Donald Glassner, owner of Art and Company, is in the spotlight this week. In 2005, Don opened Art and Company with his son Cole and Angie McClanahan. Through selling artwork, doing custom framing, and design work, he has helped create a company that holds value high and quality even higher. We asked Don a few questions for our blog to help visitors get to know him a little better.
How did you enter the art selling/frame selling business?
Thirty five years ago I was at a New Year’s Eve party with high school friends. One of my friends had graduated from art school and had a job making lacquer in a factory. I gave him $250 to buy paint, canvases and brushes and asked him to paint several paintings. I was the Formica salesman at the time and had a customer that made frames. He made a lot of frames incorrectly sized. I would buy those frames and use them on my friend’s paintings. I took them to people’s homes, where they would invite friends over and I would sell them framed paintings.
Who is your favorite visual artist?
I certainly don’t have a favorite. I remain in the art business because of its uniqueness. To choose something from that would be to diminish the whole.
Favorite sports player?
The next one I open.
Favorite TV show?
Favorite all time, Miami Vice. What can I say. It was glamorous and exciting. Current favorite House of Cards.
Kevin Spacey. If he’s in it I’m watching it.
What other Chicago business(es) do you admire?
I’m a foodie so I absolutely love the niche places like Pleasant House in Bridgeport. On a larger scale Goose Island is a great example of the American Dream.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Baseball Player from 5-15 U.S. President from 16-25
What is your fondest Chicago memory?
My son Cole & daughter-in -law Maria’s Wedding. It was outstanding. The church was St Mikes in the Old Town area. St. Mikes is one of Chicago’s prettiest churches in the city. The reception was held at the Westin hotel overlooking Michigan Ave. and the Water Tower. This was the same hotel my wife and I spent our honeymoon at 34 years ago. We actually stayed in the same room we did 34 years earlier. It was very romantic.
What is one thing you would tell 16 year old you?
Learn to dance.
What is your favorite story to tell about Cole?
Our family loves to travel. We feel that travel is the best form of education. You can read about cities, mountains, rivers and deserts but when you actually see them it instills a sense of ownership and understanding. So we always played a game we made up called the State and Country game. Someone would say the name of a state or country and the next person would have to name a state or country that began with the first or last letter of the country or state named. You could also challenge the naming person if you thought they may not know geographically where the state or country was on the map. On Cole’s first day of 5th grade the teacher told everyone where she had traveled over the summer. She pulled down a map and asked if anyone knew where her vacation spot was. After a short silence Cole raised his hand and told the teacher where she could find her vacation destination. Impressed she challenged Cole over and over until, she gave up. That evening we received a call from the teacher about his performance. She thought they had placed him in the wrong grade level.
Cubs, Blackhawks, or Bulls?
None of the above. The White Sox are customers of ours. Enough said!
To learn more about Don, and his son, listen to this podcast !
Artist Spotlight: Barbara Edwards
This October we are honored to display the work of Barbara L. Edwards. “Abstractions of the Mind” is a collection of 20 paintings on display at our Morgan Street location. Scratches, twists, swooshes and bursts- the images range from light-hearted bubbles floating on canvas to heavy accumulations of weeds and plaster. Each painting seems to have a conversation with the light in the room. Some have a reflective layer built in that you wouldn’t notice until a flash come across its surface. For others, the density of the acrylic is what draws you in to explore. I asked the artist some questions about her work- to learn more about her, how she works, and how she sees the work herself.
How long have you considered yourself a painter/artist?
I started painting in 2008. We were remodeling my bedroom and were looking for a big painting. Whatever I brought home the family did not like. On a whim I bought a canvas and some brushes and did a painting in the basement unbeknown to anyone. When I put it up everyone loved it. It was so funny when I told them I did it… My friends would come over to see the remodel and would comment on the painting. Needless to say I was hooked and have been painting ever since.
Are you primarily a painter?
Currently I only paint and do mixed media. However I have built and designed outdoor water features for both of my homes, love to landscape, and work in the yard. I’m drawn to sculpture so maybe someday….
What inspires you? Who inspires you?
Every day the colors and beauty outside my door awakens a multitude of ideas and motivation for my art…..As a teacher and former coach I am inspired by and amazed by the human spirit, it’s emotions, struggles and connections to one another and their environment……I always have music on when I’m painting…Going to galleries, museums, reading and visiting with other artists….All of these things.
Do you start with alternative media (the yarn and slips of paper in some of your pieces) or do they integrate themselves organically?
Sometimes I will see something and know immediately how to use it and start there- the shredded pieces for instance or the seaweed brush and tree bark I collect on walks. Other times I start with paint, medium, and add as I’m going. To be honest there are times I have no idea and just go with the flow. If I don’t like it I paint over it with gesso and start again. There are many layers under the finish product. Also I paint in phases from using only brushes to pallet knifes to only paint. I manipulate them without using any tools, only gravity.
