• Meet the Photographer: Michael Kirkland

    In April, Art & Company in Orland Park will unveil their second installation of the photography show “A Moment in Time.” The opening is this Saturday from 7-10pm. We are so excited for this show that we are highlighting photographers who will be a part of it! Today we feature the work of Michael Kirkland- a former paratrooper who studied photography here in Chicago! His landscapes are transcendental as they take us to places we only hope to experience in person.

    What kind of camera do you use

    I am a Nikon person, I shoot with the full frame D810 and crop sensor D300s

    When did you start photographing?

    I began photographing in 1973, when I was in the military. As a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne, I enjoyed capturing images from the sky once my parachute opened, and documenting my military experience.

    Are you self taught?

    No, when I left the military and returned to Buffalo NY, I bought Minolta film camera and some studio lighting equipment. I Attended as many seminars that was available. Not satisfied with my growth and development, I moved to Chicago to attend Columbia College. I graduated from Columbia majoring in photography. I continue to learn whatever I can from wherever I can.

    What do you like photographing the most?

    The first time I went to a National park, I fell in love with capturing the landscape. I decided then that I wanted to visit and photograph each US National park. To date, I have visited 21 of them, some more than once. I am primarily a nature photographer. I love to capture images of landscapes.

    Photography is my passion, I am always thirsty to learn and try new things. With is so much information about photographing a variety of subjects, I usually shoot about 500 to 1000 frames a week. I try my hand at tabletop, macro, astrophotography, portraits, nature, buildings, street and creative.

    Is there a favorite photographing memory you’d like to share?

    It has to be the first time I saw and captured Aurora Borealis in Alaska. Actually it was then that I got down on one knee and proposed to my fiancee. I’ve seen the Aurora Borealis and it is amazing, but to capture them in your camera is awesome. I captured images of the Aurora Borealis in Alaska and in Iceland so far. I have another trip planned to photograph them in Norway next year.

    It is never the same each evening or each hour that you see them. I have gotten better each time so far. The thing is, even when you plan to be in the right place at the right time, with the right equipment, there are still several weather related variables out of your control. So you do the best you can with what you are presented with.

    Where/what is something you’ve always wanted to photograph?

    I really like astrophotography, I captured the Aurora Borealis and am still working on capturing that great image of the milky way. I also have always wanted to capture images of dancers. I like watching theater groups perform. I just recently saw the Alvin Ailey American theater dance company and most of the time I was sitting there watching it, I was taking picture in my mind during the various scenes. I would love to capture the essence and grace of their art.

    To learn more about Micahel and see additional work, visit his website at mjkirkland.com and meet the artist at the photography show opening at Art & Company April 2 2016!

    Facebook event click here!

  • Guest Writer: Everyday Items as Art by Jessica Kane

    Everyday Items As Art

    If you like to collect things, art is one of the most rewarding things that you can collect. Viewing it gives you pleasure, while the value of most objets d’art rises over time.

    Recently, one buying trend in North America has consumers paying to buy items that seem everyday, but may end up being considered art. Here are some good examples of items that fall into this category.


    Just like Antique carpets and handmade rugs have become a very hot trend in North America, Pendleton blankets from vendors like indiantraders.com are popular with collectors because the artists that create them are putting a lot of their own culture into the work. The phenomena may be similar to comparing Europe, which used to use paintings to express history and art, to Native Americans that have normally had a strong relationship to the type of blanket that they use or keep for decoration. Because blanket design can tell a story or be geographically distinct, it is one textile that is becoming more popular to purchase as art.


    If you go to the history museum in Jerusalem, you will see all sorts of 2500 year old jewelry that looks like the jewelry that is worn today. For collectors, this means that well-made, custom jewelry will stand the test of time and end up being viewed as an objet d’art. Of course within the category of jewelry, it is important to have a sense for both what you like, and what you expertly presume the market will like.


    In other countries like Japan, there are very famous kilns that put out distinctive ceramics that are sought everywhere. Getting a dinner set at one of these places will generally create an instant heirloom for the family that keeps that set together. In North America, ceramics have been traditionally popular to collect. The bulk of the art objects that were made from ceramic currently come from the 19th century and earlier. If you are buying ahead, focusing on plates, cups, and statues is pretty popular.


    With the success of the giant shopping mall known as Etsy, another generation has taken up buying pieces of everything from hair bands to metal chopsticks, sometimes with the hope that they will become collectibles that are considered art in the future. Often times, this type of item that can be purchased is known as Americana. You can find it in a vintage store, an antique shop, or in an online mall and you will likely find out that it will increase in price over time.

    Movie Collectibles

    Every movie that comes out has a budget for licensed toys, games, posters, and other items associated with the film. If the film is popular like Star Wars, figures that are associated with it, and have provenance can become considered collectible art. Movie posters are also a very popular item to collect as art.

    Buying everyday items that are beautiful or associated with a historic event can eventually cause those items to be considered art by collectible dealers and clients. The key for people that decide to buy from well-known sites or stores is to find something that you like, regardless of its future potential value, and then hold onto it and enjoy it.

    Jessica Kane is a professional writer who has an interest in arts and crafts, DIY, and other handmade products. She currently writes for Indian Traders, a leading vendor of pendleton blankets and jewelry.