Peculiar Paintings Found In Second-Hand Shops That Prove Art Is Subjective

By Jhoana C July 14, 2021

The internet is a repository of all sorts of things, some conventional and others just downright weird and uncanny. If you have ever tried delving deep and going down the rabbit hole of the Internet, you’ll understand exactly what we mean. The real world is full of oddities, too, but even they have a place online. When something is weird enough, people can’t help but share it online.

For this article, we compiled a list of “terrible” art finds people stumbled upon at charity shops. All the artworks we have on this list may not fetch millions in auctions, but they are nothing short of quirky, unique, and sometimes ugly. They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and we can only hope that these one-of-a-kind pieces found a home among equally wacky décor.

What happened to the cow’s neck?

Creativity and artistry are subjective. What seems very nice to some people may not be as beautiful to others, and a case in point is this painting of a cow. First of all, we want to ask what happened to the cow’s neck?

Image courtesy of Susan Flack/Facebook

It doesn’t seem to be a malnourished cow judging from the cow’s body, so the issue here is with the neck. Did something cause its neck to wither away and become the size of a pencil? Other than that, we think this is quite a decent painting of a cow.

Why are they sad?

This portrait begs the question of why both Mickey Mouse and the little child are sad? The child doesn’t seem taken care of, and there’s a big chance that this child might have even been left in the streets to fend for himself or herself.

Image courtesy of Capt Clarkers/Facebook

Perhaps the child was traumatized by the mouse that’s more than the regular-sized one you often found in your homes and the streets? Do you think it would make sense to hang this in the nursery? We will let you decide on that.

What happened to the Little Mermaid?

When the Little Mermaid is mentioned, most people think of the beautiful Ariel with red hair and exquisite singing voice, so we’re curious to know what happened to this version of the Little Mermaid found in a charity shop Shabitat, Brighton, UK.

Image courtesy of Nitrous McBread/Facebook

Not only has she lost her face, but her spine is also sticking out of her body, and she has a huge and nasty pimple on her shoulder too. Has life been that hard for her? Where is King Triton? He should rescue his daughter quickly.

The modern version of Nero

Those familiar with Roman history would know about Nero, the Roman emperor, who was said to have played around while Rome burned to the ground. This portrait is a modern interpretation of that. Instead of a guy, what you see is a girl playing what looks like the violin.

Image courtesy of Nelson Murray/Facebook

She seems to have paid no attention to the burning shed because she is having a good time and she doesn’t seem saddened at all. Called “The Fiddling Hippie,” this was on sale at Chechalis, WA. for only $2.99. Do you think it’s a good bargain?

Logan, who?

Anyone who’s a fan of The X-Men or Marvel Comics knows that Wolverine or Logan is one of the most popular characters. The guy who’s made of the strongest metal in the world, adamantium. He doesn’t age and can heal himself faster than any human.

Image courtesy of Luke Clover/Facebook

But, the Wolverine we see in this portrait looks sickly. There seems to be something wrong with his nose, and he doesn’t seem ok at all. Professor Xavier should check him quickly as many people pointed out that he looks constipated here.

What is the child screaming about?

Now, this is something inappropriate for the nursery, dining room, or living room. We have only one question for this portrait, and that is: What is the child screaming about? Did she not get enough candies? Did her parents scold her?

Image courtesy of Vickie Selvey/Facebook

Is she hungry? Many things are going through our minds, and we don’t seem to be getting an answer anytime soon. The little child sure looks like Honey BooBoo, though. Was she the inspiration for the artist who painted this?

Zombie Tom Jones

Is this what people will look like when the zombie apocalypse happens? It’s not a good look at all, but when you’re a zombie, would you even care about your appearance? We didn’t think so too. This painting is for sale at a charity shop in Severn Hospice, Machynlleth.

Image courtesy of Louise Bond/Facebook

This is either Tom Jones as a zombie, or it could be the love child of Tom Jones and Michael Jackson with a little bit of the Hulk mixed in with whoever inherited the distinct red leather jacket worn in the Thriller music video.

We think this one is funny

Some artworks are just terrible, but we think this one doesn’t belong in that category. We think it’s cute and it made us laugh, and for the price of only £1.49, it’s worth it. The humor is simple, and everyone gets it.

Image courtesy of Alex Thurley-Ratcliff/Facebook

This should hang in a little child’s room to show them that this is something they should aspire to be. No one wants spoiled milk, whether figuratively or literally. We know of quite a few people who want to get their hands on this.

