Francine In Retirement
Seeing Life Through Photography


Each year I attend the Three Rivers Art Festival in Pittsburgh.  I try to find something new to focus on and highlight.  This years highlighted features are:  ART HOUSE, AMERICAN HERO #4 and FLOATING ECHO. 

I hope you enjoy my photos of the work of this years artists..



Art House, which began on Vanessa German’s front porch in Homewood, has become a place of joy, imagination, creativity and fun. German says it started when she was sculpting on her front porch and attracted onlookers, so she grabbed some paint and art supplies and had them join in. Now, it’s a gallery/studio for neighborhood kids.

German says the arts festival is a perfect place to showcase the pieces created at the Art House over the past year. There also will be an opportunity for festival goers to make a sign to take home. The Art House is represented in miniature at the festival in a shed with a 2-foot front porch at the Giant Eagle Creativity Zone. It is decorated in art work.

“I think it will inspire some people,” German says. “And I think it will mean a lot to have them hear other people talk about and appreciate their art and know that it has value.”

I did a post on Vanessa’s Art House in a post entitled Loves Front Porch.



Dallas native and African-American artist Hugh Hayden explores infatuation with hair within the context of race and race within the context of mainstream American culture through the potent symbol of a 1965 Ford Mustang.  The concept of his sculpture is to create racing stripes out of cornrowed hair on the body of a first generation Ford Mustang. As a classic automobile the 1964.5-1973 body style is an archetype of the American muscle car. Historically the application of the blue racing stripes to an all-white automobile was an American intervention to identify a car in international motor races as well as practically aid the driver in aligning a spun out car with the race circuit. It later evolved to denote a higher performance sports car. Cornrows are a vernacular hair styling method best suited to kinky hair types and common among ethnic communities in New York City including African-Americans, Puerto Ricans and Dominicans. The creation of a racing stripe out of cornrows creates a new reading of a familiar piece of American history that attempts to symbolically assimilate minority cultures into mainstream society.

Hayden’s artwork uses the manipulation of hair as a tool to explore African-American cultural identity within the broader context of America. The work utilizes content, materials, and technique to juxtapose the familiar yet disparate. The resulting work reimagines existing perceptions into a new fantastical world of melded cultures. In my his sculpture the racing stripe assimilates the cornrow into the mainstream.



Chang-Jin Lee is a Korean-born visual artist who lives in New York City. Her multicultural background and experiences have provoked in her an interest in investigating the diverse cultural and social issues in our current era. In her artworks, she deals with identity, gender, globalism, nationalism, human trafficking, and religion.

“Floating Echo” is a transparent inflatable statue of Buddha sitting in lotus on the water. The clear giant plastic sculpture floats like an invisible being.

This translucent statue echoes mysteriously on the water which represents tangibility, infinity and bodilessnes. What one sees is one’s own environment rather than the Buddha itself. Its elusive beingness provokes fundamental questions of existence. “Floating Echo” coexists and contradicts with nature, material and the Self.




  1. How did Hugh Hayden get all that hair? Is it all real human hair?

  2. All of these are really interesting, Francine, but I find Hugh Hayden’s work especially intriguing, especially with the analysis you gave of his work. I like this idea of integrating ethnic groups into mainstream American culture, especially in the case of the Ford Mustang, which is such a quintessentially American white male car. The corn row stripes, so representative of the largest ethnic groups in America (besides Mexican) is a great juxtaposition with this symbol of white American manhood. 🙂

  3. Fascinating, Francine. Thank you for sharing these artists with us.

  4. Floating Echo and American Hero are both stunning and thought provoking pieces and I’ve always remembered your post about Vanessa German, Wonderful !

  5. Floating Echo is stunning, but all examples show how diverse all artists are. Thanks!

  6. Great post! We’ve been blogging for about the same amount of time, and I still remember the first time I ever saw your beautiful photographs! It was a post featuring beautiful trees in the fall and I was captivated. Since then your blog has continued to be an inspiration through verses, stories and photographs. I love it and I’ve nominated you for the Liebster Award. Congratulations!!! You can read more about it @

  7. These are amazing works of art, Francine. I’m so fascinated by the hairy car. 😀

  8. you’ve written a good report on this art event!

  9. What a fascinating selection from the exhibit – thanks for sharing them, and their stories, Francine! 😉

  10. Love the Art House. The floating buddha is brilliant. So much depth in such a simple piece. Love it all. {{{hugs]}} Kozo

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