We all March for Art March!
Words and Images by Kayla Goggin
Another month, another First Friday Art March! This month’s Art March brought in even more artists, vendors, sights and sounds for locals and tourists alike to enjoy than ever before. Scattered throughout the downtown area and along Forsyth Park, the night was alive with live musical acts, gallery opening and closing receptions, innovative local craft vendors and great food and drinks (of course, Desotorow’s signature lemonade made an appearance!)
I started my march at the locus of the night’s activity: the Desotorow Gallery itself, which had the honor of hosting local painter Hayden John’s very first solo exhibition. John’s work radiated a vibrancy that spilled out onto the street and drew people in all night. With a strong emphasis on curvilinear line, the incorporation of highly graphic style elements, and the mixing of found objects into the paint, John’s work has a certain Pop Art feel.
He spoke briefly to me about his interest in removing the hand of the artist and creating a more streamlined, mechanized aesthetic with his Orb works–arguably the focus of the show. For me, the stand-out works were from his Tarts series: paintings of women on large glass panels, experimenting with depth on an extremely flat plane and introducing foreign elements like crushed glass beads and glitter into the paint medium in a style reminiscent of Jasper Johns.
Moving out of the gallery back on to the street, the surf rock band Wave Slaves soaked the Art Market with energy. At the Kids Crafts area DesotoCorps member JoJo Acosta worked with children to create melted crayon art while parents had the chance to peruse the elaborately decorated vendor booths lining Desoto Ave. Leatherworkers/Designers from Well-Loved, candle-makers from Wildwood General Store, metalworkers from H&M Creative Works of Savannah and bakers from Paws Out pet bakery were just some of the diverse group of vendors who came out to participate.
From there I made my way over to Graveface Records for their Vinyl Appreciation night where I found a whole new round of excellent music and oddities to check out. I grabbed a pack of 90’s pin-up trading cards and walked down to Non-Fiction Gallery to find out which artists had won a place in December’s group show. Ahrong Kim’s Disco Mind, a work that immediately struck me as a stand-out piece at the opening reception, was among the winners (which included Max Shuster, Jenny Eitel and Perry Angelora). Many congratulations to the winners and runners-up–we look forward to seeing December’s exhibition!
From there, my route took me to the Sentient Bean which hosted an exhibition called “Myblock: Uncompromised”. The photographs displayed were all taken by students of the Film and Photography program of All Walks of Life, Inc. AWOL is a non-profit that provides arts and technology education for at-risk youth. This show offered a totally different mood and aesthetic than any of the others of this month’s Art March. The raw, unfettered honesty of the photos was, in some ways, a reprieve from the often intensely labored-over feel of some local shows. Any proceeds from the show go directly back to AWOL to help fund future programs. If you would like to support their cause, the show is still up and I would strongly encourage anyone who missed it on the Art March last Friday to check it out.
My next stop was a visit to Sicky Nar Nar to check out Andrew Humke’s solo exhibition entitled 5 Drawings. The exhibit consisted of five large-scale drawings that Humke told me are just the beginning of a whole new aesthetic for him. Blending architectural and organic forms, the graphite drawings are much more about process than concrete, examined themes. Citing the flat two-dimensionality of classical Fresco paintings as an influence, Humke is focusing on creating his own evolving symbology. It seems too early to make any sort of critique on these new works as they are just the first layer in a rich strata that the artist hopes to soon build. The next few months should bring some interesting developments for this burgeoning local artist—we can’t wait to see!
I wrapped up my night at Foxy Loxy, sipping on their signature sangria while Walts & Co played classic folk in the courtyard. Regrettably, I missed out on the Starland Cafe ceramics exhibit Plates and Platters, but with each Art March offering up more and more events to attend and vendors to meet it can be hard to fit all the fun into just one evening! We hope that you and yours had a great time this month. We can’t wait to see you in October.