Author: Tempestt Hazel

Talking With Fear About Dying Tomorrow: A Conversation with Matt Austin, Pt. 1

My first encounter with photographer Matt Austin was over two years ago during my time as a student in a photography class where he was the teacher’s assistant.   Since the days of me trying to catch sneak peeks of his work in the photo labs at Columbia College, his work has evolved into something that is less about the photo as a static object and more about how photography functions as a tool within something larger–his life experiences and the experiences of those around him. What we can gain from his practice is not only an appreciation for the moments in life that we often take for granted, but also the opportunity to tap into our own uncertainties and fears of meaningful interactions with unfamiliar people and places through his treks across cities, countries and seas.  His most recent work invites you to tag along as he creates a biography in motion.  In light of his solo exhibition, Talking With Fear About Dying Tomorrow, which opens on March 4, 2011 at Johalla Projects, I …

Finding A Peace of Land: An Interview with ACRE Co-Founder Emily Green, Pt. 1

The Artists’ Cooperative Residency and Exhibitions, better known as ACRE, isn’t your typical residency.  It is a science lab, playground, classroom, workshop, and a studio.  It is a place for artists to make new connections or strengthen old ones, and then learn the glamour and grunt of putting together an exhibition from beginning to end.  In one year ACRE has become all of that and more for quite a few artists inside and outside of Chicago.  Whether you’re speaking of the 100+ acres of land in Steuben, Wisconsin or ACRE Projects exhibition space in Chicago, founders Emily Green and Nicholas Wylie have created quite the breeding ground  for interaction between some very promising artists.  (The results of ACRE‘s first year can be seen in the dozens of weekly exhibitions on their 2010-2011 calendar.)  To kick off a series of SIFC interviews with ACRE and some of their residents I sat down with Emily Green to learn more about how ACRE started, her background in photography and textiles, where ACRE will be going in the future …

Not So Bad at Sports: {SWWMYOSBL} Hall of Fame by Erik L. Peterson

When Meredith Weber, Chicago artist and one-third of Happy Collaborationists (Happy C), invited us over to check out the installation of their latest exhibition, {SWWMYOSBL} Hall of Fame, a solo project by Erik L. Peterson, we jumped on the chance. In 2010 Happy C had a successful lineup of events and exhibitions, including a collaborative car for Art on Track and solo shows with the work of EJ Hill, Nina Mayer and Isobel Shirley, to name a few. Going into their fourth year, these ladies have stepped it up a notch and are launching two new series, ACRE Exhibitions and Hypothesis, which will take you well beyond the blue. {SWWMYOSBL} Hall of Fame, which opened January 29th, marks a couple of different firsts for them. It is the first public event that they have done since their Live Blude Girls installation at Art on Track in August of 2010. It also marks the first exhibition in a series of exhibitions that they are doing in collaboration with Artists Cooperative Residency and Exhibitions (ACRE). While there are …

Dream Big: Joyce Owens at the Catholic Theological Union

Like most artists, Joyce Owens is a master at juggling many things.  Her most recent exhibition, “Dream Big” at the Catholic Theological Union proves that.  Although the exhibition shows mostly her masks, you also get a glimpse into her canvas and collage work.  The common thread throughout is imagery that asks the viewer to consider a more complex understanding of race using the cultural and symbolic implications of the mask as it applies to African Americans.  During the January 12th opening of the exhibition, curator Janice Pozzi-Johnson spoke about why she chose to exhibit this work at the CTU and Owens gives some insight into her thoughts on work and life as an artist.  The following is an excerpt from their talk. Janis Pozzi-Johnson: As you know, this exhibition is titled Dream Big.  And I think Joyce personifies dreaming big.  It just seems that Joyce is everywhere, [her] work is everywhere.  And [she] is always always making art, always showing art and always supporting other artists.  Joyce is also a curator at Chicago State University, …

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 …

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.

Artist Talk with Jeff Zimmermann

The God Particle is the most recent installation at the Chicago Cultural Center by artist and muralist Jeff Zimmermann. Throughout Chicago Artists Month, Zimmermann was on site installing the work and opening up a conversation to the public. His work mixes iconography, popular culture and symbolism and come together to allow the viewer to create their own narrative and enter at several points. On November 18th he walked through his work in a gallery talk. The following is the first part of the talk, with an introduction by the curator of exhibitions at the Chicago Cultural Center. Artist Talk with Jeff Zimmermann from Tempestt Hazel on Vimeo.