A poor version of The Raven

“Other friends have flown before — On the morrow, he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before.” Quoted straight from “The Raven.” This is perhaps the most famous line from Edgar Allan Poe’s immortal poem, so we had to throw this in here.

Image courtesy of Tori Elle/Facebook

When we saw this painting, that poem was the first thing that came to mind. However, we can’t help but think that this is the poor man’s version of “The Raven” because it looks worse than what we had in mind. But, we’d get this because it’s only £10.

The dog’s had a pretty ‘ruff’ day

This one’s got some clever humor, and we like the wordplay. This is something we could splurge our £1.60 on without feeling guilty. From the looks of things, the dog has had a pretty “ruff” day, so jumping in the shower is the most sensible thing to do.

Image courtesy of Mick Terry/Facebook

Look at him singing his blues away while facing the vinyl curtain. Paul Anka, we daresay, would be very proud of him. The shower is the perfect place to unwind and practice your windpipes at the same time. At least we do!

This is a gem

This is one cute painting, and we wouldn’t mind paying $3.99 for it. We’d willingly pay $10 for it because the dog’s expression is just a gem, and the little kid is one cute guy. We think we’d look just like that dog if somebody did the same thing to us.

Image courtesy of Shelby Lohr/Facebook

Some people say that it looks like the kid is hurting the dog, but we don’t think so. We think it’s all just innocent play because the dog looks surprised and not hurt. We also love that there seems to be genuine friendship between the two.

The owls with scowls

There are more than 200 species of owls worldwide, and these nocturnal animals mostly hunt small mammals, birds, and insects though some hunt fish. Contrary to popular belief, owls can’t turn their heads at 360 degrees. The most they can do is only 270 degrees.

Image courtesy of Nelson Murray/Facebook

This portrait looks like a nice representation of the animals that people believed to symbolize wisdom. However, they seem not to be pleased by something, judging from the scowls on their faces. It’s the owls with the scowls found in a thrift store in Washington.

There is something creepy about this portrait

M.R. James is a master in horror stories, and he remains one of our favorites in the genre. This eerie painting reminds us of one of his most popular stories, The Mezzotint. It’s about a disturbing engraving that changes each time the protagonist and his friends look at it.

Image courtesy of Graham Jupp/Facebook

Although this isn’t exactly an engraving, the creepy vibe it gives us is reminiscent of how we feel about The Mezzotint. It seems that each time we look at it, the three nuns in the middle seem to be creeping closer and closer to us.

An arachnophobe’s nightmare

The irrational fear of spiders is called arachnophobia, and this picture looks like it’s going to trigger exactly that in some people who really hate spiders. It looks like the back of a hairy tarantula with numerous spider eggs ready to hatch anytime now.

Image courtesy of Karien Wolf/Facebook

We don’t know exactly what it is, but it looks like something that’s not pleasant at all. Some people on the Internet said it looks like a mammalian carcass that’s been infected by maggots. This is an artwork which we wouldn’t be buying.

A load of bull

This is a load of bull we wouldn’t mind decorating our wall with. This pretty artwork reminds us of Warhol’s pop-art graphics, and we’d like to know what was going on in the artist’s brain when he made this. Did the other cow get lost?

Image courtesy of Wayne Sanders/Facebook

Is he revolting against his friends? What led him to stray from the herd? Did they have an argument of some sort? It seems like something is about to go down. For £3.50, this is something that we’d gladly pay for.

Where are these pigs headed?

What happened that caused these pigs to up and leave their home? Momma pig seems to be having a good time now, but we’re quite sure that after about 500 meters or so, she’ll be complaining about how heavy her little piglets are.

Image courtesy of Jono Le Blancq/Facebook

This portrait was found in Acorn, New Jersey, but it didn’t have any price tag, whatsoever. Did they mean to sell it or just put it out so people can marvel at its uniqueness? We sure do hope that the momma pig and all her piglets got to their destination safely.

I am born out of smelly shoes

We have heard of a phoenix being born from the ashes, but we have never heard of a flying horse being born out of sneakers and one that looks smelly too. Seriously though, this could be the Pegashoes… There’s just no other way to put it.

Image courtesy of Zoe Billingham/Facebook

This could also be an excellent representation of “horseshoe.” What do you think? Others also pointed out that this could be a passive-aggressive way of letting someone know that they smell like they have just walked the presents that horses leave behind on the ground.

