The place was hard to find. I had the address on Broadway, a big street, from the list of open artists' studios last weekend but there didn't seem to be any such number. There was a small lane behind a ramp onto the Interstate from Broadway so I followed it. Around a bend I saw a dreary brick building with the Open House sign. There was a series of three old commercial buildings built into a slope down to the Mississippi, now all occupied by artists.
In the middle one I met Craig Downs, pictured here. Downs is a painter and a singer with a band called Box of Nerves. Listen to some of their tunes here. His painting style may seem simple at first but click the image below and look carefully. The one on the right is particularly complex. Note the woman holding a tree whose wild red hair ends with snakes, like Medusa, placing her right hand on the head of a woman with a halo but no face, while an angel floats across the upper right carrying an Eastern Orthodox cross. Care to offer an interpretation?
WHAT I HAD TO DO: Listen to The Ride of the Valkeries from Richard Wagner's Die Walküre on my iPod, loud, along with other music of similar temperature and pressure, to stick it out on the treadmill. I think exercise is a boring, unpleasant chore but, damn, you have to.
TOMORROW: St. Louis artists portraits continue with Sarah Paulsen, painter