Open Studios Inspiration, part 2: Happy Reunions

A couple of weeks ago, we shared the story of a child’s sidewalk chalk drawing that Henry Olds transformed into a work of “Pattern Play” art, and we then selected to be the iconic image for Arlington Open Studios 2011.

We had the chance to catch up with chalk artist Leah Lombardi and photographer Henry Olds during Open Studios weekend, when they reunited at Open Studios to celebrate their unique creative collaboration.

Leah and Henry at Arlington Open Studios

We first caught up with Leah and her family in the Gibbs Gallery, where Henry’s photograph was on display as part of the Open Studios group exhibition.  Leah was thrilled to be known as the creative inspiration behind Henry’s work, and to see the piece on display in a real gallery!

As we talked, we discovered that Leah and her friend Sara had both taken classes at ACA, and especially loved their “Art Explorers” class with Pam Shanley, ACA’s Open Studios Director, Facilities Manager, and popular art teacher.  It was another happy reunion at Arlington Open Studios!

Sara, Pam and Leah - students and teacher reunited at Arlington Open Studios

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Behind the design… introducing Henry Olds, Jr. and an unexpected artistic inspiration

We’ve been getting a lot of compliments on this year’s Arlington Open Studios postcard design, and wanted to share a great “story behind the story” about the colorful image we’ve been using in the graphics for AOS 2011 (and in our blog header, above!).

The colorful image in the card is a digitally manipulated photograph created by Arlington artist Henry Olds, Jr.  Henry has exhibited in Arlington Open Studios for the past several years, and last year won an award for “Best Use of Technology” for a piece in ACA’s Annual “Images of Arlington” Exhibit.

Henry Olds, Jr. at Arlington Open Studios, October 2010

Henry uses a process he calls “Patternplay,” digitally manipulating a single-image photograph (or piece of a photograph) to create colorful, rhythmic prints, often creating compositions that bear little resemblance to the original image.

Part of the fun in looking at Henry’s work is trying to figure out what the original image was that he used to create the piece.  So when we selected Henry’s image for the Open Studios postcard, we just had to ask…

“Where did this image come from…?”

Can you guess the source of this pattern play image by Henry Olds, Jr.?

Here’s what Henry told us: “The pattern I used for the print was actually created by a young girl who lives across the street from me. She was using chalks to color the pavers on her front walk. First, I took several pictures of her at work. Then I realized that I should take a picture of the pattern itself for my own pattern play purposes. It did work out very nicely!”

The "before" shot -- Henry's neighbor at work on her chalk drawing.

Want to see more?

View Henry’s artwork on his website.

Visit Henry (and 80+ other local artists!) at Arlington Open Studios 2011, October 15 & 16, 12 noon – 5:00 pm.