Now this is just disturbing

At first glance, this portrait looks disturbing. What in the world is that guy feeding those children? Further research reveals that this is actually a tradition in the Netherlands, and it’s “koekhappen,” and there is nothing sinister or unusual about it.

Image courtesy of Brian Smith/Facebook

It’s a game for children in which pieces of cake are hung from a rope, and the children, supposedly blindfolded, attempt to bite pieces of the cake. Oh, the things we learn from the Internet, people. And the things we do as kids…*sigh.*

Did she have too much to drink?

This is a decent-looking portrait that was likely done by an advanced amateur, and we admit, we like it. We wouldn’t mind hanging it on the wall of our living room because we’re quite sure that a lot of people would admire it.

Image courtesy of Grant James/Facebook

The lady looks like she has had too much to drink, judging from the number of glasses she has beside her. Or are they just showing them off and waiting for us to compliment them? This painting looks like Leonor Fini, or Gustav Klimt has inspired it.

A piece of toast?

We don’t know of anyone who requires a painting of a toast on their wall, but here’s one if there’s anyone out there who’s searching for one. Most people may be wondering what the black stuff is on the toast. That seems to be vegemite.

Image courtesy of Hanna Sproston/Facebook

Vegemite is a thick, dark brown Australian food spread made from yeast extract from leftover brewers. That may not sound so enticing, but vegemite is a big thing in Australia, and it’s a sort of national institution there. However, it’s an acquired taste.

Inspired by Klimt

If you’re familiar with the works of Gustav Klimt, the Austrian symbolic painter, you’d know right away that he heavily inspired this work of art. It reminds us of one of our favorite paintings, The Kiss. Klimt’s work is distinct in that people can recognize them.

Image courtesy of Kim Whapples/Facebook

This looks like a decent copy of one of Klimt’s works, The Tree of Life. They say it isn’t a good idea to hang reproductions of popular artworks, but we won’t refuse this one. After all, this is only £1.99.

That smile worries us

This is a smile we often see on the faces of psychotic characters on TV, and that’s the reason why it worries us. The smile just looks crazy, as if that person is up to something not good. Feeling psycho might delete later.

Image courtesy of Michelle Pryce/Facebook

We’re not the only one who thinks that way. People on the Internet have also pointed out that the portrait is terrifying. No, we’d pass on this painting because we don’t want to scare people, and we want our friends and relatives to continue visiting us.

The angry kitties

We don’t know what this painting is called, but we’ll give it an appropriate nickname, the Angry Kitties. That was the first thing that came to mind when we saw this artwork, because the kitties don’t look happy at all.

Image courtesy of Karen Lesley Barlow/Facebook

Perhaps they didn’t get their treats, or their pet parent hasn’t been feeding them the brand of cat food they wanted. We could think of so many reasons. It costs only £1.99, but we think that the person who receives it won’t be too pleased.

Psychedelic party owls

We were a little confused with this photo at first glance because the two creatures there looked like owls, but they also looked like panties. This artwork was found in Goodwill in Brendan, Texas, and we think it makes for good wall decor in a child’s room.

Image courtesy of Lisa Hurst/Facebook

Why? Because, for some reason, the eyes of the panty owls, that’s what we’re gonna call it from now on, look like they can easily hypnotize someone to go to sleep fast. Somebody also suggested that the creatures perched on a branch look like diaper owls. We can’t argue with that.

Happy ponies

These ponies are having the time of their lives, and they are dreaming and galloping away the hours away in a meadow with a rainbow in the background. This makes us think if they have already crossed the rainbow bridge yet or not.

Image courtesy of Nelson Murray/Facebook

Have they passed over to the other world? And, was this painting commissioned to honor their memory? It’s not bad, to be honest, but we’d just like to know the context of why this was painted. Or, are we just reading too much into things?

Where are you off to, doggo?

This artwork is quite good, and although it’s not the best angle, the dog does stand out and looks great too. We’re just wondering where the dog is off to? Is there someone calling the dog? Is the dog following someone or something?

Image courtesy of Sam Haley/Facebook

Sometimes, some portraits make you think or wonder. People have pointed out one distracting thing about this artwork, and that’s the prominence of the dog’s behind. We have never paid any attention to it, but now that it has been mentioned, we can’t thank of anything else.

