Spring, Maryland.

One of our largest paintings is a painting by Jayme Theis. Jayme and I had a two-person show at Otherwise Art Gallery in Old Town back in 2003. When the show ended, Jayme and I traded. The trade commemorates my first exhibition of paintings. Prior to that, my first show had been an exhibition of collages at Todd Mack’s, where I befriended Alison Alfredson, another exceptional local artist.

One day, a large package arrived. It turned out to be a portrait of me that our friend, Mike Clark, had painted from a photo. I had no idea he had been working on it. I was speechless.

Our most recent acquisitions are two prints by Pete Martens, a local printmaker. I bought them for my wife on our 25th wedding anniversary. One print echoes our love of Lake Michigan — the other depicts the Michigan State University Chapel, where we were married.

When our house flooded, we had to pack quickly. There was no time for a ton of organization. Boxes were stuffed in various safe places. For the past three years, we have been searching for the box where we stored a sculptural piece by local artist Ingrid Blixt. We finally found it just last week. It was in the attic. Once on the upright piano in the living room, it is now on the Art Deco chifforobe in our dining room.

(Favorite Things was edited by Rich Tupica)

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