Friday, October 14, 2011

Chicago Artists Month, Day 14: The Loop and the Lacuna Lofts

So last weekend I had planned to go to some art shows, but unfortunately I caught a cold (this is the kind of wildly fluctuating weather that makes me sick) and had to stay home.  This weekend, so far, has been a lot better.

My studio at the Fine Arts Building in downtown Chicago

First, I had my open studio event at The Fine Arts Building.  I am so happy to report that the turnout was much better than last time.  It was great getting to meet so many visitors this time, and having a chance to share the work of my guest artist, Raquel Stallworth.  She generously donated some delectable refreshments from Trader Joe's, including white bean hummus, pub cheese, gourmet pretzels, and pinot grigio. 

a painting by Raquel Stallworth


a painting by Raquel Stallworth


After my open studio event ended, I headed to another one in Pilsen. You know that movie Sliding Doors where you get to see, in parallel storylines, the two different paths Gwyneth Paltrow's character's life takes as a result of missing or catching a train?  Well, when I look at the Lacuna Lofts, I wonder what parallel life I'd be living if I had gotten a studio there instead of the Fine Arts Building.  That was the other location I was considering when I looked at studios last year.

When I visited last year, much of the space was still raw and in the process of being converted from warehouse to studios.  Now that it is populated with more finished studios, it looks wonderful. It's so inspiring to see so many entrepreneurial creatives setting  up shop.  When I pulled up, I saw the word "Lacuna" projected in big red letters on the rooftop water tower.

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So many cars were parked out front that I had to find a space around the block.  It was filled with urban hipsters and girls dressed like they were going out to the club.  Maybe they were planning to go out later.  The festivities would go on until midnight.

There were and DJs on every floor and art in every hallway, it seemed. And it all went so well with the building's gritty urban vibe.

When I toured the building last year, I had a chance to see the roof deck. What an amazing view of the city! I'm sorry I didn't bring my tripod so I could get a better shot of it.

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There was a great exhibit of artwork by an artist I featured briefly on this blog once before, Hebru Brantley. He happens to be the only other artist I know of who also keeps a collection of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle action figures in his studio. In his case, it makes perfect sense because his work is inspired by comics and science fiction, a style he calls Afro-Futurism.

Yesterday's Losers: Art by Hebru Brantley at Lacuna Lofts


Yesterday's Losers: Art by Hebru Brantley at Lacuna Lofts


Yesterday's Losers: Art by Hebru Brantley at Lacuna Lofts


Yesterday's Losers: Art by Hebru Brantley at Lacuna Lofts


In addition to the numerous paintings on display, there were also several installation pieces, from graffiti covered windows and walls to metal shipping containers to an entire truck.

Yesterday's Losers: Art by Hebru Brantley at Lacuna Lofts


Yesterday's Losers: Art by Hebru Brantley at Lacuna Lofts


Yesterday's Losers: Art by Hebru Brantley at Lacuna Lofts


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He even painted a couple old TVs.



To top it off, there was even good hip-hop playing in the show.  I have to admit when the DJ put on "Stakes is High" by De La Soul, it made me miss spending time with a certain Celestial Sorcerer, whose music collection is comprised of many of the songs featured on the playlist tonight.

I look forward to going to future events at the Lacuna Lofts.  It's a great launching pad for fledgling creative enterprises and I look forward to seeing them flourish.  Many of the artists and designers I met tonight still are in the process of establishing an online presence, but I hope that when I go back again their sites will be up and running so that I can share them with you.

The Lacuna Lofts are located at 2150 S Canalport.  I'd link to their site, but unfortunately it's down right now.

So far the weekend has gotten off to a great start and I'm glad I got to attend another Chicago Artists Month event.  My next stop this weekend will be in North Lawndale for the artist discussion at the Liz Long Gallery.

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