'Always something different' at Glen Ellyn Festival of the Arts
Go ahead. Try and resist the magnifying glass that Bari Tarmon hangs next to his artwork.
All your nagging questions would be answered with just one closer look.
Is it a photograph?
Is is a painting?
What exactly am I looking at?
"It's happy accidents," Tarmon said.
There are no rules, no limits to Tarmon's images. Some are abstract. Some are extreme close-ups. But it always starts with a photograph, much to the surprise of visitors to his booth Saturday at the Glen Ellyn Festival of the Arts at Maryknoll Park, a fundraiser for the Glen Ellyn Lions Club.
Tarmon is a graphic designer from Wheaton, so naturally he has an eye. But in that job, "you do what you're told to do."
Here, among his pictures of architecture and tugboats and Blue Angels, "somebody can't tell you, 'You did something wrong.'"
"I like to push in different directions," he said.
Sometimes the detail, lighting and exposure all combine for that "happy accident," an image Tarmon won't try to replicate.
The perfect example is a picture of a tugboat off the coast of a Connecticut island, where a flock of synchronized birds flies overhead -- almost like a time-lapse.
"Two snaps," Tarmon said. "Boom. Boom. That was it."
When he wants to exaggerate the details, Tarmon transforms the photograph into what appears to have the texture of a watercolor through photo editing apps. Or, he goes the simple route, stripping the image down to draw out the emotion.
Take, for instance, the picture of a man with a cane walking with a dog. Tarmon shot the pair from behind.
"I think people see someone they know," Tarmon said.
The festival is known for variety.
"We're very impressed with the quality of the artwork and the creativity of the artists here," said Lombard fan Don Freese, who strolled the grounds with his wife.
More than 80 artists from as far as California and Hawaii displayed pottery, handmade clothing, jewelry and sculptures. Though it's technically a competition for best in show and other prizes, the professionals roam the aisles, too, admiring each other's pieces. At their first show, Kristin Fischer and her husband, Scott, a Glen Ellyn native on active duty in the Coast Guard, got some help pitching their booth from another artist.
"You just respect everyone else's work," said Fischer, whose husband builds tables from barn wood, picture frames from lobster traps and bottle openers from railroad spikes (hence, the name of their Etsy shop, Muirwood Reclamations).
The Lions Club moved the festival from Lake Ellyn because of plans for a summer construction project that got pushed to later this fall. Glen Ellyn mom Georgia Bartlett missed the shade at Lake Ellyn but knew she'd find an original -- not "Target art." In the past, she's snagged stained glass and watercolor posters.
"There's always something different," she said.
The festival continues 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today at Maryknoll Park, 845 Pershing Ave. Admission is free.