Celebrating art and life at Zhou Brothers Art Center

~ Milica Puric ~ 

3. ‘The Water Lily Pond of Life 3’ by Zhou Brothers

Beautiful painting ‘The Water Lily Pond of Life 3’ by Zhou Brothers at their Art Center 

On the third Friday, this past August I went to the Bridgeport Art Center in Bridgeport neighborhood in Chicago. While I walked through the building, I had a lot of fun entering artists’ ateliers, talking to them, and exploring their artworks. That was a great night. I love this place that opens its doors every month and gathers all sorts of creative people. It makes me feel energized and inspired.

2. Artist Yongmin Cho beside his artwork

Artist Yongmin Cho besides his artwork

On the third Friday of September, I was ready to go there again, but then I changed my mind at the last minute and decided to go across the street, to another Third Friday art party – at The Zhou Brothers Art Center. This huge building – another gathering place for artists – belongs to the famous artists and brothers Da Huang Zhou and Shan Zuo Zhou who converted an old warehouse into a huge art center.

7. Short break between two poerfomrmances of music-dance-art group 'Poster child'

“Woman as a warrior” on the second floor of the Art Center 

Just like the Bridgeport Art Center, this Art Center organizes exhibitions every 3rd Friday of the month. These gatherings are a great opportunity for people to immerse themselves in art, creativity, socializing… We can all meet working artists, discuss their work in person, and explore international and local art. These are artistic, fancy events, and people who love the different expressions of art, as I do, always have a great time…

4. ‘The Knowledge’ by Daniela Kovacic

‘The Knowledge’ by Daniela Kovacic

Also, Zhou Brothers are amongst the most accomplished contemporary artists in the world today, renowned for their unique collaborative process. They work together on each painting, performance, sculpture, and print, often communicating in a dream dialogue. They say that their thinking, aesthetics, and creativity are a synthesis of Eastern and Western philosophy, art, and literature.

5. “La Maravillosa forma de ser quien soy yo” by Yunior Hortaded Torres

“La Maravillosa forma de ser quien soy yo” by Yunior Hortaded Torres

Fortunately, we all have an opportunity to see their paintings and even meet them in their Art Center. At the Zhou Brothers Art Center, on the first floor, they exhibited huge, mesmerizing paintings from the ‘Water Lily’ cycle. Seeing them is a special aesthetic experience. Whether you are looking at their ‘The Water Lily Pond of Life 3’ or ‘The Water Lily Pond of Life 4’ you feel consumed by their beauty, colors, emotions they radiate… Brothers say that they ‘celebrate their ‘Feeling is Liberty’ philosophy of art and life’ through these paintings and they are, indeed, a celebration of creativity and life forces.

6. “JAW” by Stephen Wrigh

“JAW” by Stephen Wright

Still impressed by Zhou Brothers paintings I went up to the second floor. As I stopped there, in the atmosphere of dimmed gallery lights, I heard the beautiful music that reminded me of music I heard a long time ago in several Hindu temples… That was a magic sound… Later I found that the musician who played that music was Ben Garrett, co-founder of the Poster Child group… He was accompanied by two gracious ballet warrior girl dancers who played fierce contemporary dance… That was a multimedia event that combined visual art, dance, and music.

15. Performance by dance group Posterchild

“Posterchild” performance 

That performance of Posterchild was a part of the exhibition ‘Woman as a Warrior’ that featured 39 artists and 4 poets. Curators Didi Menendez and Sergio Gomez said in their announcement that this exhibition celebrates female empowerment.

