Public Art in Chicago- A comprehensive blog by Jyoti Srivastava

Lakefront Sculpture Exhibit, By Various Artists Temporary Exhibit, Lincoln Park
Image Courtesy: Jyoti Srivastava, Public Art in Chicago


One of the most amazing things about Chicago is the amount of wonderful art there is in public spaces. The art is there for everyone to interact with in everyday life. I feel like that moment- when you break away from the everyday mundane and stop, stare and reflect- is the most profound encounter of the day.

As I was looking for the details of some of the sculptures at the University of Chicago, I stumbled onto Jyoti’s blog on Public Art in Chicago. The blog is very visual, full of images and well-documented text. Through ardent research, the blogger meets artists and carefully documents. Photography is only one of her skills as she articulates why she loves what she does, how it inspires her and meticulously documents her process and subjects at work.

Monday late night musings

My musings today are small paragraphs from Salman Rushdie’s book ‘Fury’ which I am currently reading

“To live in metropolis was to know that the exceptional was as commonplace as diet soda, that abnormality was the popcorn norm”

“.. the anguish of lonliness and ignorance, needle sharp torment of cities and the dull mad pain of empty plains, the pain of wanting without knowing what was wanted.”

Enough said.

Indian Contemporary Poet: Shilpa Kameswaran

Canny Workmen 2008, 24×36 in, Mixed media on canvas

The Edifice Butterflies : Shilpa Kameswaran
I arrive in the alpha world city.
Each day I arrive.
Since the preceding sixty-six years,
I’ve arrived.
I arrive from a far community,
In a far municipality of the sovereign republic.
Yet, I am counted not in metropolitan Mumbai’s census.
The gang lords, rental lords, political lords
Failed to spot me too.
I arrive by myself;
I arrive along with scores of men.
We’ve arrived since hefty masses of
Sand, cement and steel were assimilated
To erect the foremost tall commercial blocks.
We’ve arrived since hefty masses of
Bamboo were assimilated
To erect the foremost lofty scaffoldings
Around sky-scraping commercial blocks.
We’ve arrived from a far community
With nothing but, our brown limbs,
To scale the soaring bamboo scaffoldings,
And care for the condescending commercial raises
With our brown, brown limbs.
Scaffolding climbing isn’t a trade,
And by profession we are united not.
Ascending assorted scaffoldings each week,
The foremost edifice ‘butterflies’ are we. 

Maybe the reason we instantly clicked is because like me, she holds different qualifications but passionately works with her creativity. I admire her ability to produce new work, whist contextualizing the existing, her need to learn and try new things, while still focusing on her core; her sincere desire to help and work with others. I am now working on collaborating with her on a publication titled,Urban Confustions‘.

An Eye for Color: Olga Gutierrez De La Roza

 An Eye For Color: by Olga Gutierrez De La Roza

I am a color junkie. I love bright vibrant colors flooding my canvas- the challenge is obviously to keep the harmony and knowing when to stop! This book was the perfect find for me. It helped me to create my own color balance and develop a sense of what works and what doesn’t.

She divides the book by color, taking a chapter for each and commencing with the work of a painter or designer and breaking it down into the palette used (RGB and CMYK). Next, it is up to the reader to create a file of swatches based on these, in order to create an inspiration reference. It is also possible for you to simply refer the variety of groupings in the book. It is an enjoyable and handy tool, with barely any text, keeping it uncomplicated. The kind of nicely-designed book that makes you want to just leaf through it before starting any new project.

Sketching en plein air, Regents Park, London

My husband is on a three-month internship in London this summer. So, I find myself back in the city where I learnt to look at art and life differently. Though I don’t have access to art materials or studio space, I am taking the time to sketch and spend as much time as I can outdoors in this city. Since we are living so close to Regents park, I decided to go out and sketch today. It kept threatening to rain and I almost went back, but it eased off when I reached my favorite spot by the bridge. The park was almost empty when I came in and after a while people stopped by and peeked over my shoulder. Working outdoors can be both annoying and entertaining, depending on the mood.

Regents Park, London

I used a Stabilio point 88 set of 10 colors and a Pentel brush with an in-built water reservoir. The brush is great as it has a water holder which releases just enough water to dampen and spread the ink, without flooding the page. It also eliminates the need to carry water and brushes with you. A good sketching pad is of course a necessity. My preference is the Daler Rowney, A4 size with spiral binding. I like using lots of water, so I prefer 160gsm to avoid warping of the paper.

I loved this tutorial by Katherine Tyrrell on sketching outdoors. She gives a full list of things that are useful and situations that you may face. Everything from how to select a good spot and materials that you may need is covered! Very comprehensive guide.

Enjoy the summer en plein air.

No More Secondhand Art: Peter London

“No more Secondhand Art- Awakening the artist within” by Peter London
“A joy to read. In a style both conversational and precise, London questions the conventional attitudes that form a barrier to keep art outside most people’s lives. London shows us that making images is as natural as speech, as dreams.”—Yoga Journal

Technique is relatively easy to learn. It takes some good tutors, books, materials and perseverance. What is much more difficult, is of course- Originality. How to find your style? How to make something different that no one has made before? This book really helped me look at art differently. In the past few years, whenever I have felt devoid of ‘inspiration’, I went back to the book and worked on the exercises.The ‘Creative Encounters’ are designed to help you find your inner voice.

Peter London, an artist and art therapist really knows what he is talking about and I would recommend this book to every artist looking to make a mark and to every art teacher attempting to teach how to make art.