Art Hop spotlights local artists

Fourteen years ago, Burlington’s South End began satisfying the senses with the first ever South End Art Hop, and has been continuing in this fashion ever since. Over 300 local artists of all styles, scopes and media gathered in Burlington Friday and Saturday to share their work with some 25,000 hoppers. Businesses and office buildings were temporarily converted into galleries where the wine flowed like wine and one cannot resist stroking her elite chin as the smell of Jarlsberg permeates the room. This year’s Art Hop was no exception. Conant Custom Brass was temporarily home to Vermontscapes, a multi-toned take on Vermont’s scenic views, and cartoonist Hal Mayforth, who has previously done artwork for Time, Newsweek, Sports Illustrated and HBO. Jamey May had a display of mixed media pieces ranging from a designer clothing-clad Jesus and Mary, to his three foot “Ipod,” made entirely of cassettes and vinyl-a clash between the near obsolete music paraphernalia and the new robotic craze of music that can no longer be held physically in the hand of the listener. Did Avi and Celia set the stage for the artwork, or was it the artwork that set the stage for them? Either way, the small room inside Conant Custom Brass was transformed into a gallery harboring colorful yet somber artwork in acrylic and watercolor by Joanne Nagy Elliot and the music of UVM’s own talented folk duo, Avi and Celia. Other musical talent Friday night was seen in the Great Harvest/Fresh Market parking lot where Momster, Jeh Kulu, and Van Goghne + the Oily 8 (featuring members of local Burlington acts like Swale, The Lazybirds, Gua Gua, Red Beans and Rice, and more) livened up the block party. In the new Pine Street Artworks gallery, Alison Bechdel, illustrator of “Dykes to Watch Out For,” and Phranc of California (a.k.a. The Cardboard Cobbler) displayed their “five dimensional collaboration” comprised of Bechdel’s life-sized paper dolls and Phranc of California’s cardboard clothing. For those old enough to be admitted into the 21+ venues, and for those who brought I.D. (absolutely no one was allowed in with no I.D., be it your 10-year-old cousin or your 75-year-old grandfather), the Flynndog Gallery offered a range of artwork from “Death and Taxes: A visual guide for where Federal Tax Dollars Go” by Jess Bachman who used “sweet, sweet data” as his medium to Christina Pellechio’s earth/stoneware pieces-some retro and some almost radioactive, to Kat Clear’s “Corset Couture” series with which she used a “masculine medium [perforated steel and rod] to identify a feminine subject.” Project Runway had some competition at the Specialty Filaments gallery with “Strut,” the South End Art Hop’s very own fashion show. Eight Burlington-based designers showed off their integration of recycled materials used in everyday fashion for men and women (and their little dogs, too!). Garments seen on the runway were created by Jennifer Dillner, Claudia Venon, Xmas Maxon-Alley, Alicia Marchildon and Laura Cheney, Chris Bissonette, Allison Bannister, Joanne Kalisz and Ava Bishop and can be found at select shops around Burlington. Saturday offered demonstrations for the kids including steel-work, mosaic, and paper-making workshops. There was an ongoing Silent Art Auction, the proceeds benefiting South End Arts and Business Association as well as the Art Hop itself. Whether you were a first-time art hopper this year or a returning fan, it was impossible for the high spirits and eclectic style of the artists and their crowds to go unnoticed.