In The Studio with Jennifer Taylor

Jennifer Taylor has always been more comfortable in creative settings. She has had a successful career as an actress and simultaneously kept her home occupied with repainted and re-appropriated items and her own paintings. Inspired by a mixture of life experiences and NPR broadcasts, Taylor’s work would fit comfortably with the work of early widely praised twentieth century western art movements. In the summer of 2010, SIFC took a brief tour of her Riverside studio and asked her some questions about her work and career. Tempestt Hazel: Tell us a bit about your self and your artwork. Jennifer Taylor: I’ve always doodled – literally, in the margins of my grade school papers – but in 1985 my husband gave me a Christmas gift of oil pastels and paper. A switch went off and I started spending every free hour of my day drawing with those pastels. Then I moved to oils. TH: How does living/working or being from Chicago influence your creative practice? JT: Chicago is a working city. I’ve lived in NY and LA. …

AMP-CHI: A Creative Collaboration

Elastic Arts collaborates with many people in the local and national art world to bring Chicago some of the most interesting mixes of creative forms. As part of SIFC Chicago’s Going Mobile campaign, Elastic was one of the stops because AMP-CHI, the brainchild of Alpha Bruton and Susan Fox brought together Chicago artists, musicians and poets for a night of complete sensory stimulation–words for your mind, music for your ears and art for your eyes.  As Artet, the jazz trio headed by Hanah Jon Taylor, played an amazing blend of experimental jazz, Alpha Bruton created live work on a projector through a combination of illustrations on transparencies and the pouring of watercolor, which projected onto the band.  The exchange of inspiration was transferred back and forth from artist to musician–it was obvious how they were reacting to one another.  To learn more about how AMP-CHI came to the Elastic stage, I spoke with Susan Fox, the curator of the event, who also serves as Development & Outreach Coordinator for Elastic Arts. AMP-CHI at Elastic Arts …

An Artist's Wonderland: The Dorchester Project

The Dorchester Project, a highly anticipated multi-use space in Chicago, is the workings of internationally celebrated artist Theaster Gates. The space, which has a tentative completion date of 2012, is a wonderland for the artist, designer, architect, music lover and scholar with the entire former art history slide collection from University of Chicago, the remaining records that were left in the final hours of Hyde Park’s Dr. Wax and thousands of books waiting to be re-read and referenced. Gates’ right-hand woman, Dara Epison, was kind enough to take me on an intimate tour of the space, where we stayed for hours. The Dorchester Project from Tempestt Hazel on Vimeo.

SPEAK! Project: Sean Starowitz

Sean Starowitz wants to put Chicagoans on a soapbox.  His custom-built soapbox.  In August of 2010 as part of the Hey! We’re All Beginners Here exhibition at Roots & Culture, Starowitz walked the streets of Noble Square and asked passers by, friends and curator Mike Wolf to get on his soapbox and SPEAK! I took a moment and walked the streets with him, asked him a little about the project and even got up on the soapbox myself.  The annual air show was going on, so please excuse the jet you hear in the middle of the interview! SPEAK! Project with Sean Starowitz from Tempestt Hazel on Vimeo.

Basement Show by Parking Space

In their own words: “Parking Space is a collaborative curatorial project initiated by artists Andrew J. Greene, EJ Hill and Matthew Schaffer that seeks to create a broader discourse and exchange of ideas within the Chicago arts community. We attempt to engage with the several disparate artistic communities within Chicago while also considering how we can more broadly interact with communities outside of Chicago (cities, national or international) in the hope of creating a platform that provides inter-connectivity and an exchange of ideas within these communities. The name Parking Space refers to the transitory nature of our curatorial practice, and as we inhabit a new space with each show our curatorial aims shift dramatically. Parking Space is unapologetically idealistic.” –taken from Parking Space Chicago on Facebook. On September 24, 2010 Parking Space presented the work of Brandon Warren Alvendia, Caroline Polachek, Daniel Sullivan, Eleni Ann Kelaidis, Justin Thomas Schaefer, Marion Ramos, Michael Thibault, Scott Reeder and Tyson Reeder in Basement Show. As one of the shortest people in the room, it was one occasion where …

It’s all about YOU: You Media at Harold Washington Library

Anyone walking by the Harold Washington Library is usually captivated by its size and spectacular design.  After passing this monumental building in downtown Chicago hundreds of times, you begin to notice other things–such as the teenagers who have sprinkled the sidewalks and have made themselves a home at the You Media center inside the library. This place serves as a digital and social playground for Chicago teens to engage seven days a week–equip with MacBooks with the latest applications, music sound mixers, flatscreen TVs with the latest video games, Rock Band instruments, the latest teen novels and much more. After taking a step inside and inquiring about the space, I quickly learned about “Pop Up Saturdays”, which are tours of downtown Chicago pop-up spaces and museums that the teens are taken on, which are led and were started by You Media mentors. To learn more I sat down with Jennifer and Nick, who when they’re not spending time working on their own poetry and theater projects,  work closely with the teens and kick started the …

