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Art Depth // An Art Party, a Draw-a-thon, and an Interview with Cheryl Postrozny

Art Depth’s 2nd Annual Art Party & 1st Annual Draw-a-thon. Featured artist Laura Mae Noble. October 2011. (Image courtesy of Jenny Lam.)

 

A welcome and well-timed reprieve from a temperamental September (a strange string of 90º weather to a seemingly unending bout of torrential rain? not cool, fall), the clear skies and ample sun on Saturday provided the perfect backdrop for the first day of Chicago Artists Month 2011. One of the events kicking off October’s citywide festivities was Art Depth, a free annual art party and draw-a-thon, held this year in Mautene Court (a location that can be best described as “that public space behind that ‘Wicker Park’ mural on that stretch of Milwaukee between those wig stores and that 7-Eleven”).

The main attraction was the costumed figure drawing, for which guests could watch the featured artists—Rory Coyne, Jim Hajicek, Lauren Levato, Laura Mae Noble, and Tonya Patton—create artwork on the spot, or borrow the free art supplies provided and participate themselves. Also at hand were performances, a photo studio by Cristy Corso, live music by singer Scarlet Monk, and a DJ set by Maja Bijedic.

In the end, I walked away with the contentment that only art-making can bring and with as many free sketchbooks as I could carry (two—that’s what I get for cutting high school gym class). A great way to spend a sunny weekend afternoon.

What follows is my conversation with Art Depth’s founder and organizer, Cheryl Postrozny.

 

Art Depth’s 2nd Annual Art Party & 1st Annual Draw-a-thon. Featured artist Rory Coyne. October 2011. (Image courtesy of Jenny Lam.)

Jenny Lam: Could you explain what Art Depth is and how it came about?

Cheryl Postrozny: Art Depth’s vision came to mind almost a decade ago but didn’t gain momentum until about 2005. At this time I was taking a brief hiatus from Chicago and living in New York City for a couple of years. Upon returning to this beloved Windy City of mine, I was disillusioned with the perception that there is an energy missing here. That is when the real incentive to start something like Art Depth began.

When in New York, I took advantage of only a bite of the many opportunities that are there for artists. One of the most inspirational art happenings to grip me back then included Michael Alan’s Draw-a-thon (and I’m specifically referring to his very first party which took place at the Fix Café in Brooklyn in 2005). Not to mention the commonplace, seemingly random, but purest forms of art expression I’ve ever experienced taking place on the streets! To roam downtown and happen to fall into a full-on art party in the street or stumble upon a draw-a-thon at a public spot when on my way to run an errand was dreamlike. The stench in the air and the lack of cabs were enough to make me long for Chicago while there, but as the date of return approached I became enchanted by New York and ended up leaving while wanting more.

Art Depth’s main reason for existing is to produce unique art events where artists of all backgrounds and mediums can come together in a unique way.  I am not attempting to recreate anything that already exists, but instead to produce one-of-a-kind events that provide new experiences for artists to connect and create.

 

Art Depth’s 2nd Annual Art Party & 1st Annual Draw-a-thon. Featured artist Jim Hajicek (R). October 2011. (Image courtesy of Jenny Lam.)

 

JL: How does your own artistic practice relate to your curatorial practice? As an artist yourself, how and why did you decide to also situate yourself on the curatorial side of the coin?

CP: The decision was never one that I intended to make. This year’s party and post-show exhibition, as a part of Chicago Artists Month, would not be possible without the presence of the Featured Artists involved. In order to foster an experience where all participants are truly involved in the creation of the event, this is what needed to happen at Art Depth’s 2nd Annual Art Party. Anyone who knows me knows that I wear many hats, and that of being an artist is completely separate and distinct from this program.

 

Art Depth’s 2nd Annual Art Party & 1st Annual Draw-a-thon. Art supplies. October 2011. (Image courtesy of Jenny Lam.)

JL: What do you hope to accomplish with Art Depth? What are its goals?

CP: Art Depth as it is today is not what I envision it to be in the future but it is on the right path.  It is evolving, and with each passing year, it will continue to serve the goal of inspiration, connection and creation among artists. Each event will be completely different from the last, but all will promise artists an experience unlike any other.

 

JL: What are your thoughts on the Chicago art scene?

CP: I can’t say enough good things about the Chicago art scene since there are so many things to do here, especially in the month of October.

 

JL: What are some things we can look forward to from you and Art Depth in the future?

CP: It will be an evolution of sorts as it’s meant to be. That goes for both myself and Art Depth!

 

Select works created during Art Depth’s 2nd Annual Art Party & 1st Annual Draw-a-thon will be featured in Inspiration, Connection & Creation, a free art party and art opening, on Thursday, October 20, from 6:30-9pm at Tocco (1266 N. Milwaukee Ave.). There will be drink specials, complimentary appetizers, and a chance to mingle with the artists.

For more information, visit www.artdepth.org.

Jenny Lam blogs at Artists on the Lam. Her Twitter handle is @TheJennyLam.

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