Large-Scale Painting in Progress: Gallery District Lofts

Still a work in progress, this large-scale painting is inspired by NYC's and Chicago's orginal gallery districts: SoHo and River North. The painting is done on canvas and is about 7 feet high by 10 feet wide. So far, I've been using acrylic and spray paint but will be adding more layers using different painting and drawing media. I've been painting it on the floor and outside on the roof of the studio building. Soon, it will go up on the wall.

 Gallery District Lofts, mixed media on canvas (work in progress), 2013

My first job in the city was in River North at a consumer tech magazine. At lunch I'd go visit galleries or just walk around the neighborhood. Some things are still the same, some different. It's definitely more developed than it was 19 years ago. For example, Walmart Express has replaced the Pearl Art Store. I've visited SoHo since the mid-90's - well past it's heyday - and it's changed a lot since then. I'm sure it's a far cry from what it was in the late 60's/early 70's when artists started moving there and taking over buildings and all kinds of art was converging at the same time in the same place.

This makes me think about how neighborhoods evolve with the help of artists and small galleries who eventually get pushed out due to high rents. Commercialism creeps in. It gets a little less edgy because it's creative core moves on. I'm currently reading the book Rise of the Creative Class by Richard Florida which explores these ideas in depth. But, these places also hold an eternal nostalgia that keep us coming back. I guess there's also that a new place where interesting art or music is percolating just below the surface - waiting to get shown.