Archive for July, 2012

A 35mm camera.  A third-floor walk up studio just blocks from Lake Michigan. Windows filled with natural light and shelves of specimens…lots of specimens.

This is the creative world of Julie Meridian.

Branches by Julie Meridian

What’s my favorite part of working in the art world? Hands down it’s the studio visits. An artist’s studio is sacred ground. It’s their sanctuary. It’s where their innermost thoughts, feelings, fears and passions spill out onto a canvas or through another medium. To be invited into an artist’s studio is to be invited to take a peek into their soul. The creative energy is palpable. It may be serene and contemplative or pulsing and chaotic, but it’s always there. It’s real, it’s exciting and it’s awe inspiring.

Last May I was invited to tour Julie’s studio and view her vast collection of work. Stepping into Julie’s studio is like stepping into the archives of the Field Museum. Her studio is a botanist’s dream, filled with dried plants, a bit of taxidermy, jars, vials, vessels and a vintage field notebook – each specimen carefully identified by the original keeper’s precise penmanship.

Pages from an old book, a carefully placed twig, a bird’s nest and Julie’s still life composition comes together like a composer who so skillfully turns individual notes into a masterpiece of music. Julie uses her camera to preserve each specimen in an ephemeral framework constructed solely of light and shadow.

Themes of fragility and endurance, beauty and decay, chance and destiny, life and death are explored in Julie’s work. Working at an east window with morning light, Julie places natural objects between layers of scratched Plexiglas, glass and acetate and then shoots through the layers, as if peering through levels of time and memory. Like the objects themselves, these images resist classification, existing somewhere between drawing and photography, documentation and fiction.

We are pleased to welcome Julie Meridian to HangItUp Chicago!


Paul Klein is someone I truly admire on the Chicago art scene.  If you aren’t familiar with Paul’s contributions to Chicago, you should be.  Paul is an art advocate – a champion for Chicago and art in Chicago.  For over 20 years, Paul owned and operated one of the leading galleries in the city, Klein Art Works.  More recently, Paul served as the art consultant and curator for McCormick Place, choosing to outfit the space with permanently installed Chicago and Illinois specific art.  Today, Paul writes ArtLetter and runs Klein Artist Works.

I met Paul several months back at one of my favorite restaurants, Spacca Napoli, when HangItUp Chicago was nothing more than an idea – a blank canvas, so to speak.  Just a few weeks out from hip replacement surgery, on a blustery winter afternoon, Paul met me for lunch and listened to me hash out my business plan.  Most people wouldn’t have taken the time to meet a relative newcomer to the art scene – especially so soon after major surgery, but that’s Paul.  You see, Paul shares my passion for Chicago and drive to support the careers of Chicago artists.

As an art activist, Paul works tirelessly and passionately to make sure that today’s working artists are empowered – empowered to market themselves, empowered to set prices and empowered to stand solid and resolute in their dealings with curators, collectors and gallery owners.

One of the qualities I admire about Paul is that he is a straight shooter.  He tells it how he sees it.  That’s why his opinion, direction and advice are constantly sought out by artists at all stages in their careers.  It’s why Klein Artist Works is a one of a kind course that has been so successful.

I consider Paul a friend and mentor.  His advice and encouragement helped tremendously as I worked to build HangItUp Chicago.  Paul and I share the same objective – to see Chicago rival major art meccas such as New York and London, and to help grow the careers of Chicago area artists.

You can learn more about Paul and Klein Artist Works by clicking on the YouTube link below.

Klein Artist Works





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