My Friends Make Art is a blog initiative featuring my friends’ creative works and interviews about their individual explorations. Whether they be visual artists, writers, musicians, designers, dancers, etc., here, we will explore their work, processes, and inspirations.
Earlier this summer I was at the #WhyILovePhilly Summer Party which also was the grand opening of the Spruce Street Harbor Park. While I was there, I happen to be lamenting the fact that even though Philly has some amazing tours, there is no bike tour. When I moved here a few years back I checked. I couldn’t help thinking: Philly is one of the flattest cities I’ve ever lived in, it’s full of all this history and art - there has to be a bike tour. But in the end I couldn’t find a legit Bike tour of Philadelphia.
So there I am, complaining about this fact at the Hooley coloring tent with friends when a guy turning in his make-your-own-Philly-love-note says, “Actually I work at Philly Bike Tour Co. - so now there is a bike tour of Philadelphia.” … I was floored. And so excited!
Unfortunately for me, I wasn’t able to sign up for a tour until recently when my sister came to town. She’s visited several times and I wanted to do something new and different. We signed up for the Outdoor Art Tour. We arrived at the address provided and I realized this company is run out of Fairmount Bicycles. There we met Jo our tour guide and once we got fitted for our bikes we hit the road.
On this tour you go around 8 miles from the Art Museum area all around Fairmount Park to Center City and back up the Parkway. We saw works from the 1800s all the way to present time. Jo was a great tour guide, extremely knowledgeable and able to answer any and all random questions that my sister and I could think of to ask. Having lived in this city for a while I was surprised to realize how little I knew about the sculptures I’ve seen and even more so, how many sculptures I didn’t even know existed.
If I had to pick my top three favorite pieces from the tour I’d have to say the first would be Stone Age in America by John J. Boyle (1887). It’s a monument in the truest sense of the word, full of allegorical imagery as well as a clear artist intention. It’s also beautifully crafted. The next would have to be the 1964 Monument to Six Million Jewish Martyrs by Nathan Rapoport. This is one I never even knew existed, hidden in the middle of bustling Center City it depicts a mass of tangled limbs and figures in the cubist semi-abstract style. My final favorite is a close call between Roxy Paine’s Symbiosis and Jordan Griska’s Grumman Greenhouse. I think Paine’s Symbiosis wins, but only because once you find out this sculpture is made of pulled steel you’ll be floored. It depicts two trees holding each other up. It’s an incredible piece; inspiring and quietly powerful.
Overall this was a wonderful tour and Philly Bike Tour does an incredible job of making you feel comfortable and safe while you have a great time biking through the city. I know I’ll be trying their other tour options soon. I definitely encourage you to sign up for a tour yourself. I know I’ll be trying out their Beer History Tour the moment it becomes available.
The DesignPhiladelphia Festival is celebrating its 10th anniversary October 9th through 17th, and it has packed over 120 events, exhibits, demonstrations, and panels into just nine days. We’ve scoured through the schedule to find the best picks from every day of the festival.
Ever feel tired and drained after a long work week and think to yourself, “I could really use a break. Like, maybe a coloring break.” Alli Blum has, and she has created a solution to the problem with Hooley, her “coloring company for grownups.” She was cleaning her room one day and came upon some colored pencils, which spawned the thought, “I want to color! But not princesses or firetrucks, I want to color illustrations made for twenty-somethings like me.” Thus Hooley – and lots of coloring parties – were born.
Interested in getting some coloring done in this creative and relaxing environment? Then you’re in luck, because Hooley will be hosting a coloring party on October 15th from 6pm-8pm atIndy Hall. It’s during Design Philadelphia, and it’s called the Hooley Collaborative Coloring Party. It’s going to be a pretty unique party: “A couple of weeks ago, 8 artists (includingKatharine Friedgen, Kelsey Stoler, and Indy Hall’s own Sean Martorana) doodled a giant pattern on a piece of 20’ long paper. Everyone’s style is a little bit different which makes for a really cool line illustration. During the #communitycoloring party, we’re all going to sit and color the same giant pattern. After we’re done, we’ll give the finished work to Indy Hall as a piece of community made art.” They’ll also have Philly food and drink from Little Baby’s Ice Cream andSnack Like a Local. Tickets are $15 purchased in advance and $20 at the door.
After 6 weeks of prep time, several supply purchases, 2 bike tune-ups, a staggering $670.00 of donations to MS research FROM Y’ALL, and 80 miles, we did it!
What an incredible journey. My friend Tracy and I started at the Woodcrest station in New Jersey at 7:30AM and after 80 miles and 5 rest stops we made it to Ocean City by 3:30PM. We met several amazing people along the way, people who’ve done this ride for 10 years, several “century” riders (people who were doing the 100-mile ride), and people with inspiring stories of who they were doing this ride for and why.
If any of you have ever thought about doing this ride, I can’t recommend it enough. Not only is it for an incredibly important cause, it’s extremely well organized, the volunteers are super helpful, and the safety measures they have in place are effective an useful. Tracy’s gears weren’t shifting right 45 miles in and we had to pull over. The BikeLane truck that the ride provides stopped over and did a fix right there on the side of the road. Then we were back in business. The supplies that made this ride a dream for me were my camelbak, my Canari bike shorts, and my bike gloves. But that’s all logistics. What really made this ride easy for me was your help.
I can’t tell you how much all of your donations, support, love, and encouragement has meant to me. So many people told me I couldn’t do a ride like this with my hybrid mountain/road bike, and knowing you all believed in me made me work harder and push through.
They weren’t kidding when they said the hardest part of this ride is the bridge section. There were two. And they are at mile 76. The last thing you want to do right then is ride up two bridges, but we did it and in the end we rode into Ocean City to crowds at the finish lines that made you feel like you just did the Tour de France!
My favorite part of Fall is discovering those places you never knew existed but have always been just right under your nose. Here are a few images of a pop up farmer’s market in New Jersey. I just took a few shots with my iPhone and using the #vscocam app.
Don’t let fall pass by without finding your own hidden gems.
Over the weekend, 8 artists gathered to doodle a giant pattern on a huge piece of 20’ by 3’ drawing paper. There was no sketching, no pre-planning, no group decision about what to draw. - Hooley
A few weeks back I was invited to participate in Hooley’s community coloring experience. It. was. awesome. We all just came in, grabbed a pen and chair and just started doodling.
Only guideline was to try not to draw something too descriptive. Perfect direction for any artist. Don’t put too many boundaries on the situation, otherwise, we’ll feel trapped.
Thus commenced a few happy hours of chatting, listening to music, and drawing to our hearts content. The best part being when we realized we had all sat in one section for a bit too long. One person suggested a ‘Chinese fire drill’ and we all changed seats. This allowed our individual styles of drawing to start to spread and weave through the entire canvas. In the end I find the most interesting parts of this final drawing to be where two different styles meet and how the artists found ways of breaching the gap.
I’ve been preparing for my City to Shore Bike MS ride with my friend Tracy and while we went on our last evening ride, there was an incredible sunset. I of course made us stop to get a few photos - I can’t help myself.
"Unless internet users unite in defense of net neutrality, we could be seeing those dreaded ‘loading’ wheels a lot more often on some of our favorite websites, while monopolistic companies get to decide which content gets seen by the most people." Don’t know what Net Neutrality is? John Oliver can explain