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Art festivals takeover downtown Ferndale this weekend

Erica Hobbs
Special to The Detroit News

What’s better than one art festival? Two, of course, and that’s what art-lovers will find this weekend in downtown Ferndale.

On the west side of Woodward Avenue, visitors will find the Funky Ferndale Art Fair, with the DIY Street Fair taking over the east. The combination will yield hundreds of artists and vendors and feature an array of paintings, sculpture, jewelry, mixed media, functional art, crafts, live music, drinks and food trucks. 

While the crux of both events is arts and crafts, Funky Ferndale is the more traditional of the two, which founder Mark Loeb described as a fine art fair with an edgy attitude, for people who didn’t realize they love art. 

The Funky Ferndale Art Fair will features hundreds of artists and vendors.

“You won’t see a bunch of still-lifes that will go well with your couch,” he said. “Instead, what you’re going to see are images that will invite conversation when your friends are over, images that you may interpret differently at different times of day in your life, and wearable art that will attract attention and not blend in.”

One of those artists is Aaron Sadock, who creates his abstract paintings through a combination of gravity and music. After pouring his colors on to a canvas, Sadock uses gravity to spread them around to create his design, which is then set on a large speaker where sound vibrations further define the image. 

Sadock said he likes punchy, rock music with a lot of sound dynamics, especially from musicians like Beastie Boys, Led Zeppelin, Jack White, Queens of the Stone Age, Rage Against the Machine and The Black Crowes.

“The beauty of it lies in letting go of control,” he said. “You can guide the paint, but you can’t make it do anything specific.”

The DIY Street Fair celebrates the do-it-yourself spirit.

The DIY Street Fair has more of a party atmosphere and celebrates those with a do-it-yourself spirit, said co-founder Krista Johnson. The event runs later into the night and features a range of live music, plus craft beers and spirits.

“The vibe is a little more casual at our end, so we work really well together,” she said.

"Windo," by Aaron Sandock, will be on display at the Funky Ferndale Art Fair.

Amy Gerhardt is one of the featured artists for the DIY Street Fair, with work that is all about nostalgia-based pop art, especially pop culture from the 1990s. Her range of earrings, mugs, magnets, stickers and keychains feature images and quotes ranging from TV shows like “Rugrats” and “Unsolved Mysteries,” to games like Nintendo and Oregon Trail, to toys like Polly Pocket and Tamagotchi. 

“It just makes people happy,” Gerhardt said. “I just like to make people laugh and remember things from their past.”

Both fairs will also offer a range of activities beyond the art vendors. At Funky Ferndale, visitors will find an Author’s Tent where they can meet about 30 local authors. They can also partake in a scavenger hunt to find more than 20 images of the town’s mascot the “Ferndalian,” with the chance to win a grand prize. 

DIY Art Fair

Live bands are a big draw for the DIY Street Fair, with headliners Haley Heynderickx, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and Flobots and eight local acts including Passalacqua, The Doozers, Minihorse, Summer Like The Season, Jerry Dreams, Jack and the Bear, Checker and White Bee. 

Loeb said the event is just a whole different interpretation of an art fair.

“For people who love air fairs, they love this because they’ve been going to the same art fair all year long, they could use something a little different,” he said. “For people who don’t love art fairs, they love this, because there’s images that just push them to the edge and help them identify with art a little bit better.”

Funky Ferndale Art Fair

Nine Mile in downtown Ferndale, west of Woodward

3-7 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday

DIY Street Fair

Nine Mile in downtown Ferndale, east of Woodward

6 p.m.-midnight Friday; 11 a.m.-midnight Saturday; 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday

Both events are free. Visit www.funkyferndaleartfair.com and www.ferndalediy.com