As part of the Downtown Memphis Commission’s effort to beautify vacant spaces within the city’s core, two local artists have their photographs featured in empty buildings at the intersection of Union Avenue and Main Street.
The first is Chip Chockley, who specializes in portraits, weddings, engagements, senior sessions, food and editorial work. His photos are stretched on canvas in the old Smooth Moves building at 85 Union Ave.
Across the street at 82 Union Ave., where one can find the work of John Henry, who says he does “everything,” including landscapes, rivers, sunsets, people and animals. Leslie Gower, director of communications for the DMC, discovered Henry’s work on Facebook and made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.
“It’s not a paying gig, they just offered us the opportunity to get some exposure,” Henry said. “You’ve got two empty storefronts right there at the most heavily walked intersection in Memphis. I was like, ‘sure, you can’t go wrong.’”
Henry said his only goal in photography right now is to get an identifiable photo of the Ivory Bill Woodpecker, the most endangered bird in America.
“I’ve heard two of them and seen one and that’s something that nobody else can claim,” he said.
Henry and Chockley’s artwork will be up until February, when the next batch of work will revolve, giving other local artists the same opportunity.
“They’re doing it in other cities,” Henry said. “The more people that come by to see it, the better everybody will be.”