Fine Arts Show is back

Dozens of artists will fill Burlington Park for annual festival

A statement art piece is more than just another furnishing, said artist Michael Zavison. It becomes a cherished family possession for generations.

The opportunity to meet those for whom his work has such lasting impact is a major reason the Florida-based industrial artist is taking part in the Hinsdale Fine Arts Show.

"For me, my part in this experience is not complete until someone buys (a piece) and it becomes theirs," Zavison said. "When you're out there talking to the people and I go to their home and do the installation, it's a very intimate thing."

Zavison, who collaborates with wife and fellow artist Melanie Rolfes, will be among the more than 80 vendors at the Hinsdale Fine Arts Show from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, June 5-6 in Burlington Park, 30 E. Chicago Ave.

The 48th annual event is back to its traditional June spot on the calendar after being moved to August last year due to the pandemic. Everything from ceramics to paintings to photography to jewelry will be on display.

Amine Badr, winner of last year's Best of Show award with his paintbrushed canvas piece "White Dress," was delighted by his debut appearance at Hinsdale's show.

"That was one of my favorite shows. I sold all of my paintings," Badr said.

Unfortunately, a large number of the regular shows many of the artists attend had to cancel in 2020, leaving few venues for them to market their work.

"I usually do around 22 shows a year. Last year I only had two shows that were available," said Badr, who lives in Atlanta.

He said selling directly to clients is a much more desirable financial model than exhibiting at a gallery that takes its cut. It also affords far more face-to-face interaction with prospective buyers, immensely more satisfying than an online sale, he stressed.

"I like to meet my clients and help them hang the pieces on the wall," Badr said, describing the reward of knowing exactly where his work will be displayed in a home.

Zavison, a Chicago native who once worked as a wallpaper installer in Hinsdale, shared that he didn't mind last year's August date for the show because it seemed more residents were back from their summer vacations.

He said he and his wife alternate on lead when designing pieces, which he makes using steel, acid, paint and plaster.

"There's a chemical reaction with the acid that creates some of the coloring. It etches as it chemically burns into the metal," he said. "It's like automotive industry steel where you can bend it and shape it."

Zavison's father was a steel worker and would show him different ways of working with the material. He worked as a welder and as a designer with Marshall Field's before becoming a professional artist about 12 years ago.

The pieces are large, a reason why he eschews urban shows for ones in the suburbs, where the homes are more expansive.

"The steel work is semi-sculptural, very unique stuff," he said.

Badr's pieces are also unique, employing a technique he calls "fading" that extends the length of the subject to help bring it to life.

"I like to express movement in my painting, like people walking," he said, noting even his figuratives have that quality. "You can see their dresses have movement in it. In nature, things move. You want to express that in your painting, because that's how things happen. People are never standing still."

His color palette is drawn from his exposure to various cultures he experienced growing up, he said. He hopes he finds as many interested in his work as he did last year. And he always takes pleasure in meeting fellow artists.

"I started getting to know a lot of people at these shows, and I always become very good friends with my neighbors at the shows," Badr said.

Eva Field, executive director of the Hinsdale Chamber of Commerce, said the number of artists has increased from 52 last year to 85 this weekend.

And she is pleased to be welcoming an array of new participants.

"Word of mouth from last year's show invigorated a lot of new artists to apply for this show," she said.

As a special treat, Hinsdale artist David Marcet will be decorating the sidewalk along the north side of Chicago Avenue with his chalk art.

Field senses residents' desire to enjoy community events again and expects it to go smoothly.

"We have confidence after being able to pull off the Fine Arts Show in 2020," she said.

It is recommended that guests who have not been vaccinated wear masks. For more information, visit

Author Bio

Ken Knutson is associate editor of The Hinsdalean