Thursday, December 16, 2010

My Three Favorites

My friend Brady has been posting his friends' favorite creative works made this year on his blog. Today he posted the three I chose. Follow this link to see what I chose as my favorite work from this year.
Thanks, Brady!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

More Brownie Photos

A couple of months ago, I posted some photos I shot with an old Kodak Brownie Hawkeye camera with a reversed lens. I've been doing some more shooting with this camera, and here are the results.

I'm really liking the look of these photos. As I mentioned in my previous post, they have a look similar to that achieved with a 
Lensbaby. Where Lensbaby photos look a little too perfect, however, these feel more organic, and remind me of dreams or memories.

I've also purchased some 620 film spools, making it much easier to run film through the camera. As I wrote previously, 620 film, which is no longer manufactured, is the same size as 120 film, which you can still buy. The only difference is in the size of the film spool, but that makes all the difference in cameras which take 620 film. This makes old 620 film spools, which should be worth about 25 cents at most, more expensive to buy. 

I finally broke down and bought five spools on Ebay, at a cost of around $22.00. I roll 120 film onto a 620 spool, shoot it in the Hawkeye camera, then load it back onto a 120 spool for processing. That may sound like a pain in the butt, but it's really quick and easy, and worth it for the photos I'm getting with this camera. 
You can see more of these photos on my Facebook Fan page.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Dan Jarvis

My friend, former student, and artist extraordinaire Dan Jarvis just posted some images to his blog from a body of work he's developing.
Check it out! it's really good.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Permanent Wave

Here's my entry for this year's faculty exhibit at Moraine Valley Community College. Titled Permanent Wave, it's sixteen letter-sized VanDyke Brown prints pinned to the gallery wall.

I've had the idea for this piece in mind for several years. Inspired by a Laurie Anderson piece from her album United States Live, the writing of Carl Sagan, and by a general appreciation of humor in art (which is supposed to be oh so serious), I scanned several pages from a 1967 book on hairstyles and topped it with the Pioneer plaque (which was co-designed by Sagan).

This piece was completed pretty quickly. The faculty show came early this year, much to my dismay (the beginning of the school year is always very busy), and none of the other work I have in progress was ready for exhibition. So, I decided to try this idea. It was originally going to be done in cyanotype, but I changed my mind at the last minute to VanDyke brown. That process is a little more fussy than cyanotype, and my hurrying through the printing resulted in a few minor flaws in the piece. I was going to reprint, but decided to let them stay. I kind of like the visual noise they add to the piece. 

MVCC Faculty Present New Work
DeCaprio Gallery, Moraine Valley Community College
September 20-October 14, 2010

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Pareidolia Collages

Here are some recent collages, made over the summer. I've been playing with this idea on and off for a while, and posted some of them here and here back in April.

These pieces started as a way of paring down collages to essential elements.  I'm combining an old snapshot with a face from a magazine to explore ideas of pareidolia

They aren't terribly difficult to create, but they are more time consuming than you might expect. The 'right' pairing of two unrelated images can be elusive.

I'm not sure where these will end up. A few of them have some annoying wrinkles (thin magazine pages don't hold up well to being coated with glue), so I'm not sure if I want to pursue an exhibition. I'm really enjoying making them, however,  so much so that most of my attempts at making more traditional collage pieces over the past few months have failed. The simplicity here is what is appealing to me.

For now, I'm making more of these, and mulling over what the end result will be.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Brownie Doing A Heck Of A job

Sorry to bring up a memory of an incompetent former president, but that title fits this post. These images were shot using a Kodak Brownie Hawkeye camera with a reversed lens. The Brownie Hawkeye camera was a popular snapshot camera manufactured in the 1950’s. I had one which I kept in my office at work as a knick knack, but after reading online about reversing the lens, I brought it home to play with over the summer.

Reversing the lens was easy, it just involved removing a couple of screws, flipping the plastic meniscus lens, then reassembling the camera. Doing this restricts the range of focus from about 3-10 feet in front of the camera.

The resulting photos taken with these reversed-lens cameras have a sharp center and increasingly diffuse focus closer to the edge of the image. It’s a really appealing look that works well, depending on the subjects shot.