Do you have formal training?
I have no formal training. I’ve learned through research, experimentation, trial and error. Early on I did take a class with abstract artist Patricia Moore. She guided me in the process of applying for shows. It’s where I met several friends who I’m still in touch with and with whom I love sharing ideas.
Your work, for me, jumps from being bubbly, light hearted, to sometimes dense and frantic. Can you speak to why a viewer might read different paintings this way?
I suppose my mood at the time, what’s going on in my personal life, where I paint (here in Chicago or Myrtle Beach), as well as my coaching and sports background. The series I am working on at the time effects it as well. When I paint there is certain energy or urgency to my work which I do not control. Other times I feel there is softness, calming balance…
If you could have a dinner party with four other artists, who would they be?
I would definitely love to have dinner with Claude Monet, Jackson Pollock, Helen Frankenthaler, Joan Mitchell ….
Does Chicago inspire the work that you make?
Yes, Chicago is # 1 (I love the lakefront) and where I create most of my work. Chicago has been my home for the past 37 years. Myrtle Beach where I go to vacation (I love the beach) is another source of inspiration. New York City is where I grew up and upstate NY where I spent summers as a kid. All of these places have their place in my work.
If your paintings could be on display in the place of your choice, where would that be?
My biggest thrill was seeing my painting in Times Square NYC. I love wherever my art is on display. Having said that traveling anywhere is an adventure! Besides being shown in Chicago at the Art Institute, I would like to be at the MoMA in New York City and Paris of course! My husband and I once spent an entire summer in France. I’m looking forward to going back some day.
To see more work by the artist, please visit her website: blartgallery.com
The show will be open until October 31st and can be seen during our normal business hours.
Amidst harmony and conflict emerges the work of the Zhou Brothers. ShanZou and DaHuang are celebrated Chinese artists hailed for their contemporary paintings, sculptures, and performances. Since their arrival to Bridgeport in 1986, they have had an indelible effect on the art community of Chicago. On October 16, 2015, we were reminded to celebrate this fact.
On the first frosty evening of October, a crowd gathered at the Zhou B Art Center to commemorate the Zhou Brothers day of Illinois. A marching band, Mayor Rahm Emmanuel, Alderman Patrick Thompson and Commissioner John Daley greeted the crowd with words of kindness and gratitude for the artists. A Chinese General looked on with ShanZou and DaHuang as they bestowed the brown street signs to each of the brothers. Both sharply dressed in black hats and tweed jackets, the artists happily held up Zhou Brothers Way signs before cutting the historic red ribbon alongside the honored guests. This pomp and circumstance was only the beginning of a night filled with live music and performances. In conjunction with Third Friday events and Chicago Artist’s Month, first floor galleries of the Zhou B Arts center were open to the public and artists whose workplaces were in the building also opened their doors to visitors celebrating the historic evening.
Among many of the exciting artworks present on this Third Friday, the Zhou Brothers shared their inspired new painting, “The Water Lily Pond of Life.” This piece, much like their oeuvre, depicts open minded philosophes and lyrical abstractions. The pond extends willfully along the wall with strikes of red, black, and white across it. In a matte grey frame sliced in the middle to allow for installation, the work harkens back to Claude Monet and his images of water lilies. The difference between the artists lies in the cohesive compositions created by two sets of hands. As you move from panel to panel the brother’s individual signatures blend together allowing a chorus of frantic action and careful movement.
The frottage, thick yellows, and strikes of red color in other works inhabiting the space buzz with kinetic conflict. The action involved within these paintings is palpable as they remind the viewer of the Zhou Brothers painting performance in 2009. Enacted at the Chicago Cultural Center, “Ecstasy of Gold” was created in front of a live audience below the Tiffany domes. Dressed in respective red and white suits, their performativity allowed us to become enveloped in their movements, their style, and their application. The Zhou Brothers seemed to dance, performing an unspoken agreement and poetic understanding of the task at hand.
The accomplished Zhou Brothers use philosophical notions and organic imagination akin to a stream of consciousness to create many of their works. “The Water Lily Pond of Life” is no exception. There is solace in their backgrounds. There is harmony in the movement of their abstract figures and strokes. As ShanZuo once said, “The conflict is to make the work more mysterious. You don’t know why. The most important thing for art is not to explain the situation, or explain the feeling. It is to create a [work] that asks, ‘Why?'”
As neighbors to the Frame Shop, we wish The Zhou Brothers continued success as they positively influence our community. Their work inspires and the Zhou B Arts center encourages fledgling artists to do the same. As the mayor stated in his speech that evening, Chicago is a city who patiently awaits the progress and success of its citizens. Residing in a building off Zhou Brothers way, we look forward to seeing these already renowned artists continue to challenge us as together find a meeting place between harmony and conflict.