ARTIST IN RESIDENCE
Eight years ago I left America for the first time with a group of young people who were traveling to Israel and India! That was an amazing trip, I learned so much from living with different people, and I got to experience so many awesome tourist destinations and new cultures. India though, is really the spot where my story and my heart lie. My first time in India was so unworldly. The country is so completely different than one could ever expect. Darjeeling is a very special place in India that I ended up in years later after my first time there and it ended up being a destination that I fell in love with and would always call home. My experiences with traveling over the years have been so good for me. In my personal opinion, not enough young Americans go traveling overseas.
Almost three years ago I moved out of my parents’ home in San Francisco, California to Chicago, Illinois. I truly believe that my adventures and growth abroad have helped me get to where I am now. It’s hard for me to remember how I got started with art. I think my love for painting began in India. The colors, the people, and the drastic difference between home and this rustic country left me inspired. I use acrylic paint for all of my pieces with bright and bold colors and it’s a way for me to stay connected to the areas that bring me such joy!
I am a Chicago-based street photographer who spends an inordinate amount of time on public transportation, especially since casting off my former minivan-centered life in suburbia.
My chosen career is that of a social studies teacher and I became interested in American photography while teaching an American Studies course, first focusing on the documentary images of the Civil Rights era and then becoming preoccupied with the more artistic efforts of photographers such as Gordon Parks and William Eggleston. As a historian, I had an initial impulse to record a vision of the present era through the human characters surrounding me.
But I had also seen the intriguing BBC documentary of Vivian Maier and attended a lecture by Brian Sokolowski, who demonstrated that an image of a complete stranger could function as a self-portrait. And so, with my phone ever-presently in hand, I started making photographs long before I was acquainted with Szarkowski's famous reference to "mirrors" and "windows".
My subjects are usually blind to my initial presence, perhaps because of the ubiquity of smartphones, as well as my desire to capture, as Strand put it, a "quality of being". But in a society increasingly surveilled, a moment of recognition occasionally surfaces in the subject’s eyes.
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Eric Peter Schwartz
Resident Songwriter Artist
Eric Peter Schwartz says that the best way to describe his sound is pop-laced acoustic-rock. If you squeezed Bryan Adams, Melissa Etheridge and Warren Zevon into one person, it might sound something like this. It's an entertaining balance of upbeat songs and ballads. It always makes for a fun show. His latest album is 2017's HIGHWAY 45.
You can check out his music here: