Sleepy Urbanite

Having spent 18 years in Chicago I can appreciate the subtlety of Sleepy Urbanite.
The gist of this site is that a chicago area artist spends time documenting the urban setting using the digital camera on her phone.

She has 4 galleries to date of her work online, Sleepy Urbanite, Urban Heiroglyphics, Blue City and Found Art but the one which has been receiving the most action is the Sleepy Urbanite exhibit.
The Chicago-based indie muscian and formally trained artist has moved past letting her eye wander to her snoozing fellow CTA riders and has actually compiled a collection of photos she had taken with her phone for all to peruse.
In her words:

“this series was born out of my fascination with the morning train ride to work. i found myself amazed by all of the different faces….the long stares out the windows… people are dreaming all around you on the train. the train, where we are all crammed in, but also so isolated. if you find yourself in this photos, apoligies for the intrusion. if you do not find yourself in these photos, apologies for the oversight.”

Needless to say, this has caused something of a stir…is it legal? is it moral? is it art?

Personally, I am quite taken with the beauty of these images. I find this to be a noble artistic endeavor, worthy of a look and a comment or two. Be forewarned that you may have some strong feelings that crop up around this. Your assignment, dear readers, is to look as though you are in a small gallery on the near west side of Chicago. You have the opportunity to ask this artist questions in her blog. She does respond and she does seem to care what you think of her work…although she is firm in her foundational thinking as a visual artist. She has reasons for doing what she does.

I would invite you to visit and ASK QUESTIONS…rather than place judgements. I know, I know, we all have opinions, that is what makes this free speech of ours such a gift in this country and YET, can we reserve our highly sought after opinion in favor of gaining a little more wisdom in the process?

Before posting, ask yourself your motivations…seek wisdom, not self glory…this is the crux of great art.


8 thoughts on “Sleepy Urbanite

  1. I happen to be on the artist’s email list, so I received a link to Sleepy Urbanites recently and I am facinated! As addicted as you are to Pink Truth, I may become to Sleepy Urbanites!

  2. Thanks for pointing to this. I’m not sure how I feel about it…the images are sweet, and sad in a way. The people do look defenseless.

    I was moved by them, but if I were snapped sleeping on the subway and posted online, I’d feel pretty exposed. I think I’d have a problem with it. OK, I would if I were slack jawed. If it happened to be a shot that made my cheekbones look better than they are in reality, I’d get over it.

  3. mommasteph: I would agree…I would also feel “exposed” and yet I suppose that is one of the things I like about her work. I feel a great need to be exposed…to be able to see into myself, see into others. As long as the art is not to exploit (and I trust that her intention is not exploitative in nature) then I believe it to be an expression of beauty, an exercise in opening ourselves to the delicate dichotomy in which we exist.

  4. FF:
    Thanks! With the holidays at hand it is hard to find time to write but I am enjoying the medium immensely!

    After speaking with the artist on this project (Sleepy Urbanite) I understand that she does not merely snap the pics and slap them up on the site…she spends about an hour in photoshop on each photo. She brings up colors, dials down others, crops them…she really does “create” them into what you see. The raw image is, of course, real…but she takes the raw material and works with it to bring out the natural beauty, much as a woodworker finds brings out the existing grain in the material when he creates.

  5. Loved it. It took me back to commuting in London. The trains are fuller there, though, so on most subway lines you have to stand, only a very lucky few get to sit… I really like the otherness of it, people seen the way they are not usually seen. It’s great.

    Thanks for the heads up.



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