8. “Hero” by Victoria Selbach

“Hero” by Victoria Selbach

Indeed, I saw many beautiful paintings of interesting women who are of different ages, professions, with different appearances… Some of them are real, some of them are the product of imagination, but all of them intriguing. Many paintings caught my attention: ‘The Knowledge’ by Daniela Kovacic, “La Maravillosa forma de ser quien soy yo” by Yunior Hortaded Torres, “JAW” by Stephen Wright, “Hero” by Victoria Selbach, “Wonder Woman Warrior with Raven” by Debra Livingston, “She returned late at night” by Debra Livinston, “War paint and Curlers” by Donna Bates, “Lady in waiting” Judy Takacs, “Little Champ” Astrid Ritmeester, “Hear me” by Alia El-Bermani and many others… 

10. “Wonder Woman Warrior with Raven” by Debra Livingston

“Wonder Woman Warrior with Raven” by Debra Livingston

I continued to walk through the building and on the fourth floor I met artist Corey Jenkins. He was surrounded by many people and he told me that he is the founder of ‘Jayinex’ – the creative community where people do art, music, photography. He said that he is a multidisciplinary teaching artist with 25 years of experience, best known for teaching youth and young adults how to use technology and mixed media to creatively express themselves through visual and performing arts. He also said that he is one of the original students of the University of Hip-Hop (UHH) and Minister of Infinite Creation (MIC). He has excelled as a public art leader, youth advocate, and mentor for students representing diverse cultural backgrounds.

16. Corey Jenkins, founder of ‘Jayinex’, creative community where people do art, music, photography...

Corey Jenkins, founder of ‘Jayinex’, a creative community where people do art, music, photography…

After Corey Jenkins, I went down on the third floor. I walked around, met, and talked to cheerful people and then, suddenly, I found myself standing in one of the most unique places I’ve ever been in my life. That was Martin Bernstein atelier.

15.a. The first room of Martin Bernstein atelier

This is just the beginning: visitors at the first room of the fascinating Martin Bernstein studio

When I entered there, I had to bend a little bit because hundreds of blue-ish pearls, beads, strings, chains are other unknown materials were hanging down from the ceiling… The chandeliers were also covered with pearls and other materials and the floor was covered with colorful carpets. Surprisingly, there was a huge TV in this artistic jungle, then jewelry shelves and a huge sleeping bed in the back of the atelier…  There were many unusual, unrecognizable objects and one couldn’t be sure where one thing ends and another one begins. Everything was connected and wrinkled.

15.b. Martin Bernstein in his fascinating atelier

A friendly conversation with amazed visitors – Martin Bernstein in his studio 

In the middle of this place, Martin Bernstein was standing and engaged in friendly conversation with amazed visitors. They asked him about the place and he answered every question patiently. Everyone was interested in why and how he made this ‘jungle’ and he explained that during past years he began to move beyond the canvas. “My environment became my canvas!” he said.

15. Martin Bernstein studio

A visitor at Martin Bernstein creative jungle 

I left his place with excitement. I was impressed. I felt I was, for a moment, part of his live performance…  We made plans to get together soon again and talk for ‘Urban Culture Tribe’.

My Third Friday journey was over.

I was inspired, energized, and exhilarated. I was happy and couldn’t ask for more.

~ Milica Puric ~

Article and photos belong to Urban Culture Tribe 

11. “She returned late at night” by Debra Livinston

“She returned late at night” by Debra Livinston

9. “Majaji Warrior Mother Goddess” by Debra Balchen

“Majaji Warrior Mother Goddess” by Debra Balchen

12. “War paint and Curlers” by Donna Bates

 “War paint and Curlers” by Donna Bates

14. “Little Champ” Astrid Ritmeester (left) and “Hear me” by Alia El-Bermani

“Little Champ” Astrid Ritmeester (left) and “Hear me” by Alia El-Bermani

5 thoughts on “Celebrating art and life at Zhou Brothers Art Center

  1. Anonymous

    I’ve been there. Wonderful show, wonderful exhibition… I need to visit Martin Bernstein studio, he seems like an interesting man…

  2. debrabalchen.com

    thank you very much for including a photo of my work! NEXT time you come to an Zhou-B third Friday (open studios) please come visit me in my studio..on the fourth floor Studio 405…I will be happy to greet you 🙂

    1. Milica Puric

      dear Debra, thank you for your comment! I will come next October 3rd Friday for sure. Your work is beautiful and original and the idea to show Wonder Woman off duty is great!!!


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