The “Artists of the Wall” is an annual event held in Chicago’s Loyola Park, usually in June, whereat members of the Rogers Park community decorate a 600 foot concrete retaining wall / park bench. While I’ve missed about half the years of this century so far, I’ve habitually taken photos of the work I like. The gallery below contains the photos that I like from the year 2009.
I don’t know the story behind this shrine but it’s not usually good news. One assumes the worst: a death. And yet, what could be a more appropriate portrayal of the ruin left behind from a death than a symbolically delirious pile of fragments?
It’s a shambles, not the dead but those left alive.
I’ve almost certainly spent too much of my time since retirement from activism and working watching episodes of Time Team and that has seriously warped the way I see things like this. Time Team, in case you missed it, is / was a U.K. TV program that combined reality TV with science documentary with (ultimately) a sort of popular archeology movement, all anchored by several academics with vivid, if not to say eccentric, personalities who, since they were all mostly specialists, fit the TV trope of coming on each episode to occupy each their niche in the drama.
No, I haven’t seen the new series yet.
Seeing this shrine, I now wonder how ancient is that practice of adding stones to an altar, grave or cenotaph — not to mention broken items as offerings? Wasn’t it pebbles of quartz that people would bring to place at an altar during the first millennium? And our bronze age relations, they were no fools in bringing broken items as offerings. It wasn’t simply a matter of economy, I suspect, but rather in a spiritual sense, it was a retirement of the item offered, a giving back.
And why do I have this image of a small dog held suspended above water but its legs, all four, helplessly in full furious paddle?
Since the early 1990s, there has been an annual Artists of the Wall event in Chicago’s Loyola Park wherein folks from the Rogers Park community sign up to decorate a portion of a concrete retaining wall / bench that runs along the Lake Michigan shore. Since the turn of the century, I’ve often taken photos of the parts that I like. To see all that I have posted of them, click on the AotW tag.
The photos below are the photos from 2007 that I like, sometimes of an entire panel and sometimes of just a detail. These were also not taken with a digital camera but with a largely automatic Pentax. The prints were scanned about a decade later.
This article is being posted on April 23, 2022. The 2022 Artists of the Wall event will be held on the weekend of June 18 and 19. Registration to paint one of the 150 spaces available will be online and take place over three days: May 1, May 3 and May 5, 50 spaces each day. For more information, visit the Loyola Park Advisory Council’s website.
Here are two strays from the 2021 Artists of the Wall. I’m pretty sure these are panels I missed photographing back in 2021 or perhaps I simply did not like the resulting photos. Though… I have seen panels replaced or elaborated over the year that they’re on the wall.
This is another series of images captured from the annual “Artists of the Wall” event in Chicago’s Loyola Park. These are from the year 2003 and they are the images that I liked the best. Like the earlier “Artists of the Wall” posts this year, these were taken with a largely automated Pentax film camera. The prints were scanned a few years ago. A regular visitor to this blog might have been wondering if I had skipped 2003. So was I, but I found the files eventually.
2003 was the 10th Artists of the Wall event. Each year the organizers suggest two topics or themes for the artwork. Generally, people end up doing whatever they please, including sometimes addressing one or the other theme. My impression of 2003 is that people may have paid closer attention to the suggested themes than in most previous years but maybe not by much. But people here in the States do have a fascination with the odometer’s rolling zero.
Every June (with a COVID break) since the early 1990s, folks from the Rogers Park neighborhood decorate a 600 foot concrete retaining wall / park bench. What I do, not every year but frequently, is wander along the wall some weeks later and photograph whatever I happen to like. Or in the case of actual film photography, whatever I could afford.
These 2006 photos were done using film and a largely automatic Pentax camera. The prints were scanned several years ago. The photos below are the images I like. It was a pretty good year, but judge for yourself.
No: for real. These are ice clouds and it has nothing to do with it being winter. Up where these clouds float, water shivers and freezes, becoming cakes of floating ice crystals — which is, come to think of it, exactly what they would be if they were spread upon the surface of the beach or of the lake rather than tens of thousand feet above. Now listen for the crunch-squeak of giant feet walking in the snow above…
When you consider that part of my Dad’s job was to take weather readings at the local airport, I grew up remarkably ignorant of meteorology, even to the point of not realizing just how ignorant I was. Things haven’t improved much. I can tell you that the clouds in the photo are cirrostratus / cirrocumulus but I wouldn’t insist upon it as that level of confidence requires a kind of pattern recognition that is not one of my strong points, as I discovered when I tried to learn to recognize different woods by their grain (8th grade shop class, if you must know).
Those of you with a smattering of Latin should catch a distinct whiff of biology in the terminology and you’re right. The practice of cloud nomenclature largely stems from the work of 18th / 19th centuries “industrial chemist and amateur meteorologist” Luke Howard who did indeed borrow from the Linnaean. There’s only been one book-length biography of Howard that I know of, Richard Hamblyn’s 2001 The Invention of Clouds. I think I may reread it rather than simply reshelving it.
“Artists of the Wall” is an annual event in Loyola Park where various folks from Rogers Park decorate a stretch of wall / bench; unfortunately I know none of the artists though a few are professional. These are some photos I took of the artwork in 2004. They were taken with a very automatic Pentax camera. The prints were scanned several years ago.
Did I not take photos of the 2003 artwork? I don’t know. I’ll keep looking. For photos of artwork from other years, click on the “AotW” tag.