By: Christine Martinsky
When I was on my way to Lawrenceville for the Art All Night event, I was looking forward to an evening of culture in an intimate, charming town, however that quickly dissolved.
If you are familiar with Lawrenceville, it is a small but vibrant town that is currently trying to renovate itself. Along with this idea, the town is dotted with fashion boutiques, art galleries, restaurants, coffee shops, bars, and a small number of other things to make it “hip”.
Because I have been to Lawrenceville several times and am familiar with the area, I had made some assumptions of what the Art All Night event was going to be like.
Previously, I had gone to an event in Lawrenceville around Christmas time, which is called the Joy of Cookies Tour. You walk through the town of Lawrenceville, experiencing the atmosphere and shops while the places participating in the tour offer samples of delicious cookies with a recipe so you can make the cookie at home.
Perhaps it was an ignorant thought, but I had assumed that the Art All Night event would follow a similar pattern. Obviously there would be no cookies or samples involved, but I, as well as my brother who had accompanied me thought the art would be spread throughout the town in various shops.
As we drove down the main drag of Lawrenceville, confusion set in. Why, at midnight did it look like nothing was going on? Nearly everything was closed, there were some people out, as there should be on a Saturday night, but it hardly looked like there was an event going on that was “one of Pittsburgh’s most popular”.
Eventually, we decided to get off of Butler Street, the main street in Lawrenceville and travel further up the hill where we began to see some small crowds by the Iron City Brewery.
We decided after we had searched for the event, and parking for so long it was a good thing we didn’t need to pay to get in and it might be interesting to see the inside of the brewery.
But, as with everything else, that quickly changed. We walked down the incline of the brewery and into a mass of people who smelled as if they hadn’t washed themselves in a week or so and a line of porta potties. After having to weave through the crowds smoking their cancer sticks, we walked into the brewery and into another dimension.
People were mindlessly walking and dancing around in a daze like zombies, perhaps having taken part in some other festivities prior that evening. As for the art; It was almost as if it was high-school art night. Because anyone could submit art, no matter what the age, the show was a sloppy mess. To have the concept that there are no requirements in order to participate is good in theory, but if you are someone who wishes to see a show on a higher level, and not something like children’s finger painting, I do not suggest the Art All Night event.
There was the occasional talent however hidden in all of the mess, such as 22-year-old Eric Boyd from West Mifflin. Boyd submitted a painting titled ‘Girl’, in which he used ink, and ‘cob-web’ glue, or model airplane glue.
Boyd’s artistic style ranges from neo-expressionist to abstract. According to Boyd, ‘Girl’ is more abstract.
“I use ink which, when used on canvas, can be very tricky. I usually do two or three pictures on a canvas before the ink sets in and I can finish a piece. I also use movie cob-web glue that you’d see in a haunted house or Indiana Jones film, etc. The glue is great for everything from chunky bumps to fine, thin texture lines,” Boyd said.
This is not Boyd’s first rodeo as they say, as he has sold paintings at auctions, galleries, and on the internet. He has been commissioned for local bands to do album covers, posters, tee-shirts, etc. But it seems as though he shared some of the same feelings as I did about the event.
“The Art-All-Night show is definitely different. It’s a lot of fakers, freaks, hipsters, and people in-between; there’s a guy I saw wearing a vinyl fetish suit with a zipper in the butt. It’s a lot of fun. I did the Art-All-Night last year and I didn’t like it. Last year I didn’t sell my piece, though. This year I got a few offers, so that’s probably why I liked it this time,” Boyd said.
By the time we escaped from the brewery the only real thing we took with us was the smell of smoke in our hair and clothes and a negative view of the All Night Art show. Though there may have been a few exceptions, it was certain that the only thing left brewing in Iron City Brewery was the skunky smell of stale talent.