An Artists’ Colony Grows on Calhoun Street
Sometimes the simple act of standing near another person who is deep in thought, hands moving quickly and with purpose over a blank canvas can spark creativity. Walking past 1835 S. Calhoun Street on any given evening and you are liable to see lights on and evidence of this communal spark of inspiration. The second floor of this building is slowly being renovated from raw space into finished rooms and as windows are replaced and electricity installed, local artists step in to fill a much needed space.
A group of the visual artists from this location have banded together to form a loose collective named the 1835 Crew. The moniker was chosen more as a nod to their combined interests in contemporary art movements than to any actual street cred. They have collected a sampling of their individual pieces into a show that is currently on display at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art named “The 1835 Crew is…” with the ellipsis standing in for the wide variation of subjects and styles. The spaces draw many of Fort Wayne’s motivated makers: there are musicians, web designers and even a record label, but it was the visual types that found themselves bonding over a shared loft.
Bob Storey, longtime Fort Wayne illustrator to the many local bands and clubs in town, brings his brightly colored, precision styled graphic works to a large scale, with bubblegum colors and perfect, pitch black outlines depicting icons of the American dream. He has been at the 1835 building the longest of the four and finds inspiration in the scenes of the skyline. “The view north towards downtown along with the city noise or silence is always a nice start and finish to each session.”
Josef Zimmerman’s meticulously framed photo installations find curious connections between the empty and decaying exteriors of buildings and the carefully crafted steel, plexiglass and wood constructions that support them. He finds his subjects locally as he hikes through the Fort Wayne area, often times he will “… trek around aimlessly trying to get lost in hopes of discovering that one composition.”
Daniel Denielt’s works delve deeply into the world of color, texture and shape. Outlines of a young man repeat endlessly, distorted by waves of saturated tones. His works are built from the panel up, many times sanded and restarted. He says that he is “…always sanding off work in progress and finish works. I enjoy watching new layers develop. That usually brings on new ideas and directions for me to move forward.“ He finds his inspiration in nature and “from the smallest details to the largest objects surrounding me.”
Kay Gregg’s colorful multimedia visions are populated with the machines of convenience for a bygone era. Fully threaded film projectors stand motionless and silent, both in person and in effigy. The real object is displayed on a pedestal next to the artist’s interpretation. On the wall hangs detailed, almost technical portrayals of the 2 track, reel-to-reel tape player, or the dark lensed 8mm film camera. Why bother with junk no one uses? “It used to take a great deal of effort to document the embarrassing, tragic or poignant moments of our lives. Sometimes the product was disappointing, but in way, more real.“
“1835 Crew is…” will be on display at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art from December 19th through February 28th. Meet the artists at the January 30th museum event, ArtScene, from 7-9pm with an artists’ panel discussion with snacks and a cash bar.