Main St. Fort Worth Arts Festival is known for bringing in visual artists from around the country to sell their work. But when you head out there this weekend, don’t forget to see your neighbors. I dropped by on Thursday night, and to my eyes, the locals are doing some good work. Among the artists I recommend are:
Raymond Rains – Part of the appeal of arts festivals, as opposed to some stuffy auction house, is that some of the work for sale is actually functional. Fort Worth artist Raymond Rains creates martini and wine glasses that are perfectly pretty to look at in their own right. Fill ’em up with something that’s just been shaken with ice, and you’ve got two works of art on your hand.
Rebecca Villarreal – Photography is a big player at Main St., much of it the traditional shots of European landmarks. It’s all very beautiful, but after the 100th shot of the Charles Bridge in Prague, you can argue that the creativity starts to dip. Rebecca Villarreal doesn’t go the tried-and-true route with her work. Instead, the Fort Worth photographer creates everything from photo collages to wall dots – abstract photos only a few inches big that work well when paired with similar wall dots. Buy a couple, replace your refrigerator magnates.
Gregory Story – Much of the art at the festival is either fairly two-dimensional paintings and prints to hang on a wall or 3D sculptures and metalworkings to be placed on the floor or a table, etc. Fort Worth artist Gregory Story has carved out a unique niche – modern clay pieces that are designed to hang on a wall (below). Like Villarreal’s wall dots, these are also pieces that look good grouped together. If you are looking to brightened up a space, grabbing a few of these would be a good place to start.
Alex Braverman – I always like asking the artists questions about their work when I got to events like this. For me, it’s one of the things that separates art fairs from museums (well, that and the fact that you can actually buy what you are looking at). Fort Worth photographer Alex Braverman will be more than happy to talk about his work, which includes iconic city shots as well as frozen moments of dancers from Bruce Wood Dance Company. Braverman is set up in the Emerging Artists section, and I’m not sure why – he’s clearly already emerged. His fish-eye image from Rockefeller Center won Popular Photography magazine’s Grand Prize for its 2008 reader photo contest. (Have a look at it here.) And in May, his work will be exhibited at Fort Worth Community Arts Center. In between explanations of some of his photos, the Lithuanian-born Braverman was in a jokey mood Thursday night. In order to keep potential buyers from leaving his stall, “We’re thinking of installing a turnstile to get in,” he said. “But it only lets you out if you swipe your credit card.”