Practical Arts

Chicago artist Bonnie Zak is all about practicality, from the painted canvases she buys at yard sales and reuses to the dumpster stuff she finds good uses for–so much so that she’s known in her household as the queen of the alleys.

When a friend gave Bonnie an orphaned old photo album, she characteristically found a use for it.  In the process, she gave a new life to the anonymous people and stories within the album’s pages.

The Fargo Show Artists

Bonnie and the artists she paints with at the Anne Ponce Studio on Wilson Ave used the old photos as subjects for an autumn collection and show. Looking through the album, they estimated most of the photos dated from the 1930’s. They called their collected works The Fargo Show after a letter found in the pages of the album that was written by a woman in Fargo ND to a relative in Chicago, dated 1952.

It’s possible the letter’s recipient might have been one of these women, posing for a photo when perhaps they lived next door to each other.

Black and white image from the album.

Brought to life by the artist.

Another before and after with Bonnie’s rendering of Edward, Joyce and Florence:

This was from a photo of Old Faithful, when viewers were allowed to drive right up to the geysers in the park.

A memento of a summer day by Patricia Larkin Green.

And the folks in the yard, an interesting black and white rendering of a black and white photo.


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