Monday, June 29, 2009

2009 Comfest: Best on Sunday

The 2009 Comfest was witness to a stabbing on the ever crowded Saturday Night. Sundays are usually overlooked because things only run until dark on the final day of the three day weekend. This year, Sunday seemed to be the best without too much of a crowd and a wide variety of art and music. Not to mention great (though windy) weather.

The above etch-a-sketch for the 2009 Comfest was in the dash of one of the art cars. Parking wasn't quite so bad as a typical Saturday, though many chose to bicycle in from the neighborhoods or wherever they parked their car with a bike rack. The special parking for bikes was moved to the northwest corner of the park, so additional walking was required to the exhibits.

Artist legends were running booths like Paul Volker (top in yellow shirt) who was raising money for autism that included games involving famous paintings (top right). Daniel Work cames in all the way from Portland Oregon to pitch his traditional art booth (above lower picture).
There was a Whatzit (above) roaming the grounds. This was infront of WCRS-FM's booth.
Six stages kept people jamming including the big "bozo" stage above that usually sits thousands for the major local acts. There's also the Gazebo stage, the Jazz stage, the Arts Stage and..
The Solar (above left) and OffRamp Stage (above right). The Offramp features louder, new wave and punk bands.
Habeeba Belly Dancers entertained the Solar Stage (above). They did a quite different dance involving making their scarfs into curtains they hid behind to be opened up as the dance progressed.

Mexican Wrestling Masks provided a colorful sight to see.
The Arts and College Preparatory Academy (ACPA) brought doors to paint and examples of the work they do to prepare teenagers for art school. They are looking for new students.
The Art Car lot included many new entrants including the exciting toys that adorn the roof above. The dragon (below) was made out of flatten beer cans, but another car had tons of toy figures in a massive group that was just short of over-the-top.

And of course, the topless trend continues with a new organization running a booth and offering paint jobs. Spray painted and handpainted boobs seemed to an aire of normalcy to this waredrobe option.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

June, 2009 Gallery Hop: total sidewalk gridlock

The June, 2009 Short North Gallery Hop started very early and went way into the night. The crowd just got bigger and bigger on the street as perfect weather plus other events fed the frenzy. Not only was there spill-over from the downtown Arts Festival, but also the Memorial Golf event, a gamers convention at the convention center, and of course, Ohio's best Zombie Walk. Many new shops were opening. (Above): a Pizza by the Slice shop in an old used car office next to the Fireproof Warehouse. They also had a yard sale with many old bikes.At Fourth Ave. and High Street a few new shops are filling in spaces. Above right is Abbott's Antique Paper & Emporium that specializes in old magazine ads from the 20th century ( ). Next to it is a new "Rock Star" Hair Salon with a pool table called Antie B's. Yet another hair salon shop opened right across the street calling itself Fourth and High. Still one more hair salon has opened at the corner of Russell and High Streets.
RoyGBiv Gallery brought the usual dual artist show of experimentation. Jaime Bennati "s work is made out of newsprint tabloids put together and cut to make wonderful organic shapes. The relief sculptures are very detailed and complex, but being made of newsprint, they won't last more than a few decades and will yellow within months or years. Bennati added to the show (above) with stacks of a thin tabloid along the wall and front window. A green window filter was added to cut-down on the deterioration.
The Ohio Art League is celebrating its 100th birthday, starting as the Columbus Art League and staying true to its membership collective nature. For years they had done an annual juried show and for a few decades published their own tabloid called Columbus Art. Today, they focus on the Short North storefront gallery that this month is showing faces and art by their members on 4 or 5 flatscreen TV's.
The Jung House has returned to their art gallery after months without openings. Lynda McClanahan (above left with accordian) was showing perhaps the best art this June she dubbed "Ohio Red Woman". Her folksy, but very detailed paintings of women and the Columbus skyline is sure to please anybody. She was joined by musicians who provided music for the handful who braved construction on W 3rd St's sidewalk to find this headquarters for the Jungian Society. The Jung House has been in the Short North for close to two decades, showing art along with their workshops. Originally on Russell Street, they now have a beautiful victorian house to put on their events. Let's hope for more.

Also off of High Street among victorian houses is the 83 Gallery (above) at 83 W. 1st Ave. These young artists have turned an old apartment basement into a truly underground gallery. The art just keep getting better (even if the building doesn't). Opened pretty much just during gallery hop.
A sign of the times was at Kathryn Gallery (above) at Russell and High St. This gallery is in a prime location and the artwork is really top drawer. However, people have probably concluded that the artists are from the merchandise world of art that department stores buy from. Don't expect to find the artists to get written up in Art in America or regional publications. Yet, for some stunning paintings and sculpture you'd be proud to show business clients... this is a great sale!
With the rise of dot matrix printers that print right on canvas, as well as Chinese artists willing to copy any famous painting you want, the art market is in a flux even without the economic downturn.

As things became dark during gallery hop, art seemed to give way to a street party with bands and performances from one block to the next. It didn't help that sidewalks are still closed for construction. Yet, bands taking up sidewalk space is becoming a problem. The pocket parks are not plentiful enough. Maybe the question is why so many musicians want to buster an art event.
The girl guitar player in high heels at Hubbard and High has to win as the hardest working musician that night.

Zombie Walk 2009

A genuinely gruesome new tradition to the Short North experience is the Zombie Walk. Just before the gallery hop on June 5th about 200 people dress up and act like zombies. Making their way from Goodale Park to downtown and back to the Short North as the already crowded sidewalks of people try to figure out what's going on. What do the undead want?!!
Old and young zombies from all walks of life carrying body parts and dressed in torn and bloody clothing come to Columbus to answer the call.
There were as many non-zombies as zombies this years. Many had professional cameras and are providing pictures and videos elsewhere on the web. But I bet a few of the humans got bitten and will be joining them in future Zombie Walks.
The Zombie walk in Columbus ends when the S.T.A.R.S. troops (above) mow them down one by one with automatic rifles (OK, they are toys, really). The Zombies get the point and go away until the next year when their restless, soulless bodies return to walk again...

Friday, June 05, 2009

2009 Columbus (Crafts &) Art Festival

For the second year the Columbus Art Festival was held on the campus of the Columbus College or Art and Design with spill-over to the art museum and Columbus State Community College. Then there were events at the Topiary grounds of the Deaf School Park. The museum was wrapping up its Egyptian exhibit at the same time that COSI was beginning an Egyptian Mummy show. Nevertheless, the art festival was almost exclusively out-of-town artists in booths you see at art festivals across the country. This is just one of the largest such events. And, it trends towards the craftsy and anything close to "fine art" is few and far between. The event has been spaced out better with fewer pinch points, but the crowd made one wish to cut between campus buildings more. The food booths were the best ever, with all varieties. Commercial booths at least weren't pushing cars (though cars were pushing beer). As for the musical stage, it was one hour between sets and not much music around the art booths themselves.

Above is a youtube video of a copperman human statue performing and some shots of half of the food vendors.

Off site people are starting to enjoy this location of an art festival. One off-campus apartment building at Grant and Cleveland made their building into an art show and sale of CCAD student work (above). Others sold mix tapes or bottled water. Problem is always how far you need to transport the art you bought to your car.