Went to the Art All Night event last Saturday, 4/26. This is an annual art event held in the Lawrenceville neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. As far as art events go, it’s pretty laid back and cool, with a DIY kind of air about it. This is epitomized by the fact that anyone can submit and display work there, which makes for an incredibly varied mix of art to peruse. The rule is you get to submit only one piece, and then they hang it for you to be viewed by the guests that come to the event. To give you an idea of the range of work on display, I saw everything from a 3-year-old kid’s drawing to kinetic sculptures based on flow mechanics.
Naturally, that means you’ll have to wade through some crap in order to find the gems, but they are there in a fair quantity. And in truth, I don’t mind the open format as it allows anyone with the desire to show their work to have a place to get their freak on, without censorship, without judgement, and without cost (yup, it’s free – even to attend). That’s a very democratic approach to an art event these days, and I think it’s one that has a lot of benefit for the community and artists in general. Besides, it makes for a fun evening as even the trash can be pretty entertaining in its own way.
Another nice thing is that the event is very family oriented, at least in as much as they have a pretty large number of kids activities for the first four hours that the event is open. And they’re cool activities too – like a sticker room where they can stick stickers on anything and everything in sight, or the cardboard city made up of tons of empty appliance boxes that could be used to make a home or club house, or whatever else the kids could think up. They also had button makers, chalkboard walls, magicians, and more. And all free. We went as a family and my son had a blast, especially with the cardboard city, which was like a dream come true for him. It was a really nice way to get kids excited and interested in art, so I totally appreciated that they put serious effort out for the kids’ sake.
And lastly, they had music as well. There were a number of bands that played while we were there, including a kickass group of thirteen year olds that put on a great show, irrespective of their age. Sadly, we only stayed up to a little past 8pm or so because my son was with, but had we wanted to we could have stayed until 12pm the next day if we had the stamina, because the show stays open the whole time and people do go there throughout the event non-stop.
For my part, I took along my relatively new Fujifilm X-T1 camera with its 35mm f.14 lens, which is equal to a 50mm lens on a 35mm camera due to it being an APS-C crop sensor. This was one of the first real chances I’ve had to put the camera through its paces, and I have to say I was really pleased. Despite it being a crop camera, the image quality – especially at high ISOs – is fantastic, partly due to the camera, but also due to the high quality lenses that are available for it. It really is impressive and honestly nearly, if not equal, to my full-frame D3, even at high ISO. Most of the photos I’m posting below were shot at ISO 6400, so you can see for yourself the quality that it’s capable of. And all of this in a package nearly the same size and weight as my Pentax Program Plus film SLR, which is pretty compact even for a film camera, and thus significantly lighter and smaller than my D3. There are some things about it that would keep it from being my primary camera, but as a secondary lightweight setup, there’s very little that would be better I think. It really is a sweet, if a bit pricey, set up.