Art in Peoria

by Jimmie Kennedy

I have to admit I could not have enjoyed art as much as I did while at the Art Guild to see the works of seniors at Bradley, Christian Arrecis, and Ian Carey. From the moment I walked in I was greeted by the art director to walk me through some of the works of Christian’s explaining his techniques. I believe that the warm welcoming and the cheerful personalities of the director and coordinators are what caused me to stay as long as I did while there. Being that this was my first time at this facility I was just really looking to look at the work of the Newfangled, yet I caught myself staying there for over an hour listening to all the people explaining the different pieces and truly understand the development of each work of art. I was at total awe while there and it even caused me to add myself to this summer’s volunteer list. I believe with this particular venue it was more about the vibe than just the art. However, the art was amazing.

As I have said in many of my papers, I am all about communication when it comes to the observation of art. I will always choose to talk over self-evaluate the art myself. I believe the amount of energy and communication is really what made this show so amazing to me. I was able to hear what others had to say, I actually had a woman come up to me while looking at “Spectre” by Christian who just talked to me about how she and her husband had been looking at this picture for years arguing over the true meaning of the work. The idea that people who saw themselves as true followers of these artist wanted the opinion of a rookie, someone who had never heard of any of these kinds of art pieces nor their creators baffled me for a while. Nevertheless I progressed on, as I walked around the coordinator and the director would check up on me to make sure I was understanding the work of the artist as well as seeing it all for my paper. Which I found to be very pleasing, a good personality will make or break a showing and it is easy to say that they did not fail at least with me.

The Void

The Void

I believe that for me the artist of the day was Christian, who had amazing pieces and is photos were very unique. Christian is a photographer who naturally develops his photos. This means instead of using a black room to develop them he would set them out in the sun to be overexposed and give each picture an entirely new meaning. When I was able to truly look at them I felt like I was surrounded by the back story, the fact that for a second there was an event, a person, or an item that was photographed but this was the trueness behind it.  This idea seemed so genius to me, we are judging a photo that probably was just a person sitting on a chair but because of the imaginations of each person, the world has no limit to what can actually be seen. The fact that each picture could not be copied because you can’t control natural exposure really intrigued me. 

There were so many silhouette of people and the colors were magnificent, but the best ones were those that were literally blank because the exposure to the sun made them completely brown and unavailable to view what was once there. I love art that has a different side to it, I believe this was just a huge spin on something so simple and is part of everyday life. Something we do that we think nothing about. I think that the reason this jumped at me was that a picture is really straight to the point, you see the people, the place, the thing, whatever was in front of that camera you’ll know, but this puts that all out of your mind. You are not trying to figure out what was there once before but what you can get out of it now that the original is no longer a factor.

Christian had one photo “Propagate” that actually caught my attention for an extensive period of time. I believe because of all the fanfare it was receiving. What I had not known was the huge following this artist had and how so many people adored everything he did. When I made it to this piece and was trying to grasp the idea behind this photo and try to see if I could even figure out what it was supposed to mean, I was interrupted by a fellow observer who wanted to tell me more about it. It seemed that somehow Christian was able to manipulate the photos during the development stage with leaves to force this outline of it, and by arranging them in a certain line, after they were done they looked like a spine. I mean the human spine, but you were able to see the silhouette of the people he used in the original picture. It was like photography inception. I stared at, and even wanted it for quite a while until I was able to see the price tag of $250 and that was when I saw that a picture on my phone would suffice.  

The mystical “Void” was beyond amazing to me, the fact that it looked like this beautiful blue black hole was amazing. This was the favorite of not just mine but ever child there as well. There was something about this photo, this never-ending circle of light surrounded by nothing but darkness. I was mesmerized by it to be honest. The idea that something like that could come from something that was not meant to be of such beauty really changed my outlook on photography.  He used a silver gelatin photogram to give it those colors and I believe it did him justice.  The more I looked at it the more it made me see the universe we live it, it made me reevaluate what I know about the world that surrounded me. The best part was when I told the director of my ideology behind it he said that I was not the first person who said the same thing, well nearly the same thing. The void was an open ended piece which is why it was so beloved by so many who saw it. I think that it really made a great center piece for all of his work in the room.

Finally the piece of his that I really took up a lot of my time was Passage II. This was picture that took on a religious theme to me. What I mean by this is that it looked as though the silhouette in the photo was being surrounded by these heavenly lights and being raptured to heaven. It was one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen. The fact that this person was actually being lifted from his or her spot to be re-purified was great. I liked it because even without the intent to be something that religious it was allowed for the mind to truly see it and think of something like that. I wanted to know if I were the only one who saw this, so I asked this mother when she was looking at it as well what she thought of it, and she did not say raptured but she said it did look like a bright force or a good energy was surround this girl. Though different words I took that as two minds seeing something of the same. When I saw it was my civil duty to keep a copy of it to show others and ask their opinions.

Of course after looking at all the works of that artist, I had to take a gander at the Newfangled. While looking at it there was one piece that really did catch my eye which was “Stuffed” my Heather Sweet.  This was seven pictures of seven people eating some of the sloppiest foods in the sloppiest ways. I looked at this a out primal lives and how we are forced and trained to eat a certain way after a certain age. I say this because every parent who saw this with their child all asked the question “Who does this look like?” this is because we lose the ability to truly stuff ourselves and eat like savages after childhood. This was cool because these seven people were these people adults eating the childhood favorites as well: macaroni, meat, ice cream, spaghetti, corn on the cob, wings, and of course the whisk from a chocolate cake batter. These were all the foods we once ate and didn’t care what we looked like while we ate them, it was a time of innocence, which is why I thought Heather did such an amazing job.

While at the Guild I was able to see so many different types of work that really took my love for art to a new level. I love the originality of all the artist and I liked how interactive the entire event was. I could not help myself but to entangle myself into this world. All of the works of art had this uniqueness to them that made you want to take them. I learned that there is no such thing as a bad piece, maybe a misunderstood one, but thanks to the coordinator, the directors, and the artist themselves elaboration was right behind the corner. I believe this is why I felt the need to want to donate my time to them, because they do a great job at hosting and showing the best of everything.