We don’t want to see this at nighttime

We think this is a portrait that seems appropriate for a haunted Victorian house. We imagine a cold, rainy, thunderous, and dark night when everyone is asleep, and the boy in this portrait comes to life. He then proceeds to walk around the house.

Image courtesy of Ian Clark/Facebook

He silently observes the inhabitants as they sleep peacefully, thinking that they are all safe and would be seeing the sunshine in the morrow. The painting just inspires us to create a creepy Victorian ghost story worthy of M.R. James.

Is anyone interested in this?

We know thrift shops are places where old clothes, books, furniture, and other bric-a-bracs go when their owners no longer see the need to keep them, but we’re inclined to think that the sorts of things that go there are mostly generic.

Image courtesy of Vicie Hobbs Mixer/Facebook

However, it seems that other people are keen on donating their self-portraits too. Self-portraits are personal, after all. It’s your face on the canvass, but that didn’t stop this guy from donating or giving away a painting of his younger self.

Speaking of portraits

Since we are talking of portraits, here’s another one. But at least this one is of a prevalent person or someone who used to be very popular before, Ronaldo, the former Brazilian football player. His full name is Ronaldo Luis Nazario de Lima.

Image courtesy of Keeley Page/Facebook

He represented his country in four World Cups and won two of them. He also remains the competition’s all-time leading scorer until today, with 15 goals. That’s quite a feat if you ask us, and that’s quite a portrait. We are not quite sure it fully represents him…

Catch of the day

This is a steal at only £5, and if we saw this, we would pick it up and pay for it without any hesitation. It would be cool if this were original artwork, but we wouldn’t mind if this were a copy because it’s nicely done.

Image courtesy of Paul Hutton/Facebook

Some hawk-eyed people on the Internet pointed out that this is most likely a replica of an Audobon plate. There were originally 435 Audobon copper plates created to print birds of America, and almost all of them were done by Robert Havell Jr.

Fashions for the Ocean Bed

This one looks interesting, and for those that are book worms, this would make a good decoration in the library. This is something we’d get too. Called, Fashions for the Ocean Bed, this was found in Cornwall and had a price tag of £1.

Image courtesy of Adam Carver/Facebook

Sometimes, you can discover treasures for a steal, but we haven’t been as lucky as the guy who found this. This is a cool 1930’s print of the diving suits used from the 1500s to the 1800s, and this is something you don’t see frequently.

Who would buy this?

We’re not big on science, but that’s not the reason why we won’t buy this. We just don’t think that it’s wise to spend even a measly $6 for a framed picture of red blood cells. Sorry, but where’s the fun and the art in that?

Image courtesy of Emma Roth/Facebook

Perhaps a phlebotomist out there would like to take this one and admire this while it’s hanging on their wall? Or perhaps you can gift this to your vampire friend on his 125th birthday? This is such a niche, but it belongs to someone out there.

It’s never too early to drink

We’re not judging these cats because who knows, they might just be having innocent lemonades in fancy glasses. Or, they might have had a very long day at work, and they are trying to unwind and let some steam off.

Image courtesy of Enza Lisanti/Facebook

No, it’s not too early to drink lemonade because it’s 5 pm somewhere in the world. We don’t find the artwork weird, but we do have something to say to whoever is selling it. You will fetch a better price if you clean it.

We like this

We’re not going to deny it, the thought of a possum riding a horse is weird, but we somehow like this very much. It’s colorful, it’s vibrant, and it looks innocent. We see ourselves hanging this in a child’s bedroom.

Image courtesy of Lisa Timmytatts/Facebook

The possum might look like a mouse or a chinchilla to others, but it seems ‘possumy’ to us if that’s even a word. Somehow, we think that this artwork is inspired by the book, Possum Magic, written by Mem Fox.

Look into my eyes

This artwork was found in Garland Avenue Thrift in Dallas, Texas. For only $4.94, you will be able to take it and hang it proudly in your home, but would the huge pink flamingo ruin the décor in your living room?

Image courtesy of Paul Wackym/Facebook

We don’t have an answer to that, but the size of the flamingo’s eyes can be quite distracting or unnerving to some. It’s staring right into your soul. We worry that looking too long at it might prompt you to do something.

This belongs in a horror movie

We could see this painting in one of the Conjuring or Insidious movies. It also looks like it could feel right at home in the Children of the Corn. It’s that horror versatile! This doesn’t belong in a children’s room because it will give the poor babies nightmares.

