Saturday, August 19, 2017

The Year of Birds

Ryan Acosta-Fox, a friend from our days in Lawrence, Kansas, took up an interesting project this year as he decided to improve his drawing skills by drawing a different bird each day. He has been publishing each drawing on his blog, Ryan Draws Birds, and his creations have been a fun daily distraction from the otherwise depressing and sad (So sad!) news of the day.

One of my favorites  comes from July 22nd of a Burrowing Owl (athene cunicularia). His sketch gives me the impression that the owl was a little shy and bashful on being selected to be included as one of Ryan's birds.

Ryan recently published a zine featuring some of this drawings with an essay on some lessons learned from challenging yourself to do something each day for a year.

I enjoy the simplicity of the design and the wide assortment of birds that have been featured so far. I have always intended of making some sort of physical product from my various blog writing through the years and seeing this has inspired me to create more in the "physical world."

Great work Ryan! 

Friday, August 18, 2017

Improving A Wall

This first photo was taken in December 2016 on Oakland Avenue near Millikin University here in Decatur. It is a case of "what could be" as the wall is on a main street around campus and was clearly something purple once long ago that was covered with smaller ads over time.

Decatur has recently been very pro mural, with several going up around town, most notably a Bob Marley one completed last year. It was announced earlier this year that a new mural was going up on Oakland Avenue and over the past few weeks it went up.

And here is the new mural which I guess is a commentary on watching too much TV. It's not exactly the most striking social commentary but then again this is central Illinois and we're not exactly pushing the boundaries. Plus, black socks and brown shoes? How uncouth! 

Either way, it is certainly an improvement! 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Use My Camera Classic : Visiting the Ukrainian Village in Chicago

**In this series of posts, I revisit interesting locations and sites that I never got around to posting about when I originally visited them.**

While I was up in Chicago taking part in the National Sports Collectors Convention a couple weeks ago, I had to stop by Ann's Bakery and Deli to pick up some pelmeni to bring back home to Decatur. The deli is located in the heart of the Ukrainian Village in Chicago and it reminded me I never got around to posting the photos from our initial visit several years ago. 

The village is located on the westside of Chicago and it grew to prominence in the 1910's and 20's as many Ukrainian immigrants moved to the city. 

The district saw many eastern European groups move there, most famously Ukrainian Catholics who built several churches in the area including three central ones, St. Nicholas, Saints Volodymyr and Olha, and St. Volodymyr. 

Our first stop was at St. Volodymyr. Volodymyr or Vladimir, as the stone in front of the church reads, was Vladimir the Great, the leader of the Kievan Rus from 980 to 1015. He fully Christianized the Rus and became one of Ukraine's ultimate folk heros. He is considered a saint in both the Roman and Orthodox religions and you can find Vladimir on the one hryvnia bill.

The cathedral is a beautiful tall red brick structure with oxidized copper trim. Originally a German Lutheran church, it features gothic architecture and an interior that was remodeled into the Orthodox style.

The next stop was St. Nicholas Cathedral which was built from 1913 to 1916 in the Byzantine Revival style. It went through a renovation in 1976 and I really like the white brick.

The third church was Saints Volodymyr and Olha. We have already been introduced to Saint Volodymyr but not Saint Olha or Saint Olga. She was the grandmother of Vladimir the Great and was the first Rus leader to introduce Christianity.

This cathedral is the newest of the three as it was constructed from 1971 to 1973.  The intent was to create a structure with a look of Ukrainian churches from the 11th-13th century and the cathedral features a large gold dome at its center.

After spending the better part of a year in Ukraine, it was nice to re-enter the world a little bit.