Seven artists who inspired me at Chicago’s One of a Kind Show

Do you know about the “One of a Kind” annual show at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago? I never heard of it, yet this is its 11th year running. Maybe I never heard of it, because I’m always going to the Renegade Craft Fair at the same time.

There couldn’t be more of a contrast between the two craft shows. The Renegade Craft Fair is a hip show featuring artists in their 20s and 30s. It attracts a likewise audience. It’s shown in the Pulaski Park Fieldhouse with multiple rooms stuffed with people.

The One of a Kind show is your typical arts and crafts show, only it’s much larger with 600 artists in the shiny clean Merchandise Mart. It’s not that crowded (compared to the Renegade’s smaller space). The One of Kind attracts a MUCH older crowd. I felt 20 years older walking around the One of a Kind. Seriously. There were all these old people. Not that it should make a difference. But the show was just dominated by your older rich crowd.

Nevertheless, there were seven artists that inspired me from this show. Here they are.

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Paul Fletcher

Huge encaustic paintings. It was interesting see how he handles the wax medium on large boards. There was one piece that really captured me. “Shifting winds” The image online doesn’t do it justice. In fact, it looks really muddy online. But I stared at this painting for a few minutes admiring the textures and imagining myself in that grass.

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Nha Vuu

Nha’s drawings reminded me of my friend Laurel’s drawings. It made me wonder if Laurel would be interested in Nha’s other drawings.

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Sarena Mann

While I’m not a huge fan of the aesthetics of these pieces. I enjoyed the various ways they hung from string. I’ve been thinking of ways to expand my wire man swing series. One of my thoughts was to use a kite. Here it was fun to see someone else using a kite with a wire.

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Jon Smith

Jon’s paintings of people looking at paintings in art museums look rather Edward Hopper-esque. Use of simple space, layout, lone figures deep in thought. I also appreciated Jon’s work as I’ve been thinking a lot about different ways of making art in art museums.

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Emmy Star Brown

I always enjoy Emmy’s work. It’s amazing that these are paintings.

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Rebecca Plotnick

I’ve already been following Rebecca on flickr and etsy, but I had a new experience seeing her work in person. She interprets spaces very well. In particular her subway series looked very interesting hanging together as a series. Her work makes me reconsider how I interpret inside spaces.

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Gregory Prestegord

Gregory was tearing down his booth as the show as going to close in 15 minutes. I got to catch a glimpse at a couple of his paintings on the floor. I was really taken by the visceral qualities of the oil painting. And the urbanness of the subject matter. If I did oil paintings, I’d want to do paintings like this.

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