art

Brain Cummings' printed his photos on leather to mimic the application of ink to human skin.
Willis Ryder Arnold/St. Louis Public Radio

A St. Louis based photographer is making an international name for himself in tattoo photography. 

Forty-two year old Brian Cummings never expected his project documenting tattoos to be featured in Taiwanese magazines or provoke photography students to call him once a month. 

“I’m honored and do the interview and then go ‘How did you find me?’ And they’re like, ‘I looked up tattoo photography.’ And I’m like, ‘alright, I’ve cornered the market,’” said Cummings chuckling.

St. Louis Public Radio arts and culture reporter Willis Ryder Arnold had not spent time in St. Louis before starting his job in August, but already the region has made an impression.

“It’s an interesting place. It’s got a lot going on, and a lot it needs to work out, I think,” Arnold told “Cityscape” host Steve Potter on Friday. “There’s a lot of creativity here, and a lot of creative people. People are just very connected to each other here.”

Arnold moved to St. Louis from New York.

Two looks of Raja
Provided by the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts

As our city rocked from the upheavals of 2014, a series of quieter changes was taking place in the St. Louis art world.

Several arts organizations debuted, others expanded and a few folded. Some relocated and others featured uncharacteristic fare to appeal to wider audiences. Here’s a look at eight of this year’s evolutions in the local arts scene.

Eugenia Alexander, left, and Edna Patterson-Petty
Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

Grandmas are moms with lots of frosting, the saying goes. And in the case of East St. Louis’ Edna Patterson-Petty and her granddaughter Eugenia Alexander, the frosting is artistically done.

Patterson-Petty is a fiber artist and art therapist. Alexander grew up enamored by her grandmother’s work, which includes an art quilt made for President Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration.

A Moment's Pleasure by Mickalene Thomas
Provided by the 1-70 Sign Show

Mickalene Thomas is an artist who examines what it means to be a black woman. So what does her work suggest when juxtaposed with an ad for a strip club? How about when it’s displayed just off West Florissant Avenue, a few miles down the road from Ferguson?

plywood art at FedExt S. Grand 11/26
Rebecca Smith | St. Louis Public Radio

While the protests in the South Grand Business District have not been as destructive as in Ferguson, businesses have had windows broken and plywood is the current holiday look. But much of the plywood is festive. We offer a selection:

At FedEx

At Urban

  At the Post Office

At Great Clips

  At Cafe Natasha

At Rooster

Circa 1959, Ice Hockey, 2008, 34.5x18x2 inches, oil, enamel on steel
Provided by Tim Liddy

Fontbonne professor Tim Liddy is one of 102 artists displayed in a national exhibition at the Crystal Bridges museum in Bentonville, Ark. But Liddy was never going to be an artist. Looking forward to a career on the ice, he was planning to play games, not paint them.

'I'm Pretty' art by Grace Kubilius
Provided by Reese Gallery

The work of emerging fiber artist Grace Kubilius walks the walk while talking the talk. The conversation is about women and body image.

Like many young women, and all women, really, Kubilius has struggled with questions of appearance and what it means to be a woman.

“How do you sort of resolve that with what’s expected or what you think is expected of you?” Kubilius said.

Katherine Miller and examples of the art done for CSA
Photo of Miller by Jeganaath Giri; of artwork provided by CSA

In her last year at SEMO, printmaking major Katherine Miller of St. Louis knows she needs to think about the business of art even as she plans for grad school.

The Funhouse Gallery

When Theresa Disney’s two sons came home from school, they never knew what they might find. To their artist mom, everything’s a canvas, even the furniture.

“The kids would be like, ‘Why are our couches crunchy?’’ Disney said. “And I’d answer, ‘Because I painted them.’”

Now the boys are grown. Disney’s collection of paintings and sculpture is larger, too. Much of it was forged through adversity: the end of a bad marriage, a house fire, two bouts of cancer and spinal meningitis. But this new chapter of her life is all about having fun.

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