Chicago’s Old Town Art Fair is not on the front page of any tourist pamphlet or at the forefront of anyone’s mind when visiting the city. However, for the art lovers in town, it’s an excellent opportunity to see some unique art and explore the adorable Old Town neighborhood. Although the primary reason to attend the fair is to observe the 250 nationally acclaimed artists that come to town, it’s also a great place to find locally owned and operated businesses that can get overshadowed by those downtown lights. This year marks the 72nd year of the art fair and will be held on June 11 and 12th, here are four artists that will make the Old Town Art Fair your new summer vacation.
Joel Anderson – Photography
Joel Anderson’s black and white approach to photography describes more than just the colors he chooses to print in. Since the beginning of his official photography career in the early 90s, Anderson has stuck to the good old-fashioned film camera to capture his images. His body of work includes everything from farm animals to the activities of his Amish neighbors. Anderson’s subject choices may seem unconventional and slightly out of place in our modern society, but the way he captures these moments makes them truly timeless.
Su Abbott – Abstract Painting
Su Abbott is a self-taught abstract painter who only got her start in 2003, she merely began painting as a medium for stress relief. However, 19 years later her artwork has become her business and she is featured at dozens of art fairs all over the country each year. Abbott is largely inspired by nature, in fact, a large portion of her paintings are named after different national parks. Using subtle colors that reflect natural landscapes she is able to distort our perception of nature through the use of differing brush strokes and limited shape use. Abbott’s work is exciting and challenging, it forces the viewer to throw out their own idea of nature and look at it from a very different viewpoint.
Betsy Best – Printmaking
Printmaker Betsy Best has studied printmaking all over the world including in Japan and Italy. Best uses water-based paint and woodblocks, a technique originating in Japan, to create her artwork. With a background in graphic design Best’s artwork displays an interesting mix between modernity and antiquity. The juxtaposition between printing, one of the oldest art forms, with the use of her graphic art style and use of vibrant colors makes for a very interesting mix. Additionally, the fusion of American and Japanese influence throughout Best’s work makes for extremely unique pieces.
Seth Carlson – Jewelry
Seth Carlson’s approach to his craft is extremely interesting, as he refuses to use any animal products in the creation of his work and exclusively uses ethically sourced materials. Furthermore, all of Carlson’s jewelry is handmade, making each piece more than just a necklace, ring, or brooch but rather entire pieces of artwork. The jewelry is beautiful and profound yet subtle. Because Carlson only uses old-fashioned blacksmith techniques to create his pieces, an element of wear and tear is exhibited in each of his pieces. However, it is that weathering that truly makes the art beautiful. One can feel the weathering of time the world has had on the metals, and the hard work it took to turn a metal rod into a beautiful ring. It is the process that should be admired about Carlosons work, not just the jewelry itself.