Open House: Gail’s Rogers Park Condo (aka the Fourth Dimension)

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Painter Gail Potocki’s Rogers Park condo is equal parts Victorian and Moroccan with a liberal mix of outside influences, vintage odds and ends (including trinkets made by our Victorian ancestors from human hair) and lots of taxidermy: a crow, a doe, y’want moe?  How about a peacock?  The list goes on and on.

Gail’s rich, layered aesthetic makes her place feel like it sits just outside the borders of time and space on a different plane of reality where magic exists and two headed squirrels roam the Earth (now that’s extreme taxidermy).  Reinforcing her condo’s distinctly supernatural aura are large scale oil paintings, many by Potocki herself, which are rooted in realism while “branching both seductively and effortlessly into the realms of possibility.”

Continued . . .

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“I live in one of my paintings,” the artist acknowledges.  In fact, Gail’s entire life seems more than a bit magical, starting with her almost eerily youthful appearance; it’s difficult to believe, but Gail recalls seeing bands like Iggy Pop, the Police, the CBGB’s and Blondie perform in a downtown Detroit she remembers as “vibrant.”

And then there’s Potocki’s prodigious talent, the depth of which was a surprise even to her when, bored of her job in educational publishing, Gail took a painting class.  One class led to another with Gail eventually devoting her life to intensive study.  Now a professional artist who long ago resigned her corporate job, Gail Potocki’s work has shared wall space with masters like Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Salvador Dali and H.R. Giger.

Continued . . .

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Gail and her boyfriend also deal Art Nouveau pottery and posters, and they rub elbows with crazy cool, omni-dimensional creators like Grant Morrison and Dave McKean, whom they met at the massive San Diego Comicon.  Much to their surprise, the comic book and fantasy communities have embraced the couple’s pottery, posters and Gail’s original paintings, and the annual Comicon is one of their best trade shows.

It’s easy to ascribe supernatural origins to a story like Gail’s, but doing so distances ourselves from experiencing like miracles in our own lives. Beneath our boring jobs and trivial pursuits, everybody’s got some kind of talent or skill that can tapped with the right combination of curiosity, initiative and hard work.  At least many do.  Perhaps Gail Potocki more than most.  I give up; she’s a savant.

But the two-headed squirrel is most definitely magic.

Click here to read past Open House stories.

In 2006, Olympian Publishing released “The Union of Hope and Sadness: The Art of Gail Potocki.  Click here to purchase the book (I own a copy and highly recommend it).  To inquire about her work, please contact Gail or visit Century Guild.  And keep watching for a follow-up post with some incredible examples of Gail’s art.

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Wall stencil by Gail's friend Greg Curvey of Gregorian Design.

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9 Responses to “Open House: Gail’s Rogers Park Condo (aka the Fourth Dimension)”

  1. I used to know someone who lived in this building – totally different aesthetics though! Fantastic place – looks like what I’d imagine the True Blood vampires home should look like. The fawn & lamb taxidermy were a little creepy though – reminds me of the dealer a few years back at the Intuit Outsider Art show who was selling taxidermied dogs.

  2. Paula, it is great isn’t it? I love this condo. Regarding True Blood, hmm . . .

  3. What a wonderful, fantastic and comfortable place. Love it!

  4. shannon orr(harpster) c EDHS class of 1979 03. Sep, 2009 at 8:06 pm

    I want your life…… Why are you moving?

  5. Fantastic!
    Love the taxedermy! Very high quality examples.
    The thing about taxidermy is, is that it is important that pieces come from a good taxidermist. Gail’s pieces are obviously from a well trained taxidermist.

  6. Would love to see this in person. Can’t imagine the effect if I were to be surrounded by it. Really fantastic! So glad I was able to meet Gail. Love her book and her work. We are looking forward to seeing her out and about here in Saugatuck, Mi.

  7. love, love, love your apt. cool ,unusual things to look at. love the victorian feel and eclectic things in your crib..Ive checked out your post for some things I can do in my place.. keep up the ever visual explosion…. thanks