Local(e) Inspiration: Artists in Place
“You don’t need to be on the mountaintop to create,” states Luke Frazier, creator of the new podcast/video docuseries, Artists in Place. “You just need to be where your feet are, right now.”
This conviction simmered awhile in Luke’s heart. Itched at the back of his head as he did the day-to-day, travelling Cleveland roads and noticing neighborhoods from Chagrin Falls to Glenville. He thought about artists in terms of people living in physical spaces, and wondered how place tied into the creation of art.
“Artists respond to environments in a way that is part of their work. They are in touch with places that are meaningful, not just buried in their studio or their head.” Frazier believes artists search out inspiration from the physical locations where they are, that people yearn to hear about the how and why of inspired work, and that all of us want to visit those places that catalyze creativity.
Frazier’s own creative work flows from his scrutiny of place. His documentary, Hidden in Plain Sight, was screened in 2015 at the Cleveland International Film Festival, as well as other film festivals and public events. It turns drive-by into detail, examining Cleveland’s Cultural Gardens that bracket the bends of MLK Boulevard. He also wrote and co-produced Row, a documentary short about a competitive rower and coach on the Cuyahoga River.
As owner and principal creative of NOW Communications, Frazier is a storyteller by trade. In the spring of 2019, he met Matt Pallotta, owner of Frame One Media, who was looking for a new creative project—and finally it was the right time to launch Artists in Place. So they sat down with Stephen Yusko, an artist using blacksmithing and metal fabricating techniques to make objects of clean lines and purpose. Yusko takes to the Towpath Trail for all kinds of exercise: physical, mental, and creative. “The work I make is inspired by these structures. The bridges, the railroad trestles . . . all those things play aesthetically into my work. I love the way they are connected and . . . purposeful.”
“Artists give us gifts of their time and attention through their work,” notes Frazier. “A meaningful place is an extension of this time and attention. As Joan Didion said, ‘we tell ourselves stories in order to live’ and every place has a story – a neighborhood, an alleyway, a park . . . and that’s what interests me.”
And now it’s your turn.
Frazier and Pallotta seek artists who will answer this question: What places in Cleveland/Northeast Ohio inspire and transport you to a creative space?
Respond to firstname.lastname@example.org, and put “Artist in Place – Your Name” in the subject line. They are reviewing submissions for an upcoming audio podcast series, some of which will then be expanded into the video docuseries.
Frazier and Hidden in Plain Sight will be part of the upcoming Film Café series at the Music Box Supper Club on February 19, 2020 at 7 pm. This free event features film pros talking shop and filmmakers showing their work.
Artists in Place: Stephen Yusko:
Film Café Series info: