Month: December 2010

My name is Tia Jones-Etu.

When I first met Tia Etu-Jones’ two years ago and saw her work I was impressed by her different choices of medium and themes which the resulting works explore. Not limiting herself to one medium and style has allowed her the freedom to create interactive sculptures, paintings, assemblages, murals and even fullyfunctioning marionettes. In her work it is not uncommon to see found objects, tree branches, twine, paint and other familiar materials used in a way that questions language, art history, memory, urban culture, nature and gender roles, among many other things. These themes and mediums weave together to create stories that allow viewers to dive into complex and self-determined interpretations while appreciating something aesthetically beautiful. Sixty sat down with the Chicago-based artist to learn more about how she got to this moment in her career. Tempestt Hazel: Tell us a bit about your self and your artwork. Tia Jones-Etu: My name is Tia Jones–Etu. I am a graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where I received my B.F.A. I have …

Reflections on the Critique with Kerry James Marshall: Everett Williams

On September 10, 2010 three artists participated in the Open Crit sessions at Hyde Park Art Center. As always, the session is mediated by photographer and HPAC board member Dawoud Bey, and led by an invited artist. This particular session had Kerry James Marshall as the guest critic. Chicago artist Everett Williams was one of the artists that participated in this session and as a follow up to the critique, I asked Williams some questions about his experience. Tempestt Hazel: It takes a lot of courage to present your work in an open forum such as the one you participated in at Hyde Park Art Center, let alone put it in front of a master artist such as Kerry James Marshall. What did you expect to get out of this experience, and why did you think that at this point in your career it was a good idea to do this? Everett Williams: I want my work to be seen with the best, so at this juncture of my career I need feed back from those …

Kicking Off the DIY Craft Season

With all of the commotion surrounding the Renegade Craft Fair this past weekend, it can be easy to forget that Chicago’s second biggest indie craft show was just two weeks ago. November twentieth was the eighth year for the DIYTrunk Show, a fair put annually by the Chicago Craft Mafia. While similar to the Renegade Craft Fair (both events are held at the  Pulaski Field House), the trunk show is somewhat smaller in scale, takes place on one day only, and focuses more on local crafters. The Chicago Craft Mafia organizes the show in order to support the Chicago crafting community. Their passion for craft is laid out in their Craftifesto, which states that craft is powerful, political, personal, and possible At the trunk show I interviewed three very different participants. The first, Paul Snagel, proves that craft is powerful, that is, that the things we want and need can be bought from craftsmen in our own community. Paul rescues vintage objects from obscurity and transforms them into lamps. His interview can be found here. The second, Laura Berger, proves that craft is personal.  Laura shares her charming, quirky …

Fresh South Side Street Art

As of about ten days ago, there’s something new to look at from the left side of the Green Line train when heading north from Garfield. A formerly empty wall has been transformed into a piece of teal, geometric street art. I recommend braving the cold and taking a closer look. Discover more Mental 312 here.

On Track with Garage Spaces and Happy Collaborationists

The mission of Art on Track is to increase “cultural awareness and appreciation through exposure to the fine arts [by creating] new opportunities for members of the arts community to showcase their talent to an expanded demographic and reach out to those who may otherwise be isolated from the City’s vibrant art culture.”  For the third year in a row, curator Tristan Hummel brought some of the most innovative and participatory art happening in our city to the most unlikely, yet overly familiar venue–a CTA El Train.  Each car was occupied by different galleries, collaboratives and artists.  In the seventh train the guys of Garage Spaces merged with the ladies of Happy Collaborationists to create an experience featuring Life Blude Girls, post-apocalyptic scenes and word play.  SIFC sat down with both groups to get more information about their artistic practice and vision for Art On Track. Art On Track with Garage Spaces and Happy Collaborationists from Tempestt Hazel on Vimeo.

Catching up with Paul Snagel at the DIY Trunk Show

During the recent DIY Trunk Show I caught up with three very different participants (the other interviews can be found here and here) and asked them a few questions. One such participant was Paul Snagel, a craftsman who breathes new life into vintage objects by transforming them into lamps. 1. How long have you been working in your current style? How did you begin creating these sorts of objects? I started making things into lamps about fifteen years ago. I started from the cliche “I could turn that into a lamp” (at least it’s a cliche to me) and then proceeded to actually do it. The first thing I tried was a blowtorch, but it was too tricky for my skills and tools at the time, and I didn’t end up finishing it for several years. I bought three vintage kitchen appliances from George’s Resale shop in Andersonville on the same day, and the rest is history. 2. What is the inspiration behind your work? The only thing I’d call inspiration is seeing a piece …

Catching up with Allyson Dykhuizen at the DIY Trunk Show

During the recent DIY Trunk Show I caught up with three very different participants (the other interviews can be found here and here) and asked them a few questions. One such participant was Allyson Dykhuizen, a knitter who strives to make her craft both accessible and social through the Sweatshop of Love. How did you first get involved with knitting? I had a teacher in high school who knit and loved knitting, and my friends and I thought it was really cool, so we got lessons after school, like an after school class. So, then what brought you to start Sweatshop of Love? I was graduating from college and I didn’t have anything to do, so I started teaching [knitting classes] and now I pretty much solely support myself on the sweatshop. It’s just me, so whatever I can do, whatever time I can devote – I love it so, it’s easy to keep making stuff. So where are you located? Where do you teach classes? I teach classes mainly in Logan Square. But sometimes …

