The Warehouses Ivette Spradlin
Ivette Spradlin is a Cuban American artist whose work centers on the emotional aspects of transition, adaptation, and communal ties. She holds an MFA from Tyler School of Art at Temple University and a BFA from the University of Georgia. Since the 1990s she has photographed and recorded the stories of members of different subcultures and their environs, such as punks and skateboarders, Cuban exiles in the United States, female-identifying artists, elderly jazz musicians in Pittsburgh, people who have experienced a Bigfoot sighting, and her friends and neighbors during the 2020 lockdown.
Spradlin’s project Wild Wild West End Oral History was originally developed from the fall of 1999 to the spring of 2000. Tenants of four warehouses in the West End of Atlanta, Georgia—punks, artists, dreamers—agreed to be photographed. Each subject was also asked to give a quote to accompany their image. Their likeness, their musings, and the warehouse itself were then turned into a handmade book called The Warehouses. The book is coptic-bound and filled with screen-printed collages from photographs of their living environs and silver gelatin prints of the tenants. All text was letter pressed with handset type. Only one complete copy of the artist book was ever made.
The video of these oral histories offers a new perspective and accounting of this unique warehouse living experience. While the book documents Atlanta’s DIY scene at the turn of the last century, the oral histories offer memories of a specific place and time in a subculture. If the book is the facts, the videos are the feeling. Former warehouse tenants tell stories about the freedom they felt and the friendships and bonds created there.
Ivette Spradlin’s photography project, titled The Warehouses and based on her Wild Wild West End Oral History, will exhibit in the Gammill Gallery in Barnard Observatory now. A walk-through exhibition talk with Spradlin will take place on Feb. 26.
SouthTalks is a series of events (including lectures, performances, film screenings, and panel discussions) that explores the interdisciplinary nature of Southern Studies. This series is free and open to the public, and typically takes place in the Tupelo Room of Barnard Observatory unless otherwise noted. Visit southernstudies.olemiss.edu for more information about all Center events.