Image courtesy of Miranda van der Sluis/Facebook

The painting is quite ominous, and it seems that the other figure isn’t helping the other. It looks more like one is harming the other by choking or something. Whatever it is, we’re not taking this home with us, even if they gave us money to do so.

We hope they are all well over there

This painting looks sweet and otherworldly, like it’s out of a dream, and we figure this must have been made for dogs that have already crossed the rainbow bridge and have bidden goodbye to their human families. We have no complaints about it.

Image courtesy of Al Bigg/Facebook

We are wondering why this painting was even submitted under the ‘Terrible Art in Charity Shops’ category because it doesn’t look that terrible to us and other people on the internet. We’d proudly display this in remembrance of beloved dogs.

The petrifying pussycat

This cat is either petrifying or a good cat trying to protect its human family by hissing at something undesirable. Do you know something like the cats in the adaptation of Stephen King’s, Sleepwalkers? After all, ancient Egyptians believed that cats were magical creatures.

Image courtesy of Stephen Radford/Facebook

Simply put, they were life-saving companions to the ancient Egyptians. Because of their belief, they honored their cats by dressing them in jewels and feeding them treats that were fit for royalty. This cat might not be adorned in jewels, but it has a nice portrait.

The price is a bit steep

We included this framed poster or picture on this list because we figured that it might impress someone who is a fan of Wendy Craig. Yes, that’s the name of the face-palming actress. The English actor is best known for her many television appearances.

Image courtesy of Celia Stroud/Facebook

She was most popular for her appearances in various sitcoms, including Butterflies and Not in Front of the Children. We’re wondering if someone got his from Oxfam Totnes. The price seems to be a bit steep even for £1.

What the cluck is that?

This painting might have a deep social message, but we just can’t put our finger on it for the life of us. Is it advocating vegetarianism? Is it fighting for the welfare of chickens everywhere? What are the two girls doing and are they twins?

Image courtesy of Angie Jabine/Facebook

They seem to be pointing accusing fingers at the chicken or the rooster. At this point, we are not even sure. Someone might describe this as a fowl painting, but after looking at it, all we can think of is, what the cluck is going on? Get it?

Do you have room for this?

This looks like it belongs in the home or office of a person who loves to collect stuff from the Medieval Ages. At first, we thought it was a painting but somebody generously pointed out that it’s a brass rubbing from a medieval tomb.

image courtesy of Jxmie May/Facebook

Why would people in the old ages start rubbing tombs of a more or less ordinary person? It looks like this came from the tomb of a deceased friar or someone who belongs to the church. Apparently, this kind of rubbing is hugely popular, and people pay good money for it.

We love this pup

Some guy bought this from Oxfam High Street in Orpington, but when he bought it home, his wife wasn’t impressed by it at all, but we, as well as plenty of other people online, think that it’s a gem. Whoever the artist is, he certainly knows how to draw,

Image courtesy of Graeme Casey/Facebook

He got the anatomy of the pup right, and it has quite an interesting expression on its face too. We don’t know how much the guy paid for this, but we think it’s worth more than the measly prices you get at charity shops.

Rage or trauma in a painting

One look at this painting makes us relive all of the traumatic things we have ever come across in the course of our lives. The red color gives us an impression of anger, hostility, and pain. If the predominant color were something else, maybe we’d feel differently about it.

Image courtesy of James Tickner/Facebook

In a sense, the painting is nightmarish. Other people might not feel the same about it but to each his own. People feel and interpret things differently and that’s the beauty of art; you have the freedom to interpret it in your own way.

Are you sure this is inspirational?

A little sleuthing on the Internet and we found out that the quote on this artwork is by French poet, short story writer, art critic, novelist, and playwright, Guillaume Apollinaire. We don’t know about you, but the poem feels sinister.

Image courtesy of Katie Scott/Facebook

We’re not sure if it was meant to be inspiring, but it comes across just a bit differently. The person in this photo saw this framed artwork at Oxfam Superstore in Oxford for only 99p but he didn’t bring it home with him.

Falling into the abyss

This gives us the frightening feeling of standing on a precipice and falling into the abyss where you just fall and fall and never land anywhere. It makes us unsure of ourselves, and it makes us feel dizzy at the same time.

Image courtesy of Ian Clark/Facebook

But we acknowledge that it’s a good piece of artwork, and if we owned it, we wouldn’t let go of it. You rarely see something like this nowadays, and this is a treasure that’s gonna get passed from one generation to another.