The annual Oswego Fine Art Fair is just weeks away. Artist from around Chicago and all over the country will be in town to display their work. For many artists it will be their third, fourth or even fifth time at the fair. What keeps bring them back?
Michele Bergeron, the village's community relations manager, has her own ideas about that.
“I think it's our warm and friendly atmosphere and patrons," she said. "People are genuinely interested in the artists' work and the process the artist uses to get to the finished piece.”
Third-time fair participant Shelley Lawler certainly agrees with Bergeron's assessment. A multifaceted artist, Lawler has worked as a vocalist, writer and voice-over actress. The work she will display at the fair represents the marriage of her gardening/landscaping and her photography.
A Glen Ellyn-native, Lawler travels across the country with her photography. During the summers she focuses on the art fairs in the Midwest. Winter takes her to the Florida art scene and to the West Coast.
“All of the Chicago area is great for artists," Lawler said. "It's all very art-oriented. Artists travel from all over the country to show their art here. I feel very fortunate call this area home.”
Lawler's immersion into photography was an unique journey. She would take snapshots of her work in the garden with a "point & click" camera. Theses shots were to capture particularly beautiful moments and preserve them for her own enjoyment.
“It all begins with the garden.” she said. “I am very into my garden. I love landscaping and planting.”
Her husband, photojournalist Val Mazzenga, thought she could do more. He gave her a professional camera, film and a long lens. He showed her how to work it, and Lawler was fascinated with her results.
“I became obsessed with seeing my garden through the lens," she said. "Val encouraged me to print them and display them in the house. It really lifted my soul to be surrounded by my garden year round.”
To view more of Lawler's work, visit her website.