Unfortunately, shooting with the Brownie Hawkeye camera is kind of a pain in the butt. Brownie Hawkeye cameras were made to hold 620 size film, a Kodak proprietary film format which is no longer manufactured. Luckily, 120 size film, which is still widely manufactured, is basically the same size as 620 film. The main difference is the size of the film spool, which is wider in 120 film. Of course, Kodak knew this, and designed the body of the Brownie Hawkeye camera so that 120 spools barely fit into it, forcing their customers to buy 620 film.

The camera I own had a 620 spool in it, which I use as a take-up spool (A 120 spool will not work for this). With only one 620 spool, however, I have to use use a 120 spool to hold the unexposed film. These spools fit so tightly in the camera that they don’t rotate properly when advancing film. This makes advancing film really difficult. It’s very hard to turn the film advance knob. In two out of the three rolls I’ve shot, the paper film backing ripped while loading the film into the camera, forcing me to open the camera in a film changing bag and repair it with package sealing tape. I also cannot get the camera to advance past 11 shots, leaving a blank frame of film at the end of the roll.

When it works however, the result is interesting shots. They look a little like shots made with a Lensbaby, but have a more organic, handmade feel.

If anyone knows where I can pick up a few 620 size film reels cheaply, let me know.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Real Banksy Or Faux Banksy?

I was riding my bike today, not too far from home, when I saw this graffiti painted on an abandoned building. I've ridden by this place dozens of times, and it wasn't there the last time I rode by it (sometime before Memorial Day).

It looks like it could be a Banksy. It's known he was in Chicago not too long ago-photos of a piece he did here are on his website.

Here's a closer view:

and a closeup of the figure:

That could be the artist's signature to the right of the figure, or it could be something someone else left. It doesn't look like Banksy's sig, but than again, it looks like most of Banksy's pieces are unsigned.

If you want to check it out for yourself, the building is located in Chicago at 9030 S. Hermitage (corner of Hermitage and 90th place). It's easy to get to if you're not familiar with the area, just get on the Rock Island Metra line. The building is about 1/2 block from the 91st St. station (the graffiti should be easily seen when riding the Metra northbound into downtown).

So, what do you think-real Banksy or faux Banksy? I'm leaning towards faux myself. although it would be cool if it were real.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


I shot this photo outside of a market in San Francisco's Sunset District when I was visiting there a couple of weeks ago. I like the photo, even though it could be better technically (It was hurriedly shot through the windshield of a parked car). I like the colors of the fruit and the green stand, and the blur in the guy walking by.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Pay It Forward

Here's some recent work, made as part of a Facebook game. One of my friends posted, offering to make something for the first five people who responded, as long as those five people in turn offered make something for five people. That sounded like fun, so I responded (and received a beautiful felted wool bowl from Sara).

I decided to make cyanotype prints for my five pieces. I was in the middle of printing work for my exhibit at McCord Gallery (currently in it's final week-the show ends on Saturday), so it was easy to run a few more prints. These are all approximately 8.5 X 11 inches, cyanotype on Arches cold press paper.

The first one, at the top of the post, was made for Dan Jarvis, who is exhibiting with me at McCord (I gave him his print the day we hung the show). His piece is based on a collage I made back in February. The second one, made for Heather in Belligham, WA, is based on a collage postcard I made about a year and a half ago. The one immediately above this text was made for Kat. The image is one I shot for my show at McCord but didn't use. I couldn't resist making it for Kat, as she's been making really great paintings based on used menstrual pads.

This one was made for my sister Kelly. Her reply to my post announcing this read 'my hovercraft is full of eels', a line from Monty Python that has been stuck in my head like an earworm since I was about fourteen. I just interpreted that phrase literally.

This one was made for Melissa, who teaches Art Appreciation at the same school I do. The original image was made by placing a piece cut from an old Artforum magazine into a slide mount and scanning it.

Are you an artist or creative type, and are you on Facebook? Do your own pay it forward challenge. Making work for specific people is fun and rewarding.
You can also visit my Facebook fan page.

