Thursday, August 11, 2011

Western Avenue Series

Mile 11: 42nd-34th Street
As I've been easing into this new summer schedule, I've been struggling to find the time for my Western Avenue Series painting, but I have finally completed Mile 11!  I'm hopeful that I will return be able to return to my regular Monday schedule as I march my way down Western--almost halfway there.  This painting is a one of 24 watercolor paintings, one to document each mile of Western Avenue, in Chicago.  I started this project because while it is not considered to be among the most “beautiful” of Chicago’s streets, Western Avenue is a perfect place to document the humanness of Chicago, the positive and the negative. In the words of Stuart Dybek, "Western, with apologies to State Street, is a great street,  Unlike State, it is a street that goes to the interior, the heart of the city, as it glides and glows through a United Nations of neighborhoods."  Check back next Monday to see a post about the next mile of Western.
This corner store located at the corner of 38th street seems fairly indicative of the surrounding area.  The store remains open, but it is clearly a shadow of what it once was.  In the same way, this industrial stretch, still pulses faintly, but it seems clear that it no longer reflects a former vibrance.  I imagine that 50 years ago, every factory was running at full steam, the streets bustled with factory employees and the homes and schools nearby were filled with families of these men.   

I was particularly attracted to this building because it bears the Schlitz logo found commonly on building, which once served the beer {no longer in production--check}.  I'm fond of the logo. which incorporates a logo a globe and a banner bearing the Schlitz name and it is a fondness, compounded by familiarity.  I imagine this store was once a watering hold frequented by factory employees after a long day of work.

Click here to purchase this painting.

Do recognize this Schlitz sign from a building near you?
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