Stretching the limits of Vision & Sound: Elastic Arts Foundation

Elastic Arts Foundation has made a home in various parts of Chicago.  Their latest location in Logan Square has served as a venue for every genre of music imaginable–whether its the music they make or welcoming in other musicians.  Their current space has also allowed the founders of Elastic, Samuel Lewis and Paul Giallorenzo, to open their doors to displaying the work of local and national visual artists.  The following is a selection from the interview Sixty had with Paul and Sam. Elastic Arts Foundation from Tempestt Hazel on Vimeo. Music by Tall Black Guy Productions.

Art On Track Kick Off Event at Flat Iron Arts Building

On August 6, 2010 Art On Track had a kick off event at the Flat Iron Arts Building.  Many of the artists that would be installing work the next morning were there to meet and mingle with fellow artists, art enthusiasts, press and the art in the open studios of the Flat Iron Building.  The following are images from that event. Art On Track Kick Off from Tempestt Hazel on Vimeo. Music by Tall Black Guy Productions

The Elephant Room, Inc.

The Elephant Room, Inc. is a gallery in the South Loop that exhibits work by some of the most cutting-edge artists in the city.  The following shows the most recent exhibitions “Forget about the Future” featuring the work of Cydney Lewis and “Common Ground” featuring the work of Hebru Brantley, Sam Kirk and Hugo Style.  I also sat down with gallery owner Kimberly Atwood to hear more about the artists and where the gallery got its name. Elephant Room, Inc. from Tempestt Hazel on Vimeo. Music by Tall Black Guy Productions.

Angelbert Metoyer at G.R. N’Namdi Gallery

G.R. N’Namdi Gallery is known for displaying works by most of the master artists of the African Diaspora that you should hear about in your art history classes. Regulars on their walls and in their inventory include Ed Clark, Norman Lewis, Robert Colescott, Richard Mayhew, Charles White, and Chicago’s own McArthur Binion–to name a few. Their most recent exhibition of works by Angelbert Metoyer is a perfect example of how this West Loop gallery places the top contemporary masters into context with the legacies left by their foundation artists. G.R. N’Namdi Gallery from Tempestt Hazel on Vimeo.

Hair Politics: A Studio Visit with Rhonda Gray

Hair and all that it signifies has appeared in the work of artists in many different ways. One of my favorite cases involves David Hammons who for pieces such as Esquire (Or John Henry) (1990) went to New York barber shops to collect the cut hair he would later use in his sculptures and other installations. For women, hair has always been a tricky subject. As I sat down with artist Rhonda Gray in her studio this summer, she explained just how this topic has informed her latest body of work. In the studio with Rhonda Gray from Tempestt Hazel on Vimeo.

Duncan Mackenzie at the 2010 CAA Conference

Duncan Mackenzie, wears many hats. Along with being a professor of fine art at Columbia College Chicago, he is a practicing artist and also collaborates on a weekly podcast and blog called Bad At Sports (how great is that title for an art blog/podcast?!). This collaborative project offers informative, revealing and incredibly entertaining reviews and interviews with everyone in the arts–from curators to individual artists to art publishers to arts advocates, and everyone in between. Once I discovered this blog, it quickly become a regular on my iPod. In addition to this, somwhere between all these things, Mackenzie works on various other collaborative projects. This brief interview gives you a snapshot of his world which includes national developing projects and words of wisdom, with a touch of that Duncan Mackenzie humor. Take five minutes for these ten questions–you’ll be happy you did! 1. Briefly tell me about yourself. What is your current role in the arts and how did you get there? Artist, Journalist, Educator, “Conversation-ist,” and person of questionable virtue and foolish commitment. 2. Is …

Art History in Motion: Dr. Amy Mooney

As promised, the art nerd in me comes out at different levels when discussing different topics. Amy Mooney, a professor at Columbia College Chicago, touches the heart of the art nerd in me with her research in the field of visual culture, art education and positive social contributions through art. Along with another thread in the Columbia College Chicago fabric, Joan Giroux, Amy Mooney will be serving as the chair of the panel “Artist Citizen: Catalysts, Collectives, and Utopias” on February 13th. Are you curious about why Prof. Mooney makes the art lover in me burst into song? The following questions I posed to her will bring you clarity… Briefly tell me about yourself. What is your current role in the arts and how did you get there? Currently, I am an associatiate professor of art history, theory, and visual culture at Columbia College. I am on sabbatical for 2009-2010 and have a post-doctoral fellowship at the National Portrait Gallery where I am researching my second book, Portraits of Noteworthy Character. Going way back, I …

