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ART FEATURE//PILSEN ART DISTRICT 76 paintings reminiscent of the infamous dystopic murals at Denver International Airport, may have appeared like political criticisms, but actually were references to his personal theology. “I’m spiritual more than religious,” he told me. “I’m trying to express my beliefs in terms of creative energy as the driving force more than anything else.” One work, titled Magic Carpet Ride, portrays a group of mysterious cosmic autocrats controlling the crowds on Earth, but being swept along by the very same forces they are extolling. No matter how real or ephemeral the subject matter of a piece of artwork, conversation kept coming back to our worlds and communities and how they influence art. It seemed like, despite the disparate themes, every artist agreed on one thing; you create and are created in the process. Pam Hamilton, an artist who runs Studio Oh on Halsted with fellow artist Erwin Overes, said, “As artists, it’s hard not to influence each other. We’ve shared this space for 5 years, so the subtle, unspoken influences really affect your work.” Their studio is one of the most interesting spaces along the art walk. Immediately upon entering you’re confronted with <strong>CUSP</strong> MAGAZINE WINTER ’14 ISSUE
one set of stairs that empties into a large studio space and another which leads to a thin balcony that overlooks the studio. It’s got the aesthetic vibe of an early 90s, super-chic party loft in Manhattan. While I was content to sit on the oval chairs and people watch, I knew that I had to get downstairs and get a closer look at the art because Pam and Erwin’s work was quite different than a lot of the other stuff we had already seen. Irwin’s sculptures are grandiose, colorfully complex, and skew away from symmetry. Pam’s abstract paintings also abstain from symmetry and concreteness , but lack crazy color which stood apart from Irwin’s pieces. In fact, what was most jarring to me about one of Pam’s painting, a massive black and white piece, was a flash of color: a red plus that refocused my attention from wherever I was in the room. My description, however, does not do her work justice. It is as thought provoking as it is gargantuan and plays with the very idea of simplicity itself. “I do the background first and then I do the black and finally, the rest,” Pam explained to me when I asked her how she did her work. “I do what inspires me and sometimes it sits there for a while before I go back to it.” For a guy that’s not a visual artist, <strong>CUSP</strong> MAGAZINE WINTER ’14 ISSUE 77