Why I Stopped Drinking & Started Buying Art Instead


I have a complicated relationship with alcohol. While I really enjoy a good craft cocktail or glass of wine every now and then, there’s been times when alcohol wreaked havoc on my life – namely my early 20’s when I used booze to self-medicate; drinking myself into oblivion on a regular basis. It wasn’t that I couldn’t stop drinking – I didn’t want to. I liked the feeling of being out of control. However, after a lot of soul searching, growth and (let’s be real) therapy, I’m much better at setting healthy boundaries.

Although I can have one or two drinks and stop – the urge to just keep drinking is still there (& probably always will be) and it’s unnerving. Last year I slipped back into my old habits for a month and frankly, it scared me. So, combine that with the fact that booze makes me feel terrible in the morning (hangovers when you’re 30+ are no joke); it’s just easier to avoid drinking.

Lately I’m like the opposite of a Drake song: I’ve been working hard, wearing more clothes and going out less. 

The upside of not going for drinks and/or buying wine on a regular basis is that it’s freed up some money to put towards other pursuits – like building up a small art collection. I’m not yet at the place yet where I can buy a lot of original art works (unless they’re made by family members) but I have been investing in prints of pieces I really love.

My taste is art is pretty eclectic, but I’ve noticed that I tend to be drawn to pieces that are bright, modern, pop-art influenced and/or California-esque. I love images of influential women, men, palm trees and pools. Always lots of pools (I blame my grandparents.) Anything quirky and colourful is also fair game.

Here’s some of the artists I’m really into lately.


M. Tony Peralta of The Peralta Project  is a New York born artist that “mixes New York City Latino grit with hip-hop culture to create designs that resonate with people from all walks of life.” The result is art that’s bright, pop-y and irreverant. I just purchased this Frida Con Rolos print and am eyeing up his take on another icon: Selena. He also makes pins & a host of other clothing + accessories!

ki arens prints

Kii Arens is an American contemporary graphic designer, pop-artist best known for his concert prints. He’s created visuals for everyone from Diana Ross to Radiohead. I discovered his work on Instagram and fell in love with his Sade & Lauryn Hill prints (two of my all time favourites.) I visited his LA LA LAND gallery when I was in LA and was able to pick up both for my collection.

Scott listfield prints

Scott Listfield is another artist I love. I discovered his astronaut paintings on Pinterest and have been obsessed ever since. His work is full of pop culture references that beautifully illustrate the feeling of being alive in this time and place – connected yet disconnected. Also, I discovered that he has a painting named Simone (!!!) and used to carry around a small plastic dinosaur (a la Joe the Intern) whenever he’d travel – so, basically I have a major artist-soul-crush on him. I recently added the pieces above to my collection.



I also really enjoy the work of LA-based illustrator Chris Turnham. His work focuses on everyday scenes around Los Angeles that aren’t typically illustrated – like the 6th street viaduct. All of his illustrations have an authentic dusty, smoggy quality. I have his Two Palms (above) but I’m dying to get my hands on his Yuca’s Taco stand print. As someone who recently spent 12 days in LA eating almost nothing but tacos, it feels very…essential. 

Screen Shot 2016-08-03 at 1.04.25 PMMy current big ticket dream purchase? This oversized print by photographer Max Wanger, appropriately titled “The Dip.” Someday it will be mine. Oh yes, someday it will be mine.

In the meantime, I’ve decided to shift my focus to making some art myself. Ever since I saw Judy Ragagli’s work in Palm Springs, I’ve been toying with the idea of turning some of Joe the Intern’s photographs into full sized art pieces.  So, I was happy when the team at BestCanvas.ca got in touch with me. BestCanvas.ca takes your favourite photos and turns them into canvas prints. Whether it’s photos of your wedding, vacation, pets or (in my case) a very muscly GI Joe, BestCanvas.ca transforms your favourite memories into ready to hang art for your home.

When I told Joe about my plans to immortalize his image on canvas, he responded with his own set of demands. (“My one request is that you prominently display my image in a place of leisure – preferably over the bed.”) Joe and I don’t always agree about everything.

While I won’t be hanging Joe’s anywhere in my bedroom (I’m really trying not to alienate future suitors), I do think there’s potential to make some great wall art.

Screen Shot 2016-08-03 at 1.41.08 PM

(photo credit)

What do you guys think?!

This post was brought to you by BestCanvas.ca. All views are my own because that’s how I roll. Thanks for supporting posts that support Skinny Dip. 

  • I think Joe would make a great art subject!!
    I can’t wait to get creative when my home office dream becomes a reality!

    • skinny_dip

      Thanks Kez! Oooh, decorating your home office sounds like a fun project!

  • I love that you’re investing in good art – & girl, you have great taste! I also think it’s a brilliant idea to turn Joe into artwork. I bet you could open an Etsy shop of some of those, truly.

    PS: Remember when I barfed on the floor of our hotel room? Yeah, that was a booze turning point for me…

    • I second this Joe Etsy shop. I’d buy that art!

      • skinny_dip

        YAY! Ok, my Mom just agreed (that’s 3 people!) so it’s totally going to happen. I will keep you posted.

    • skinny_dip

      Thank you Kate! I feel like my taste is really idiosyncratic, so it’s always cool to hear from other people actually think it’s good (& not all over the place & wacky.)

      Oh yes, I remember the unfortunate barfing. I felt so bad for you. But, I also remember the really polite Canadian-esque apology note you left for the house keeper & thinking, “this girl is really nice.” With that said, sometimes we need those turning points, you know?

  • scottlistfield

    Hey! Thanks for posting about my work! It reminded me that I’ll have to get a print out of my Simone piece for you.

    • skinny_dip

      You’re welcome Scott! I’d definitely be interested in a print of your Simone piece.

  • Max Wanger is, hands down, one of my favorite photographers. He is amazingly talented and I’ve been following him for years. I’m so happy to see other people loving his work!

    I’ve also stopped drinking recently (nearly entirely) and I think this is a great way to spend the extra cash. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • skinny_dip

      That’s so cool! I LOVE Max Wanger’s work. I can’t wait to own one of his large scale prints one day.

      And hooray for cutting back on booze. Don’t get me wrong – I still love a good cocktail or glass of wine, but lately it feels good to cut back…not spending money on alcohol frees up a lot of energy & resources.

  • Job’s Wat

    Did you check out Scott Lisfield’s most recent show at Gallery 1988? Some really great pieces in it.

    • skinny_dip

      Sadly I missed it, but I did buy a print of his (the one on the left) at Gallery 1988. I’d love to see some of his original work in person though.