Picturing Evanston

Harvey Pranian

Most everybody will know Harvey as the force behind YEA for thirty years, or as the proprietor of Harvey Art & Antiques with a keen eye for unique and unusual art and artifacts, but did you know that Harvey is not just an avid collector of art but and extraordinary artist himself? Here is a glimpse at what he is working on for his third act.

What brought you to Evanston?
Started my business in Galena, IL. in the mid 1960's  My wife at the time had her teaching degree and wanted to be in the Chicago area for potential
work. I was looking for a space to continue my interest in art and antiques and stumbled upon a for rent sign at 1235 Chicago Ave. Inquired and to my
surprise, the rent was $135/month which, because in the rear of the space was a small kitchen and bathroom. So we were able to live there and begin my business at the same time. 

How does your environment inform your art?
If you mean surrounding community by "environment" ... It is inspiring and energizing to be in a community that is saturated with  artists and art work. Ideas, inspiration and useful energy springs from that community of people and their work.

Describe your art, in a hundred words or less.
My art is not conventional or academic or realistic in any sense. I am inspired by the natural world and am a true believer that art imitates Nature. I am not much interested in symmetry, but rather asymmetrical notions, ideals, objects and thoughts. 

What is your medium?
My medium is  determined by my inspiration. I love found materials and objects. I carve, paint, construct, collage, The natural world is my palate.

What are you currently working on?
What I am working on:  A multiplicity of projects in process, begun but not completed. I seem to have a flow of ideas invested in things in process
which I work on when I make time. My "problem" is that as I am working to complete a project, something fresh and new presents itself to me, which
triggers the need to file that on a back burner. It seems to be a constant flow of a desire to complete something at hand and at the same time be attentive to the new kid on the block.

Name one piece of art, by any artist, that blew your mind or otherwise inspired you.
Most anything by Alexander Calder, Miro, Paul Klee, and most importantly the work of children and young people whose work simply flows out of them.
The academics may think about what they are doing, but for children and Klee, Miro and Calder, it flows from within. The creative sensibility is when one is in a "zone", being carried along almost helplessly by an energy that refuses to be defined. This is the creative process,  the vehicle that takes us along for the ride where good stuff happens which most often is not entirely of our doing.

Why art?
Why Art. Hard to answer because "what is art"? A gesture, a nod, a wink, a pebble on the beach, the shape of a tree branch, a woman's appealing, sculptural sensual body, a discarded  piece of iron or wood. The list is infinite. Composition is critical to the eye.

Harvey's website

Listen to the Lisa D Show podcast with Harvey