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Friday, June 14, 2013

Discovering Hammond: 2nd Annual Art Walk

The 2nd Annual Hammond Art Walk had a varied set of art that was well organized throughout the ten exhibit spaces and shops. It was easy to get to each spot, with most of them being within walking distance of each other. The weather was perfect for a stroll between spots. 

The artists I met were informative and friendly. Some chatted about their work, others created new art. It was fun to see them in action and learn more about the process. The work varied from traditional to modern. I saw photos, mixed media works, cartoons, and paintings. Hand-painted boxing gloves were unique and finely detailed. 

Overall it was a good way to learn about the existing and growing art community in Hammond, Indiana. I was able to join mailing lists and get information on events like quarterly art shows and receptions.

Every time I think of the event I remember something new!The easiest way to breakdown the art walk is by spot. 

Blue Room Café
We grabbed a coffee and sandwich and looked at the colorful and vibrant pictures of Hammond's St. Joseph's Church. The stained glass was captured with complete clarity. The Pieta was perfectly lit. I could see the detail of each piece as if I were there. The photos were perfectly framed with a level of detail that matched the photos themselves. We got there just in time. One of the photos was pulled off the wall as we sat there. I envied the buyer. The artist had binders filled with other works.We walked outside and found the artist enjoying the beautiful weather, surrounded by his photos of nature and other scenes. My favorite was a photo of a squirrel playing in the snow.

Mark Anderson Studios
We walked up stairs, following the scratchy voice of Bob Dylan to the doorway of this studio. Caricatures of public figures lined a table (Hitler, Castro, Churchill, and others). Cleanly drawn sketches. The table/workbench on the other side had Jewish Review journals/magazines and boldly illustrated books. For the Love of the Cubs and For the Love of Dog caught my eye. O is for Obama, a book of large political caricatures, made me pause. Exhibit postcards, prints, illustrations, and children's drawings covered the wall. It was a cozy spot. I noticed a small print of an illustration of Samuel Beckett that I had seen a Paul Henry's Art Gallery. I could have spent all day looking at these illustrations, at all the detail and objects in the background.

Substation #9
This branch of the South Shore Arts is a great spot for classes. They had Another Green World: Mixed Media by JoAnna Dornick on display. The art was carefully crafted from bike chains, metal shavings, paint, plastic bottles, and a number of other materials. They were all different shapes and sizes. Some were reaching out off the backing. I had to stop myself from reaching out and touching them.

Hammond INnovation Center
I didn't even know this office was there. It was nice to check it out. A number of illustrators had tables in one of the main rooms. Julio A. Guerra of J.A.G Art/Screaming Brain Comics had stacks of cleanly drawn comic art. A fierce Batman and a deeply layered Two-Face caught my eye. He had a stack of illustrations for his Joo Bear online comic. We chatted with D.K. Upshaw. She's been an illustrator since the 80s. Her comic is featured in a Gary, Indiana publication, as well as on her website and an online cartoon channel. Darrick Chen and his partner were there showing off the Onward Bound graphic novel series, where the gun-slinging Wild West meets fantasy. They had magnets, trading cards, and audio books. A couple of other illustrators sat and talked with visitors about their work.

Towle Theater
An artist at the Towle put the collection into perspective for me. It was a 10th anniversary installation with a representative piece of artwork hanging on the wall for each year. It included photographs, drawings, and a statue of sorts (the torso of a pregnant woman covered in a painted design).

Paul Henry's Art Gallery
This spot was a pleasure as usual. I could hear someone playing the piano as I walked up to the door of the former hardware store. In the open area a man was playing the piano, a woman was drawing, and Chris Guzman was painting a bright red boxing glove. He was painting the image of a toddler as a unique Father's Day gift. The table was covered in gloves with portraits of the famous. Bill Cosby, Val Kilmer, and Henry Winkler as the Fonz stuck out among the portraits of boxers. They looked like direct copies, screen prints. I assumed he just painted in the outlines and highlights, but my assumption was wrong. This artist painted it all. Mr. K and I walked around the gallery looking at the old and new artwork. Everywhere we looked was something new. Mr. K pointed out his favorite, an illustration of a Hippopotamoose.

For more info about Paul Henry's Art Gallery, check out my March post.

Side Car
This gallery was up north, a little out of the way. If my attention wasn't called to it, I would have missed it! In this old house, turned gallery, all the space was used. On the walls hung work from Maria Baker and on the floor in every corner were collaboration pieces from Nathan Tonning and Amanda Wong. These sculptures were made out of a house that was important to the local art community of Saginaw, Michigan. A house the visiting students and professors adopted as their own. A building they used to practice techniques and leave their mark. The building was destroyed, and these artists took fragments to preserve. The installation was extended a week for the Hammond Art Walk.

It's Just Serendipity
Local creations were scattered among the rest of the shop stock. Little blue cards noted if a piece was locally made. It was quite an assortment of unique works. Frames fashioned from jewelry, preserved pennants of local teams, purses crafted from album covers, and old grain sacks stitched together for a new type of decor were on shelves throughout the store. It was like a treasure hunt and really gave visitors an opportunity to walk through the store and get a feel for what this shop offers.

Hammond Arts Center
This fairly new spot was one that I wasn't aware of prior to the art walk. It's a wide open space with framed photos and paintings lining the walls. The artist, Professor Yueqi Zhang of Purdue University Calumet, was discussing his work with the gallery visitors. I had to walk around the room twice to try to begin to take it all in. The colors were vibrant. I wanted to be in the fall scenes depicted with layer upon layer of paint. I could see every brush stroke. I could almost smell the sunset in one of the colorful paintings.

Merge Building
We were greeted by the owner of the building when we walked in. He invited us to walk around. Any open door was an opportunity to see a new piece of art. Some was for sale, some was part of their private collection. We passed desks and coffee makers. If only all workplaces were so visually stimulating. Every hall we turned into had something new and creative hanging on the walls. Sculptures hid in every corner. In addition to the art, we got an understanding of the business environment and processes of Accucraft Imaging.

The Hammond Art Walk was a fun day out. This was only the second year, but I hope there are many more to come. 

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