Fulton Street Vortex
2012 / Dura-Lar panels, soldering irons, Leko lights/ 12 feet x 10 feet

Fulton Street Vortex 2012

This installation was created specifically for the exhibit "Locality" at the Chicago Artists' Coalition gallery for Chicago Artists' Month, October 2012. The theme was "Block by Block" and the curator, Tempestt Hazel, asked me to create new work that responded and interacted with the neighborhood around the gallery. I happened across an urban legend about an energy vortex that exists on Fulton Street right around the corner from the exhibition space. It is one of the few reported cases where an energy vortex is located within an urban environment, and it was my inspiration for this work.

It was created on 3 panels of Dura-lar, each 16 feet long by 40 inches wide. Soldering irons were used to burn patterns into the Dura-Lar and leko lights were installed to project strong shadows through the cut-out forms onto the walls, floor and out onto the street.

The rich history of Chicago's Fulton Market District has relied on the hard work of the laborers, meatpackers and craftspeople that first made their livelihoods here. More recently, a new group - gallerists and artists – have been inspired by the mystical energy of the vortex, channeling their vision into revitalizing and inhabiting remarkable spaces that were once warehouses and workshops.

In this installation, I use the vortex image as a metaphor for the energy that drives and invigorates the uncommon mix of businesses and creatives that live and work in this neighborhood.

The swirling vigor of the vortex snatches up impressions of the local scene - the prints of work boots, the carcasses of animals and the sleek interiors of contemporary restaurants - intertwining their DNA and illustrating how dependent they are on each other to breathe life and creativity into the unique Fulton Street atmosphere. Shadows and light project this history beyond the gallery walls, spilling into this unique and visionary neighborhood. The light reaches out, connecting and even dancing with gallery goers, local inhabitants, and the vast variety of Chicagoans on their way to and from work.