Akron has been good to me. My whole outlook on the arts in Midwest towns has changed. I see that me having been mostly gone for 13 years has not left Ohio without growth! (Insert wry smile here.) Attitudes have shifted to understand that supporting the arts is essential to revitalize depression, not only on personal levels, but for macro-city-wide improvement as well. There are so many more venues and actual art sales happening in Ohio these days; it lifts my spirit to have witnessed the new growth.
So join me in my last hurrah here this Wednesday, October 9th, at Lil’ RedPresents on 30 South Maple Street in Akron, Ohio. I am inspired by, dedicating, and donating my live creation to Lil’ Red and Joshua Page for their determination to bring more arts to Akron’s Nightlife. Watch my vision unfold on 36×96″ of blank board as you savor a mid-week drink, socialize with like minds, and shake it to the sounds of musician Derek, Dj’s Encyclopedia Brown and Secret Sauce.
Here’s the rest of my Akron story: the live paintings and reflections upon Ohio past, present, and future.
Being immersed in Ohio this summer, I have contemplated my childhood in an industrial city. Playing outside to the smells of burning chemicals, rubber, and who-knows-what-is-in-that-orange-sky was an oftentimes occurrence. Having asthma and living with my Father’s long hours at a metal shop was par for the course. At the same time, this city was built around the industrial revolution. My Grandmother came to work in a factory in Akron from a farm near Mount Vernon, Ohio during World War II and met my Navy Grandfather.
So many have this story as part of their Akron history. Reading through my Grandmother’s High School yearbook gave me the impression that joining the war effort as a nurse, working in a factory in “the booming cities of Akron and Cleveland”, or staying on the farm as a housewife were all the options presented to girls back then. AND those were more options than their mothers had. So I reserve all judgement for industry itself and hope that the future brings jobs that will support the arts, the environment, and the people involved in better ways. I have ideas about this, but that is a whole other article.
Here, I present to you the spontaneous paintings performed live at various venues while on my extended tour of Ohio. I was absolutely inspired by my memories of Akron’s past, and my hope for its future. I like to play with symbols and grand themes like this Phoenix rising from the piles of burning tires.
I especially love painting on stage with musicians. The thrill of the added inspiration of live music and the performance aspect of being watched under pressure has me thriving! Rachel Roberts at The Ohio Brewing Company was an inspiration and summer highlight.
I always have a vision for the live painting on my way to the venue or the day before. And then the venue itself lends elements to the outcome. This one was no exception. I remember feeling the connection and aliveness of the space music emitting from Derek and the Rabbithole sounds of his Roland MC505 live as I painted my space background.
This next one had an unfortunate accident during transport at a later event and completely broke in half between the 2 octopi. If someone wants to buy it and frame it as a diptych, I’ll take offers!
It is fitting that this last Ohio inspiration painting was created at home: it encompasses all the love and joy I feel for my hometown and especially for so many of the warm, giving, and smart people who live here. I love you Rubber City! xxoo -Yabette