Wrap It Up gets artsy...Feb/March 2006

One more time down memory lane as we go back to the magic month of February for an array of new artist's profiles, not to mention meeting a veteran of the Chicago scene for the first time.Painter Josh Moulton's big canvasses are inspired by his love of 'people in urban spaces just doing their every day thing -- interacting with the city as a background'. In order to achieve a sense of movement within the still frame, he treats the canvas with gesso, working up a textured base for his oils to cling too. It creates a dance of light on the surface of the painting, bringing Josh's subjects alive. With shows at spaces like landmark Arts Gallery on Randolph and at Uncommon Ground, Josh has managed to garner enough attention to be featured in CS last December. Part of being an artist these days is smart marketing- and through marketing his paintings as note-cards he was able to find a wider audience for his work. You can see more of his stuff at www.joshmoulton.com

*I'm kind of slow today -- Not really on the ball but I said I'd finish this today and I am hoping that I can get a little more enthusiastic as I go along? But I get weird sometimes. Listening to the Arctic Monkeys ‘When the Sun Goes Down' -- Yahoo Launch is genius. I can site here in my own little world listening to music and not have the bother of actually owning anything. Screw ipods. And those stupid nanos , too. ‘I hope you're not involved atall -- '*Anyways, sorry, the next up is the artist Erik Gillespie who I met at The Man's Ruin Valentine's Day show at Revolution Tattoo located at 2221 N. Western Avenue. It was weird, cuz when me and my friend went in people acted like we had the cooties or something. Whatever. I found the gallery owner, Cheri Borak who talked a little about the space- open four years, they actively try to show the personal work of their tattoo artists. The work covers watercolors, oils, ink, abstract and realistic artistic expression on any surface except skin. She steered me toward Erik Gillespie, who's purple and yellow rose adorned the postcard invite. Erik described his work as a way of getting away from what tattoo clients want and more about expressing his inners self. Inspired by Ukiyo-e prints, he creates small pieces with thick hard lines and simple compositions. They are aggressively carved into paper that looks like betadine stained skin -- You can contact Revolution at 773.486.8888, see if they have any more shows coming up.

*Now I'm listening to ‘Where'd You Go' by some guy named Fort Minor. The thing about ‘owning' a cd collection is that I don't know if I'd go beyond my comfort zone to buy things that I'd never heard before. This is a sweet song and a thoughtful video. I wouldn't have heard it if I wasn't just letting yahoo's huge collection filter through my ears -- I heard M.I.A for the first time today, too. Not sure what to think about that. Interesting. Oooh! Now they're playing Rock and Roll Queen by the Subways! I love this one! Ok, back to work. Kinda hungry right now though. Maybe -- wait! Back to work!*Photography put a bold step forward at the Chicago Photography Center's Winter show. I talked to William Aube about his color theory project just before the show ended. The project was a bold step into concept territory with Aube and model Lauren Schutte working together to create images that would illuminate the emotional meaning of -- .colors. Inspired by the move ‘Hero', Aube wanted to move beyond the concept of single image making and create a body of work that would involve the viewer and walk them through his own personal experience. Red is, of course anger- with a set of twins facing off with machetes. Going through the rainbow you find yourself walking through some sort of personal turmoil toward redemption and rebirth. While the idea could be thought of as cliché- as artists it's sometimes it's the cliché that gives you the key to further artistic freedom. It's an ambitious start and I'm curious to see what he comes up with next. If you want to know more about the CPC go to www.chicagophoto.org.

*Got distracted and searched for Kevin Federline's ‘Popozao'. Unfortunately? I found it. Click here for K-Fed . It was ok, though. If it was someone else I might have a five minute passion for it, or if I heard it in some club. It was better than Gold Lion by YYY, I gotta say. Are those really the OK GO guys in the A Million Ways video? *I came up with the next artist first, actually. I was trying to get registered at Harold Washington back in January and I kept passing the open studio on State and Lake where Slivinski was the featured artist. Every time I turned the corner I would look in, once seeing her hard at work on a new piece. I tracked Ms. Slivinski down to her West Side studio and found a treasure trove. Lucy works with junk, found objects, metal wire, and those scrubby things on the bottom of street sweepers. Everything she sees becomes part of her work. It's very present, prescient.

When I first walked into her studio I just laughed with joy: I'd never seen anything like the massive bike body bush sculpture that ascends to heaven all primary colors and bristling with anti-consumerist aggression. It's every body's lost childhood. Her other works involve crocheted metal wire and glass bottles, Fertilizer canisters (both drilled into and whole, painted pastel color). I spent the afternoon talking with Lucy and her collaborator Michael Thompson, who creates well-ordered work from erector set kits as well as stamps that would never be offered by the post office. A lot was said and a little coffee drink, nut what I came away with was an after image of Lucy's studio with the lights out and the sunset coming through the windows and feeling as if I'd seen wonderland. Go to www.lucyslivinski.com to find out more about her and her work. It's worth it.

The last artist is Preston Jackson. I finally went and saw ‘Fresh From Julieanne's Garden' at the Cultural Center. Mr. Preston's bronze figures trap every ounce of discomfort and pain inherent in the slave trade within their bulbous shapes. His methodology involves creating a wax model and using that to cast the statues. They are one of a kind, and very beautiful. The stories that accompany them are heart wrenching- maybe more for me because I see myself in the figures, my family in the stories, and know that what was true then remains true now- even though we overcame. I guess.

I was intrigued and fascinated by the surfaces of the pieces, with strange details like flowers and alligator tails becoming part of dresses and feet. There were so many pieces and I wanted to linger there forever reading and looking. I just wished that I could touch them, own them, and keep them somewhere close. Some of my favorites were ‘Hog Killin' Time ‘, ‘The Lady and the Gator', and ‘About Serpents and Birds'. You can see photos of the pieces at Mr. Jackson's website, http://www.artic.edu/~pjacks/index1.html .

It's not that I don't like art- I live for it. But today I am thinking that spring is coming, that the end of the month brings the beginning of rent and phone worries, and that I should have written this two weeks ago. I get tired, I get bored -- like everyone else. I'm lucky that I have something to share, something that sucks me out of the doldrums of everyday life. I'm glad that there are artists, even funny ones like K-Fed, out there writing and painting and singing and dancing and rapping and cooking and taking pictures and sculpting and making. Our lives are so short, really. Too short not to make the most out of everything we know how to do. Go make something. Then go show it off- this is a direct order.