Monday, June 14, 2010

McCord Collaborations

This is my final post of images from my exhibit with Dan Jarvis currently on display at McCord Gallery. The exhibit goes until June 26, so you still have time to see it.

These pieces are all collaborative pieces between Dan and myself.

The working method was pretty simple. I shot a roll of film, purposefully underexposing it by one full stop. I concentrated on shooting the same sorts of images as my work in the show, images from old magazines.

After shooting, I wound the roll slowly into my camera (to leave the leader exposed), and gave the film to Dan. He shot the same film, also underexposed, concentrating on signs and suburban scenes.

The film was developed, and scanned in long strips. Dan and I chose pieces from these strips of scanned negatives to print.

Keeping with the experimental nature of these pieces, we did minimal adjustments to the scans. Dust, color shifts (it was expired film), etc. were considered part of the images and largely left intact.

We made large (approx. 13 X 19 inch) archival inkjet prints of these images (and a couple more not seen here) and hung them unframed in one of the rooms at McCord Gallery.

These turned out better than Dan and I were expecting. We actually like them quite a bit, and are thinking of doing a similar collaboration in the future.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

McCord Gallery II

Here are more of the pieces I'm currently exhibiting at McCord Gallery in Palos Park, IL. Click on any of these to see a larger version.

I have twelve pieces in the show, along with some collaborative pieces made with Dan Jarvis, which I'll post in a few days.

I didn't get a chance to shoot two of the pieces before hanging them, so obviously I can't post those here.

As I mentioned in the last post, these are all cyanotype prints, measuring 13 X 19 inches.

Tyler Hewitt and Dan Jarvis
McCord Gallery,
9602 West Creek Road (130th St. at La Grange Ave),
Palos Park, IL

May 25-June 26, 2010

Thursday, June 3, 2010

My Show At McCord Gallery

The opening reception for my two-person exhibit with Dan Jarvis was last Friday. Thanks to those who made it out there. For those who didn't, I'll share some of my pieces in the exhibit over the next few days.

These pieces are all cyanotype prints, and all measure 13 X 19 inches. They were all shot the same way, by placing pages from old 1950's and 1960's era homemaker's magazines on a light table and shooting throuhgh a macro lens.

The resulting photos show the interactions between the images and text on both sides of the magazine page. They were edited as little as possible, an element of chance being an important part of the process.

I'll post a few more n a couple of days. Click on any of the images to see a larger version.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Show Postcard

Here's the postcard for my upcoming exhibit at McCord Gallery in Palos Park, IL. The opening reception is this Friday, from 6:30-8:00. If you're in the area, stop by. If you're not, watch this space. I'll post some of the pieces from the exhibit here soon.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Exhibit Review

The Chicago Fine Art Examiner published an article about the exhibit titled Common Ground, Diverse Approaches: Works on Paper at the Tall Grass Arts Association. I have three pieces in that exhibit. The article is pretty lengthy, and discusses all the work in the exhibit in detail.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Save The Date

I'm going to be doing a two person exhibit at McCord Gallery in Palos Park, IL with Dan Jarvis. Dan's a nice guy and a former student of mine. Both of us tend to experiment a lot in our work, both in content and technique. For this exhibit, we found we both were developing work that, although visually dissimilar, shares a similar theme.

Postcards for the exhibit haven't been printed yet (We need to send them images soon!), I'll post one once I get them. For now, here's a sneak preview of one of the pieces I'm exhibiting. It's a cyanotype print, 13 X 19 inches.

Tyler Hewitt and Dan Jarvis, McCord Gallery,
9602 West Creek Road (130th St. at La Grange Ave),
Palos Park, IL
Opening reception Friday, May 28, 6:30-8:00

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Common Ground, Diverse Approaches

I have three pieces in this exhibit, opening this weekend at the Tall Grass Arts Association in Park Forest, IL (click on the postcard to see a larger version). If you're in the far south Chicago suburbs, stop in and take a look. If you're not in the far south suburbs, here are the pieces I'm showing.

These are all cyanotype prints made from photos I shot of the architectural models of the Art Institute of Chicago's new modern wing.