Modern Ruins

Step 3. Finding the Perfect Modern Ruins Turns out location scouting takes a ton of time. I need prime examples of urban wastelands ripe for transformation by Mosaic Elements--because, of course, art is the antidote to urban decay. There needs to be enough space for a photographer to work without dodging traffic. Ideally there will be range of different surfaces to photograph. Some overhead covering would be helpful in case of rain. And I want to stay in Evanston. Over the course of several scouting expeditions, I explored the EL viaducts and tracks, I surveyed the lakefront breakwaters and retaining walls, and I scanned many many back alleys, sidestreets, crumbling buildings, stone fences, concrete walls.

And then, cue the choir, I found it: an EL viaduct I'd never noticed before at the south end of Evanston.

The EL and Metra rumble by intermittently and the occasional pedestrian drifts through but otherwise it's closed off to traffic and a perfect deserted viaduct with a huge range of surfaces for hanging work in any weather or light conditions. It has the feel of a crumbling cathedral with rusting metal supports and disintegrating concrete pillars and the water dripping down from arches and vaults forming stalactites. Pale November light filters down between the tracks. Dusty leaves rustle around random aerosol cans and gray-green mildew is growing up the walls. It's clearly a graffiti haven, all thoroughly buffed with gray-beige paint. It's definitely the stark, raw urbanscape for which I've been searching.

Here are some mock-ups I gave the photographer as a starting point for the photo shot. Next step: Photo shoot.