For the past three years, I have been documenting the lives and products of artist living in Pennsylvania’s Oil Region – an area roughly encompassing the territory between Titusville and Emlenton, focusing specifically on the Venango County area. This area was economically devastated by the pull out of the industry that today lends its name to the Region – Quaker State, Pennzoil and other factories supported the area for generations, leaving few economic choices for many residents when the businesses left in the 1980s.
In their wake, and bolstered by Oil City’s appointment of an Arts Revitalization leader, Joann Wheeler, the area has slowly began rebuilding itself as an artist’s Mecca. Touring musicians stop at Seneca’s Brother Bean Coffeehouse and numerous artisans and craftspeople have found studios in the area, drawn by the low cost of living and easy access to metro areas.
Although I compose my images in a variety of ways – including alternative process such as pinhole, cyanotype and Polaroid transfer not featured here – these images have some commonalty. They are shot with ambient light, during the act of creation. They are not retouched digitally, other than a light sharpening. It is my goal with the entire, ongoing, series and with this small sampling to explore the nature of these pioneering artists creating in a setting that in the past has been less than hospitable to working artist. It is my hope that through these images, you, the viewer, can see not only the future of the region, but also the hardships that these subjects filter through their work.
Next on my list for the Franklin Public Library's Adult Summer Reading Program - Rocking the Cradle of Liberty: A Guide to Anarchist-Connected Historical Sites in Boston
Bruno Wolozyn, a well-known local piano tuner, has died.
Venangoland updates with "One More Column About Patriotism"
Meadville’s Baldwin-Reynolds House Museum, is showing the work of local fabric artists until August 10th.
philly.com profiles Erie resident Dave Wasson's and his self-playing band organ consisting of 456 wooden pipes of different sizes and sounds that he has hand-crafted over 23 years.
The Art of Failure: Chuck Connelly Not for Sale, the documentary that tells the riches-to-rags story of a Pittsburgh area artist airs Monday night on HBO at 9pm.
Free and Legal Downloads:
Carolina Chocolate Drops Live at Bear on the Square Festival on April 20, 2008
Cowboy Junkies Live at Turner Hall on November 29, 2007
Death Cab for Cutie Live at Kulturbolaget on February 4, 2006
Defiance, Ohio Live at The Bike Barn on June 22, 2005