That community-wide celebration of creativity know as Art All Night was held this year, as usual, on the last weekend in April. This was the 19th such event, and I’ve been going for something like 15 (or is it 16?) of those. Note: I have not lived in Pittsburgh that long! I stumbled across my first one while I was still living in California, and just happened to be visiting here the weekend it was taking place. In subsequent years, if I was planning a trip here in the first half of the year, I’d do my best to arrange it to include the weekend of Art All Night! After I moved here, I’d refuse invitations to do other things that weekend. Art All Night drew me in again and again!
This year, however, things got tough. I had a piece selected and framed to enter, registered it, and my schedule was open. The latter ended up being a good thing: without going into details, a special person in my life passed away a few days before. So, with calendar clear, I was able to help out with some arrangements, attend the wake and services, etc. (Oh, and for what it’s worth, this was but one of several dear folks I lost in March and April….Sigh.) Although the events associated with this one interfered with Art All Night in general, at least the venue was located between them and my home. I did manage to drop a piece off and pick it back up in the designated hours, and I was even able to pop in for a quick run-around of about 40 minutes on Sunday afternoon (instead of the many hours I typically spend on the Saturday night!). Ten minutes of that was spent talking with some folks I knew, and the rest was a quick dash to view several thousand entries in minutes! Whew!
With that, let me present a few (very few) of the pieces that caught my eye (and my camera’s lens). Small versions should be visible right in this post, but clicking on any of them should open a new window with a larger view.
In some ways a victim of its own success (i.e., as a way to get thousands of people to wander through unused or under-utilised buildings) since the number of enthusiastic entrants and attendees continues to grow, finding a new venue can be a challenge. But finding the venue is easy: just look for the sign:
This greeted people as they approached the entrance ramp on Sunday. There was more chalk art all around the inside, but I suspect this would have been scuffed out even more had it been there at the entrance through the all-night event. (The bottom line says: No angst. No ennui.)
With almost 4,700 squares, the title, “Yep, I impressed my Mom’s Quilting Group” offered a warm welcome to all near the entrance.
This spray-painted Hobbes was the next piece that drew me in, and the title “True Love” did seem to fit it many different ways!
Amidst a dizzying display of the creativity in this community, soon I was catching glimpses of artwork by folks I know. Fellow-Artsmith Audra Azoury’s “Assemblage” (top-center) was the first one I spotted. I’m showing the whole panel it’s on because I also wanted to capture “Sailing Deer Lakes.” Although I don’t know that particular artist nor the specific subjects, it also brought a smile to my face.
Next, I spotted this piece by my metals-buddy, Barbara Kaczor. I wish we could have toured the show together!
In another whole part of the building I caught my neighbor Sabina Rosenfeld’s framed quilt. I got a kick out of the price on it: not because of the exact number she’d used, but that instead of OBO, she’d put “or reasonable offer.” Isn’t that what so many of us want when compromise is necessary: a reasonable offer?!!
This little collection of cats caught my eye too. I captured the image but only later, when I’d run into Sabina and Peter and she said she was looking to find the location of “a board with little cats cut into it,” did I find out that this was the work of Sabina’s brother.
There seemed to be a lot less jewelry this year than there has typically been in the past. I captured images of these two. There were only maybe three others that I couldn’t get (either the lighting was a challenge, or there were too many people hanging out in front of them).
Then, I had to capture these shots for my friend, Sally, with whom I went to a number of Art All Night events, after I moved here and before she moved away. She and her sweetie, John, will know why these brought them to mind.
I am pretty sure that the name given on this entry is that of the photographer who took the picture, not the artist who actually created the image. I love the original, and notice it every time I drive west on Penn Avenue. The wooden railing on the front is an actual railing; the bride who appears to be entering the next unit in the row is actually painted onto the next building.
At another time, while I might have enjoyed the wood-work on this piece, I’m not sure I would have chosen to highlight it. But with all the current uproar over who uses which rest-room, I figured I should note the artistry here, if nothing else, on this single sign:
The whole show took up three huge rooms. I didn’t take all the equipment I can sometimes get my hands on for taking panoramic photos, but I did try to capture a 360° view of the entire northern (river-side) room from what must have been the all-night “dance floor” in the middle of it. Because it’s flattened out, it gives much more weight to the “wall” that appears in the middle than it does to either of the two sides. But there are hundreds of pieces on panels to the left, toward the front of the building, and then almost as many more behind it.
That shot, above, gives you a glimpse of the venue, but no clue of the experience. It was sooooo empty just then, right as they were insisting that everyone had to leave so they could get everything set up for the pick-up process. For most of the 22-hour run, it is packed with participants. I heard a number of people who’d come down on Sunday said they’d tried to come down earlier in the show, and simply could not park and get in, and they’d had to leave and come back several times before they could. (Despite many things I like about Pittsburgh, they’ve been cutting back on public transportation way too much; and when you can’t use it reliably, people use it less and less even during the limited times / places it is available. Because they don’t feel they can count on it. But I digress….)
Each year there seems to be some surprising “trend” among the entries. That is, something I notice being repeated a number of times that is way higher than I might ever have guessed for that style or approach. When I have more time than I did that Sunday, I’ll then trace my steps back and try to capture shots of all the entries that fit the trend. This time, I didn’t have the time, but the following picture sort of illustrates two trends I noticed:
- A surprising number of entries (relative to the whole show) included seemingly-random patterns of circles.
- A surprising number of entries by young children (relative to the total number in this category) were displayed in extremely fancy frames!
So, while Livia’s “Spring Chickens” are not exactly random patterns of circles, they are an interesting minor variation on that theme. And the frame on this child’s art does definitely fit the pattern for the work of 6 year olds this year,
I took the time to capture that last photo, above, as I tried to find the right angle at which to shoot the whole panel on which my entry was displayed. Can you find mine?
In case you can’t quite see my entry, The Empress’s Portal, in that shot, I’ll repeat here the close-up I posted a few days ago, the one I took to keep in the records of my creations:
Until next year, then… Be creative!