Howard Scott’s funny maps intrigue visitors at the 57th Street Art Fair

Browsing the 57th Street Art Fair, right in our very own neighborhood of Hyde Park in Chicago, is another one of our family traditions. It’s one of the oldest art fairs in the country (it began in 1948), and is always held the first full weekend in June. Since it’s a juried art fair, the quality of artwork is consistent, and we love discovering new artists or visiting with favorites we have seen before. Following I’m sharing some of the art work that intrigued us, as well as some street scenes to give you a feel for what it was like to be wandering about all this art.

Wait a minute! Cacti don’t grow here? – These metal sculptures by Desert Steel Co. are so realistic, I had to look twice.

I absolutely loved this Golden Barrel Cactus by Desert Steel Co., especially the fact that it could “grow” in our northern climate.

Strolling down Kimbark Ave.

One of the intricate baskets by Martha Monson Lowe from Iowa. She also exhibits at the Northeast Iowa Artists’ Studio Tour, an event that I would very much like to visit some day.

This oil painting by Rodgers Naylor caught my eye from across the street. Sadly, it had already sold, but then again, I would not have been able to afford it anyway. We did have a pleasant conversation with the artist, though, about how Hyde Park has changed from when he lived here in the 70s, and how this painting was done in northern Spain but really could have been in any of the Mediterreanan countries.

My daughter recently wrote a fairy tale involving ravens sitting on poles, so we were stunned to find them so aptly depicted in Glynnis Lessing’s ceramics.

My daughter is a glass fetishist and last year she fell in love with the glass pumpkins by Jack Pine Studio. We were happy to find him exhibiting again. She doesn’t go for these serene white ones though; she prefers purple and blues.

My daughter’s “collection” of Jack Pine’s pumpkins has grown now by the bluish pumpkin on the left.

We both fell in love with the whimsical animal sculptures by Malen Pierson. Turns out he is from northern Utah, where he has enough space to create his sculptures out of scrap metal, but he spends a good deal of his summer hauling them to art fairs around the country.

Now we’re both dreaming of having a pony with a shovel for a hind quarter.

Wandering down 57th Street.

Loved these frames cut from the same trunk by Turning Green.

I saw Chinese embroidery work recently when my friend and I were visiting Suzhou on a day trip from Shanghai, and she advised me not to buy it because what we saw there was cheaply done. I was happy to find this very kind of embroidery in Yan Inlow’s work at the Hyde Park Art Fair. Her work is so masterful, the stitches so whispy, and the silk thread so fine, that you have to step up close to the “painting” to see that it’s in fact not painted, but embroidered. Clearly, she’s also a consummate artist as she sketches these scenes first before embroidering them.

My daughter buys something from local glass artist Roberta Mezinskas every year and has slowly built a little collection:

Do you detect a theme?

There were also plenty of photographers exhibiting whose work I liked, but taking pictures of pictures is not a such good thing. I plan to browse their websites and hope to share some of their work here soon.