2 - The Michigan Daily - Monday, July 21, 2003
Art Fair artists share
By Lucy Head
The term starving artist is one
Pennsylvania native Bill Secunda is
"It's definitely real," Secunda said.
"You spend a lot of time and money try-
ing to get to these shows and finding
people who will be interested in your
work, and it's just amazing how those
costs begin to add up."
But hitting rock bottom has never
stopped him, and hasn't stopped any of
the other approximately 1,200 artists at
Ann Arbor's art fair this past week.
From Wednesday to Saturday, the Ann
Arbor art fairs attracted more than
500,000 people to the streets of down-
town Ann Arbor. The influx of people
meant blocked streets, minimal available
parking, and increased profit for many
Ann Arbor businesses.
Art fairgoers may have noticed
Secunda's 34 foot-long 600-pound
spider on the corner of East and
South University, or the Gate Keep-
er, a brawny, armor-clad, eight-foot
tall monster, on the corner of South
University and Tappan.
Like many artists at the art fair,
Secunda described his job as just one of
those things that feels right. "The
biggest part of it is that I started off
doing this for fun and it's still fun."
Secunda explains, however, that
these fun times come with many trials
"Every time you get knocked down
you just have to get up and keep going,"
Secunda said. Stopping is "never a ques-
tion. You just have to pay your dues."
Secunda, who specializes in large
metal sculptures, has only been doing art
full-time for a little under six years.
"(Before my first show) I was
never in a gallery in my life, never
had any art classes," Secunda said.
"I took two courses at a community
college to learn how to weld."
From there Secunda continued to
work with metal, later opening his own
Secunda said the changing point in
his life came after an accident resulting
in the deaths of his best friend and his
best friend's wife.
"I took two weeks off and said 'I'm
going to play around the house,' and
ended up building a five foot-tall pray-
ing mantis," Secunda said. "It was weird
because four people in my family ended
up blowing a water tank so I had four
water tanks to use on this."
Secunda, who has been to the Ann
Arbor art fair the past four years, was
introduced to Maggie Ladd, executive
director of the South University Art Fair,
at a show in Miami.
"We go all around the country
talking to artists to be in the fair,"
Ladd said. "We go to about two
major events a year."
Ladd said her goal is to have new,
exciting, and above all, fresh artists
in the fair.
"We re-invite about 70 to 100 artists
and we jury in the rest," Ladd said.
"We've had a lot of comments (about all
the new artists). The audience is really
excited about it."
One of the booths that clearly excited
fairgoers contained Milwaukee artist
Marc Sijan's lifelike sculptures. The
crowd on the corner of Maynard and
William thought the sculptures looked
so real that they might blink eventually.
"People will say the only thing that's
missing is the pulse, and I'm working on
that," Sijan said.
This artist gets his reputation from
his meticulous recreations of the
"My job is to interpret reality,"
Sijan said. "I have to be a sculptor
and a painter. I work with a magnify-
ing glass, dental instruments, and a
triple zero brush (to make fingerprints
and pores in the skin)."
Sijan has been featured in 40 one-
man museum exhibitions.
"Many artists have been in group
museum shows, but to do a one-man
museum show is very special," Sijan
said. "Museums only do that two or
three times a year."
Even Sijan can find a home in
Ann Arbor's art fair, which he has
attended since 1971.
"My roots are here," Sijan said. "I
started doing art fairs 30 years ago."
School of Art and Design junior Lau-
ren Berry attended her first art fair this
past week as one of the three artists cho-
sen for the Emerging Artist Program
with the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair.
"At first it was kind of overwhelm-
ing," Berry said. "I was really nervous
about what to expect. I had never sold
any of my own work before."
Berry, who specializes in metal jewel-
ry, applied to the program with dozens
of other art students and considers her-
self very lucky to have been chosen.
"By the end (of the art fair), I felt like
a pro," Berry said. "The whole experi-
ence turned out to be much more than I
planned on it being. It was a lot bigger,
and went better than I had anticipated."
Although Berry is uncertain about her
future plans, she hopes to return to the
fair. "I just learned so much from it."
Practicing Falun Gong on the Diag
Falun Gong practitioners gather on the Diag last Thursday and Friday in order to
educate students about the persecution of Falun Dafa believers in China. The
event's organizers passed out information and collected signatures, which were
presented at a national protest In Washington D.C. last weekend.
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