Saturday, March 14, 2009

Curiosity Beyond the Arts in Indy

Over the past few months, I have had numerous conversations with friends about what I can only say is my own lack of knowledge, despite my interest in know, about other arts related fields and in particular their status in Indy. I think at times a number of my friends assume I think of little more than art and perhaps movies. But I can tell you this is not the case. While I will say that my main interest lies in the visual arts, I am interested in a number of other areas and fields from cooking to cryptozoology. Similar to my interest in attending the IMA's design symposium so I could better understand this field which I consider myself lacking in knowledge, I am wondering who I should be aware of in Indy.

Who are the best chefs in Indy? Who are the most innovative chefs in Indy?

Who are the top designers in Indy? Who are the most innovative designers in Indy?

Who are the best architects? The most innovative architects?

Who are the best filmmakers? Most innovative?
The best fashion designers? Most innovative?
The best actors/actresses? Most innovative?
The best theater directors? Most innovative?
The best musicians? Most innovative?

If put on the spot, I could give you my personal top 5 artists in Indy or even my top 5 movies of all time. But what I am interested to find out is the answer to many of the above questions. How might knowing this information, being connected to people who are at the top of their game in other fields, impact the local art scene. Are there ways in which to blur the boundaries between these diverse groups? Is this already happening under my nose? I am reminded of a television series on the Sundance Channel called Iconoclasts which has often entertained and inspired me. For those who are unfamiliar with it, it basically films one on one discussions between well known people from diverse backgrounds, like the pairing of Ed Ruscha with Stella McCartney.

I am not exactly sure if we will be able to come up with some answers to these on this blog, even though I would love to. But the point being this... Maybe we should look outside our scene on occassion and see what else in Indy is worth embracing. And perhaps one day those areas will one day embrace the arts.

5 Responses to “Curiosity Beyond the Arts in Indy”

Craig said...
March 18, 2009 at 12:09 AM

I'll take a shot at this one...

Best chefs... Regina Mehallick at R Bistro and Neal Brown of L'Exploratuer. Regina for her commitment to local and seasonal food, and Neal for his artful explorations, and both most delicious.

Best and most innovative designers (here's where I'll get into trouble...) Nikki Sutton of Level Interior and Matty Bennett of Sequences Design stand out as interior designers. Will Marquez has produced some interesting furniture work with a2sx.

Best Architects... Axis consistently does good work - Kevin Cooper and Drew White are committed to good design, but I'll be honest... it ain't easy workin' there. Chris Short of HAUS (formerly of Axis) is doing very good work. TJ Swanson at Architects Forum worked for Frank Gehry for six years and recently designed the Glendale Mall Renovation and Target Store. John Suter's work is solid. Rob Proctor is a great designer working within the constraints of Ratio Architects. There are others.

Since I'm stepping out on a limb in the spirit of critical dialogue, I'll go ahead and state my opinion that some of the locally famed architects are much better businessmen than they are designers, i.e. Jonathan Hess. There, I said it.

Furthermore, there are architects that we need to remember as time passes including Evans Woollen and Parke Randall. Hopefully someone (maybe me, wish I had more time) will compile a deserved history of some of the great 20th century architects in Indianapolis.

I wish I knew more about local fashion designers... but I do like the work of Ana De Brea who lives in Muncie, makes all her designs and sells at FB Fogg.

As for theatre... I'll leave that to the experts.

Musicians... a matter of taste. A friend of mine in Bloomington recently released his first full-length album and I think he's going big... David Stith. While I'm esteeming my pals at asthmatic kitty records, I'll say that Grampall Jookabox rocks too. Frank Glover is a favorite.

Scott said...
March 19, 2009 at 2:36 AM

Thanks for taking a crack at it. I guess the good news is I have heard of at least half of the names you have mentioned, just need to learn more about them. I was hoping more people would chime in on this topic but sadly they have not yet. This is either because they too do not know this information or they would rather keep it secret. Hmmm, is it a conspiracy to keep me out of the know? I have sadly never been to either R Bistro or L'Exploratuer but have always heard great things. I had plans once to go to L'Exploratuer, but at the last minute the plan got changed by one of the people I was going with. I was quite looking forward to going. I hope to make it to each sometime this year though.

Craig said...
March 19, 2009 at 1:15 PM

Scott - I think there is a hypersensitivity (insecurity?) here which pervades the art and design professions. Part of our small pond syndrome, I think. This is also the reason that we have not seen a more genuine art critic since Steve Mannheimer, who many of OTC's younger readers have probably never read. I too would like to hear the opinions of others, even if it is just admiration for a particular project or performance where they may no know the designer or creator.

Anonymous said...
March 19, 2009 at 1:50 PM

what about fashion designers?

Scott said...
March 19, 2009 at 2:08 PM

Fashion designers?
Again, I do not happen to know any fashion designers locally but would be interested in knowing if there are any interesting ones here. I know they had that fashion runway sort of show at the IMA a year or so ago but I never attended that. I would assume that most of those were local designers. I did see pics from that evening and it was packed. So, there have to be some people who could speak on this topic.

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