|Above: Jeriah Hildwine, left, with Tom Torluemke, right, at Linda Warren Projects, 327 N. Aberdeen, Chicago, IL, on March 16, 2012.|
Not too familiar with the geography of the place prior to our arrival, Steph picked the neighborhood where she thought that she wanted to live. We ended up in Belmont Heights on the Northwest Side--technically within Chicago, but basically indistinguishable from the adjacent Village of River Grove. It was pretty in September, in a suburban, tree-lined sort of way. I needed work. And so I started walking the blocks around our residence, submitting applications for employment wherever they were taken. Within a week of beginning my job search I was hired at River Grove Ace Hardware.
|Above: Jeriah Hildwine outside Studio 1020's "The First Ward Ball" at 3220 N. Lincoln, Chicago, IL, on July 31, 2011.|
|Above: Jeriah Hildwine with his longsword, photographed in a gangway near the intersection of Damen and Foster, Chicago, IL, on September 21, 2013.|
|Above: Jeriah Hildwine as a bat in "Flesh and Bone," curated by Stephanie Burke, Annie Heckman, and himself, at Co-Prosperity Sphere, 3219 S. Morgan, Chicago, IL, on October 30, 2010.|
After my solo show at Linda Warren Projects, I started applying for full-time teaching jobs again. I sold one piece from the show at Linda's, and a couple others out of my studio (each time I asked Linda if she wanted to handle the sale, but she let me keep everything from my studio sales, which was very kind of her). It was nice, but never more than frosting on my teaching income, which was barely enough to get by on. Four different institutions means a hell of a commute. Some days were 14 hours long, from the moment I left home til the moment I got home at night. I did get a lot of reading done on the CTA, though.
|Above: Jeriah Hildwine visiting with Meredith Weber during the opening reception for his show "Living Dead Girls" at Linda Warren Projects, 327 N. Aberdeen, Chicago, IL, on April 27, 2012.|
I look back on Chicago fondly, and with some regret at having left. The art scene there is and was fantastic. So much more approachable than New York or LA, both of which have more art, and some better, but I really appreciate the way you can just walk into a gallery in Chicago and be part of it. I had hoped to maintain my relationship with Linda Warren after my departure, but unfortunately that hasn't worked out as I'd hoped. I maintained a studio in Chicago for a year and flew in every month or so for the first year I was gone, but it just proved too difficult to schedule a follow-up studio visit for second show. Long-distance relationships have their challenges. I don't have any hard feelings towards Linda and hope to work with her again in the future, circumstances permitting. Failing that, I'd love to show with another gallery in Chicago. It's a great scene and I really do miss it. I have been back several times to participate in group shows at Peregrine Program, The Franklin, and Co-Prosperity Sphere, as well as with you (Paul Germanos) in your show at Antena, and it's always a great time.
|Above: Jeriah Hildwine and Stephanie Burke, co-curator, with Andrew Blackley and Steve Ruiz, of "Quarterly Site #4" at LVL3, 1452 N. Milwaukee, Chicago, IL, on October 9, 2010.|
Social media, blogs, and print publications are all great. Websites are important. But in the end, physicality is still foremost. Place matters, absolutely. You need to be able to hug, shake hands, get drunk with people, see work in person. That's what I miss most about Chicago. It was a great art scene to be a part of, big and vibrant but not closed off. Flagstaff is so small; there are a couple of cool galleries here (and a bunch of regional craft galleries which are great if you like ceramics, landscapes, etc.), but it's just small. If slow sales and few collectors was a challenge in Chicago, it's far worse in Flagstaff. You really can't sell challenging work here. There's very little money, and what money there is tends to be Phoenix tourist money, and they want paintings of aspens, of horses, of the mountains or the Grand Canyon. I still show here, when I can, and I'm working on relationships with the galleries here. But even the dealers tell me how hard it is to sell grown-up work here. So I'd love to show outside of Flagstaff as well, and especially back in Chicago.
- May 8, 2015 (C) Jeriah Hildwine
Learn more about Jeriah and his work by visiting his website: http://jeriahhildwine.com/home.html
Read more of Jeriah's thoughts on leaving Chicago in an article published nine months ago, on the occasion of his first year away from the city: http://badatsports.com/2014/one-year-away-from-chicago/
Images (1-6) above copyright (C) 2010-2013 Paul Germanos.
Edited by Paul Germanos. Apologies for errors and omissions. Contact using the information at right.