Grand River Flood Panorama

Grand River Flood Panorama

I stopped to see the river today with my daughter. We’ve broken a record for rainfall in April, and the water level is causing quite a few problems in the Greater Grand Rapids area. Since I’ve dedicated so much of my time recording places in this city, I had to make a trip downtown today to see the rising waters for myself. As you can see, it was just clearing under the blue bridge as of about 12:30 today. Water levels are not expected to crest until Sunday/Monday.

*As of noon on Sunday, the bridge where I took this photo has been closed until further notice as a precaution.

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Downtown Chicago

Downtown Chicago

I haven’t been out photographing much lately, so I thought I’d post a photo I took back in May while I was in downtown Chicago. I brought my daughter down to visit Columbia College where I studied photography in the late ’90s. While facing west we could see fog seeping into the city, which is what you see in this photograph.

Wealthy Street

I recently met up with some good friends for dinner on Wealthy Street (Grand Rapids, MI). I lived at the corner of Wealthy and College about 12 years ago. Back then it was still a fairly gritty part of town. I have many stories about my experiences there, and none of them are bad. Even back then this area had a real charm to it. The homes are gorgeous. The famous Meyer May house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright was just around the corner. The street is mostly still brick. I often thought about what this area was like back in the time of horse and carriage. That apartment still is at the top of my list of favorite homes I have had.

When I was leaving this neighborhood I could see the glimmer of renewal taking place. The liquor store a couple of blocks east has just been replaced by the Wealthy Street Bakery. Today this area is filled with locally owned eateries, shops and coffee houses. My favorite apartment is now a luxury condo.

I was early meeting my friends so I took a minute to shoot a couple of photos:

Wealthy Street Theatre

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Upcoming UICA show!

I’m excited to be doing my first ever art sale this coming weekend. I stopped by the Urban Institute of Contemporary Arts this evening to find my booth assignment.

A Summer Evening Remembered

I found this pic today from a visit to Chicago back in August. We happened upon a neighborhood festival in Rogers Park. It was such a fun evening. I took this photo of the kids cheering on the dancing kitten puppet show.

This puppet show is actually a booth attached to a bike. To better see what I’m talking about, visit http://www.puppetbike.com.

My after work trip to SiTE:LAB – ArtPrize 2012

I just had the most surreal experience over at the old Public Museum where sitelab has set up shop for ArtPrize. This is a building I used to visit often in my childhood. My mom liked to take me there and I had the annual school trip. I don’t think I’ve been in here since I was about 10 years old, and it has been closed to the public for most of the time while the new public museum has been open. Not only was it so strange to see that most of the things I remember about that building are still there, most of it is totally untouched. It is like a time capsule from my memory brought right back into this physical world.

I was not the only one who was feeling this way, I overheard a lot of descriptive words about other peoples’ experience, “spooky, strange, weird…” I even heard a woman say, “I’m just a little freaked out right now.”

The way the artists in this venue worked with what was already existing here is what heightens the surreality of it all. I can’t quite decide if my childhood memories made this experience more or less crazy for me. The art here is really amazing and absolutely worth looking at. This is one of 5 venues nominated for the “Best Venue” award, and I am happy to say that I agree with that whole heartedly.

I left with over 150 photos. I was there for a little over an hour. I chose just a few to show here. You really have to see this place to believe it.

Alois Kronschlaeger’s work incorporates modern sculpture into existing painted nature dioramas that were already in the museum space.

This gives a better view of the types of spaces Kronschlaeger worked with for this piece. The space shown had a ramp that allows people to walk into the diarama.

Blane De St. Croix’s work hangs from the ceiling in the main part of the museum.

This better shows the combination of use of existing space with the addition of new work.

Me with a close up of one of the numerous taxidermy animals throughout the building.

Lily Cox-Richard’s work, Strike, combines a number of lightning rods with the museum space.

This work by Complex Movement was one of my favorites. It was a pleasant surprise tucked in the back of the museum.

This work by Filippo Tagliati was really interesting. It is a combination of photographs and video. I found the photos to be really interesting to look at.

This is a close up from the ‘Not Design’ space which featured a lot of letter press.

A visit to GRAM – ArtPrize 2012

I made some time last night to walk through the Grand Rapids Art Museum. This is a really popular venue and as ArtPrize goes on, it gets more and more difficult to get in without waiting in a huge line. Last night was great. It was early enough that it wasn’t packed, and a lot of the artists were present. I loved the casual atmosphere of the museum. This is one of the greatest perks of ArtPrize. A lot of the artists are present and approachable.

Being a photographer, I was loving being able to observe the interaction between the artists and the viewers.

Adonna Khare plans to continue adding to her piece throughout ArtPrize. She talked with people as they filed through to see her work. It really is incredible.

Anne Gates talked with viewers about her labor intensive process behind hand embroidered egg shells. This is a pretty innovative way to interpret human motivation.

Chis Laporte is pretty well known around town and also for being the winner of ArtPrize back in 2010. I overheard him speaking with the guy pictured about how this image, which includes his grandfather, touches on the connection they had through music.

I saved my favorite for last. I was immediately struck by Andrew Hawkes’ work, ‘its not my fault’. This hit me on an emotional level from the first time I saw it, and then after reading with the artist’s statement I realized that I identify with a lot of the ideas that the artist used to create the piece. He refers to some of his inspiration deriving from Congo nail figures, “… a nail is driven into a wooden effigy to cement specific events as well as to ward off evil. Interestingly enough it was through the sheer destruction and damage to this figure that positive changes could occur.”

This guy is only 24 years old, but he shows that he has a very old soul.

Andrew Hawkes is pictured here at right chatting with neighboring artist, Nathan Craven, who did the ceramic wall pictured at the far right.

Opening Night at ArtPrize

Thank you to all who stopped by to say hello while I was hanging out at my Venue, The Ledyard Building. I couldn’t help myself while it was quiet earlier in the evening to sneak off and explore this place. It was built in the 1860s and is one of the oldest buildings in the city. It is easy to see that a lot of renovations took place in the 70s and 80s. It is pretty apparent though that the owners of the building really value the history of this place, and I can see that renovations are taking place in certain parts of the building to restore some of its original charm.


I had to take a few minutes to walk around and enjoy some of the other action too.

Visiting THE HUB – ArtPrize 2012

I stopped by the HUB today to pick up my artist name badge and swag bag. This is the second year that this building has been the HUB, but this year they have added an entire outdoor lounge where the street normally is. This is the center of all things ArtPrize. You register to vote here, shop for all of your ArtPrize goodies here, and also this is where they display the winning piece of art from last year. Let the fun begin. It is ArtPrize again. I can seriously feel the buzz of energy in this fine city of Grand Rapids, Michigan.