Lakeview East First Fridays

The city’s newest art walk is happening in a neighborhood most Chicagoans would assume has no art scene to speak of. Still, it seems enough people were aware of Lakeview East’s First Fridays to create healthy crowds in each of its four locations. Launched last month as a collaboration between Inkling, a local art and craft gift shop, and Loose Leaf, a nearby café, the walk also includes Clothes Optional, a vintage clothing and home goods store, and Spare Parts, a boutique and gift shop. Lester Palmiano and Phillip Jolliffe at Loose Leaf had been holding monthly art shows regularly for two and a half years. It wasn’t until last month, however, that Lester and Stephanie Keller of Inkling decided to put a walk together. Stephanie reported that the other two locations were “more than receptive” when asked if they wanted to join in. Together, these four businesses comprise Chicago’s only art walk put on solely by non-gallery spaces. Stephanie said she was interested in using her store’s wall space to bring more awareness to local artists. …

Catching Up with Laura Berger at the DIY Trunk Show

During the recent DIY Trunk Show I caught up with three very different participants (the other interviews can be found here and here) and asked them a few questions. One such participant was Laura Berger, an artist who blurs the lines between the art and craft worlds. How long have you been working in your current style and media? How did you begin creating this sort of art? I’ve been painting and drawing my entire life. In college & afterward, I worked as a scenic artist where I painted huge murals for businesses & backdrops for theatre productions. I started working smaller and focusing on my own work in 2007. My father had just passed away and I was really needing a fairly constant distraction that could hold my attention & make my thoughts lighter. I think that’s where the kind of fantastical characters and positive sentiments arose from…basically out of a desire to think about more pleasant things and feel better. What is the inspiration behind your work? I’m inspired a lot by Japanese …

Sixty in 60: Episode 2 – South Side Community Art Center

Sixty in 60 EP 2 South Side Community Arts Center from Andrew Roddewig on Vimeo. In May of 1941, Eleanor Roosevelt officially dedicated the South Side Community Art Center(SSAC) at 3831 South Michigan Avenue as part of the Federal Art Project. Since that date the SSCAC is the only remaining Federal Art Project community center to remain, in operation. For over seventy years the SSCAC has been a home to artists ,and few people are more aware of the home atmosphere then current Executive Director, Faheem Majeed. Faheem was an unofficial Artist, in residence before becoming Executive Director. Faheem believes that the SSCAC is home to everyone and is always willing to talk about the center, the history of the neighborhood or anything that comes to mind. Faheem sat down and talked with us about the SSCAC and his philosophy behind operating one of the most significant yet often overlooked cultural centers in the city. The South Side Community Arts Center hosts a wide variety of exhibits and last month featured installations, projections and performances …

Underneath the Surface: Jaime Lynn Henderson

Chicago-based artist and designer, Jaime Lynn Henderson is one of seven participants in the Chicago Artists’ Coalition residency program at the Merchandise Mart. Since October, these artists have been working regularly in the space experiencing incredible artistic growth. Miss Henderson discusses her art making process. Henderson describes how the artwork she creates is a balance of both complex and simple interwoven layers of personal interests and heavy cultural references.

Water Street Studios Anniversary Show

Water Street Studios is an art center in Batavia, IL that hosts 26 artist studios, community art classes, workshops, large and small scale are exhibits, and various other programs and events offered to the community. On September 17th, I attended their first anniversary show and followed up with an interview with their director of education, Kari Kraus. 1. How did you first become involved with Water Street Studios? I was at Art In Your Eye [Batavia’s annual art fair] in Aug 2008.  I actually was leaving the fair and heading to the pedestrian bridge and passed by a tent with a hand-made “Batavia Art Center” sign.  I walked past and once I was halfway on the bridge I decided to go back and inquire.  I was interested in studio space at the time as I was just moving back home to Batavia and looking for a place to create in.  I walked up with my dog (Alberto) and inquired… At this time I was the assistant director of a not for profit art school and …

Sitting Down with Anna Cerniglia of Johalla Projects

Johalla Projects is an art space in Wicker Park run by three curators, Anna Cerniglia, Caitlin Arnold, and Melissa Marinaro. It opened in fall of 2009 and serves as a venue for emerging and mid-career artists. On Friday, November 8th I sat down with Anna, the director, to gain a better understanding of Johalla’s structure and mission. How did Johalla Projects first come together? When I started this, I only wanted this as an office to have all of our curatorial practices kind of based out of. But then we just started having more shows and more focus placed on us, so we started making it more of a gallery as time went on. We still use it as a home base because we do other projects besides what we have going on here. Now, this is more of a project space and I think now we’re trying to turn it into an S-corp, as we have more liabilities on us. And we’re doing bigger shows and starting to gather more artists. How does Johalla …