Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Artist Date

Last Thursday I had a meeting to set up some Creativity Workshops I'll be diong in October, November, and December sponsored by the Chicago Artists' Coalition and taking place in the Coalition Gallery, of which I am a member artist. So there I was in Wicker Park on a gorgeous, sunny afternoon. I just had to take advantage of the day and I was at that critical hour, nearing 3:00pm when getting on the road to drive to the south suburbs where I live, can turn into a tediously endeavor. Why sit in Rush hour traffic when exploring Wicker Park and all it has to offer is right there in front of me.

I found inspiration through exploring some places I had noticed before; John Fluevog, Eye Want, and Zella Brown. Of course I also went through the Flatiron building and there was plenty to see there while they were setting up for one of their featured art events for the upcomming weekend. There are loads of artists showing all kinds of work and I was also looking for other sorts of inspiration.

John Fluevog is a shoe designer and there was something really great about seeing the unique designs because with fashion, there are of course certain practical limitations on what the design can do. It has to be worn on the body. It has to fit, feel comfortable, wear well, etc. So when designers are still able to find novelty within these limitations, and still avoid the ridiculous, it inspires me. I'm a sucker for a good Loafer/slip on shoe. This one caught my eye.

I had been to Eye Want before when a friend of mine was exhibiting in their gallery. It is an eyewear shop that specializes in vintage and funky designs. The shop is decorated with art and objects that are worth going in to see on their own. They have also converted two rooms in the back of the shop to be used for rotating art shows. And the quality of work is exceptional. Kim Laurel and Fletcher Hayes are currently showing work there. I was particularly drawn to Laurel's mixed media collage where she is stitching into the paper and materials to make lines. Hayes' paired photographs were particularly pleasing to me as they let the viewer consider common place scenes in new ways.

Zella Brown has some great interior design prodects, most hand made, all original designs. The most interesting of them to me was the re-designed and re-purposed shopping cart chase lounge. The store has a fresh and new feel to it although many of the products are recycled. There are clocks made of tea cups and neck ties, original art, clever and cool objects to ponder, purchase, or present as presents.