So I’m in Chicago on a business trip, and I’m staying at an AirBnB apartment. First thing I notice as I enter my room is this striking piece of artwork. It’s messy and angry but also full of lovely little details like cut pieces of patterned paper. It’s a college telling a story I’m not entirely sure I understand. And at the bottom of the print is a large signature screaming “BEVERLY FRESH.”
Of course I hit google, and immediately stumble upon BeverlyFresh.com. I was surprised to find that not only is this feller a visual artist, but he’s also a hip hop artist!
Not only is he a visual and hip hop artist, but he lives just north of me in Detroit! And not only does he live 45 miles away from me, make art and music I love….
Toledo’s bi-annual art circus Artomatic 419 is back! This year, the event boasts well over 500 creatives sharing their visual and performing arts with an audience thats going into thousands upon thousands. This free to the public event celebrates ALL forms of creativity, from sculpture to screaming, all five sense are affected by this event. There are surprises around every corner!
As I’ve blogged in the past, many of the artists in Toledo choose to be here… and it shows in the effort they put into events like this. They are proud of their city and community, and it rubs off on everyone in attendance.
For the first four Artomatics, I was deeply involved in the planning and execution of the event. Huge events like this take a lot of time from a lot of people. Blood, sweat, tears and a ton of paint. While I was loosely involved in the steering committee aspect, I chose to sit this one out for the set-up and planning. Why? Because I wanted to experience Artomatic as the public does. Walking around the building, exploring, and discovering new things.
Well let me tell you something… I’m glad I did it. It’s amazing! The feeling of walking into the space for the first time this afternoon, seeing how much time and effort everyone put into the space just shocked me. They’ve turned a 60,000 sq foot empty warehouse into a building overflowing with life and vibrancy.
If you are in or around Toledo over the last 3 Saturdays this April, you should visit Artomatic. Each Saturday offers different live entertainment and experiences. More information can be found here: theartscommission.org/programs/artomatic
I was lucky to be part of a preview session tonight for a new show opening tomorrow at the Toledo Museum of Art. “Crossing Cultures” offers a stunning view into the last few decades of art created by Australian Aboriginals.
Growing up, and being educated in America I had no knowledge of the LONG history of the Aboriginal people of Australia. I was completely unaware of their 50,000 year history in Australia or that they were only considered “human” by the contemporary government in my lifetime. It was only in 2008 that Prime Minster Kevin Rudd issued a public apology to members of the “Stolen Generations.”
Long story short, there is an INCREDIBLE history of creative dialog in Australia that has only recently been documented and produced for sale. It’s so recent, it’s not a part of many of our collective conscious because it’s just so “new” to non Aboriginals.
In addition to pieces of art that were clearly and obviously “Australian” there are also some very contemporary pieces by Aboriginals that are more aligned with “urban” culture created by Aboriginals that live in major cities versus some of the artists living off the land. The show greets you with some photography that is absolutely stunning.
If you’re in or around the Toledo area… heck if you live within a 1/2 day drive of Toledo, you should check out this show. It’s eye opening, amazing, and completely different aesthetically than what you’re used to. More info here: www.toledomuseum.org/exhibitions/crossingcultures
WOW! Tonight’s opening at Toledo’s newest gallery LeSo really caught me off guard! Sam Barton’s new work is really really great!
“COMPROMI$ED” is made up of familiar American imagery. Hip-Hop icons and dead presidents. It’s a match made in heaven, and it’s the basis for a lot of Sam’s current visual language. She OWNS the dialog, and the mash-ups are perfect.
Everything in this new body of work felt like an instant classic. Sam is working with source material some of us may be overly if not TOO familiar with, but she makes it her own and completely original. Her execution using graphite was impressive. I was previously only familiar with her paintings, and I have to say I prefer the graphite approach… at least for now!
Some of the works on paper included unexpected mixed media additions. All welcomed. (once again, sorry for the crappy photos)
The seamless mix of subject matters (that are obviously very connected) was so perfect. I couldn’t believe how low she had the work priced, and I hope and expect that the show will sell out.
Sam Barton is an incredible talent. Based on this show, and her previous work with painting I could see her career easily balance a world of fine art and illustration. She clearly has a grasp on both. Sam is young, relatively fresh out of college and has a promising career ahead of her.
Toledo should think itself lucky to have such a talent amongst us.
Just look at this piece! Just look at it! Braids mixed with Cadillac rims! I’m telling you now, if this opening was in any major market (NY, CHI, LA, SF) it would have sold out within the first hour it was open.
What a show! If you get a chance, contact the gallery and attempt to pick up one of these pieces. You won’t regret it, and I think future you will pat yourself on the back for the great cultural investment. Everything was under $500, with most pieces around $300. Such an incredible value for high quality, thoughtful and contemporary works.
Today I received in the mail a terrific new zine / comic book from Daniel Wayne Olson. Having grown up flipping through my father’s black and white drug induced psychedelic underground comics from the 60′s, I feel like Daniel exists in that world today. Healers #1 is a trippy sex infused comic, that is delightfully illustrated in a contemporary low-brow California style.
I just got back from the closing of Alison Parsons’ show “What goes up must come down” at the recently opened Launch Pad Cooperative in Toledo. The space is the perfect size for a one or two person show, and Alison’s work filled it up nicely.
I really like how the lines and shapes of Alison’s work carried over to the edges of the pieces, and in some cases even ended up on the walls. Above you’ll see Alison with a few pieces that she encouraged the attendees of her opening to modify. She plans to go back and paint on top of what the people drew in, in hopes it helps her create new processes and approaches to her own work.
Lots of cool things going on in Toledo, Ohio. Thankfully we have places like Launch Pad Cooperative to help contribute to the dialog and community.