10 Minutes with Sabina Ott

It turns out that the Democrats and Republicans weren’t the only ones stepping up to the podiums to broadcast the ways in which they would like to push us forward. In the winter of 2010, the College Arts Association called on its members to vote for the next board members to serve on their Board of Directors. Although she has spent a large part of her life on the east and west coasts, we in Chicago claim candidate, and winner, Sabina Ott as one of our own. What kind of New York turned California turned Windy City perspective will she bring to the CAA? Let’s ask her! What has been your relationship with the College Arts Association? Why should students in the arts know about the CAA? As the premier organization serving artists, art historians, and arts educators across the country,CAA has been invaluable to my practice as an artist, through grant and exhibition calls, job opportunities, and especially Art Journal and The Art Bulletin. I always recommend membership—I first joined in 1995—to my students as a …

10 Minutes with Patricia Stewart

1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your artwork. I earned a fine arts degree from Southern Illinois University and a master’s degree from Chicago State University. I also studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the International School of Art and Design in Miami, Florida, and the Savanna College of Art and Design in Savanna, Georgia. I retired from a successful art teaching career, Art Curriculum Developer/Coordinator, Lead Teacher, Standards Based Curriculum Coach, and graphic artist for the Chicago Public Schools. I exhibit collections of paintings and abstract assemblages which employing both vibrant and muted colors often infused with metallic accents. The sculptural nature of leather initiates large bas-relief assemblages. Found objects integrated into the pieces transform traditional uses. Leather’s ability to be mutilated and colored lends itself purposefully to sculpting. The use of exciting colors, overlapping construction, and original shapes, combine past cultures with contemporary forms. I received numerous awards for my work from various institutions. My paintings, sculptures, and jewelry have been exhibited at the Neleh Art Gallery, …

Transformers: Nick Cave at the 2010 CAA Conference

Ever since I first saw one of Nick Cave‘s Soundsuits, I’ve been fascinated with them. Then I got the opportunity to see one in person at the Rubell Family Collection Museum in Miami this past summer. So, imagine my excitement to discover that he would be presenting his work during the Transformers panel with Sabrina Raaf and Jason Salavon. Cave later went on to elaborate on his video installations and one of his latest projects, “Bunny Boy”. Bunny Boy is a pink, yellow or blue bunny who is “out and about, moving through the city and hitchhiking.” His intention for Bunny Boy is to have him in different places around the city. The piece happens once the interaction with the person picking him up begins. Would you pick up Bunny Boy? I entered the session as Cave was describing his “Tondos“, which are large, circular, 6 to 18 feet in diameter pieces. He described them as constellations, sequined and beaded works. They are the “world in which the Soundsuits exist.” Lately, he has spent his time doing performance labs …

Joyce Owens

In February of 2010 the College Art Association held the 98th Annual CAA Conference in Chicago, Illinois.  Before the conference, panelist Joyce Owens took a moment to answer a few questions about the future of her art practice, the Women’s Caucus for Art panel she will be serving on, which asks “Are women only institutions and spaces still necessary?”. 1. Briefly tell me about yourself. What is your current role in the arts and how did you get there? I am a visual artist, a professor and curator for my university (Chicago State University). Huge question; the answers start from childhood. I made art from childhood. Lucky for me, people thought I had “talent” even then and I was not discouraged from pursuing art. I studied art at Yale University (MFA) and Howard University (BFA) and have always taught in schools, city programs and camps. I decided to start curating shows for Sapphire and Crystals when I was the artist who identified the venues, except one time. I had ideas I wanted to implement. It’s …

Challenging the Icon: Riley Henderson

When I first encountered the work of Riley Henderson he had one foot out the door of the BFA Photography program at Columbia College Chicago.  After investigating the contents of his thesis portfolio I was immediately drawn to the scenes he created and the themes he explored through a playful, yet serious, lens.  His work asks the viewer to think about their own relationship to things found at the roots of American culture, but does so by first drawing them in with the use of familiar, seemingly satirical, cues.  To learn more about his background and his work, we asked him a few questions. Tempestt Hazel:  Tell us a little about your self and your artwork. Riley Henderson: Trained primarily in the photographic arts, I utilize many different mediums as a means to question issues of identity in an American context. TH: How does living/working or being from Chicago influence your creative practice? RH: Chicago’s such a diverse city, and yet it’s one of the most segregated cities in the country. This exposure and living …