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Featured artist combines creativity and politics



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Two examples of Zilger’s work. Photos submitted (click for larger version)
October 31, 2012 - By Yolanda Garfield

Special to the Review

Some folks might call Fred Zigler an artistic prodigy, but he comes by that honestly.

His art was featured prominantly at the Orion Art Center between Oct. 20 and 21.

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Self taught and passionate about politics and art his whole life, he has gleaned his ideas and some of his considerable skill from his father, an artist, and from the political climate around him.  A lifetime in banking and being a "political junkie" has given him an insider's view of a world many can only see from the headlines.  Today Zigler may be retired from banking but he is a prolific blogger (moneyplusthoughts.blogspot.com) and accomplished self-taught artist.

His father Simeon Zigler, was a Jewish immigrant from Russia, an artist and owner of a hardware store in Cincinnati.  The family also had a small workshop in the basement where the older Zigler enjoyed working.  Zigler recalls that at the age of 6, he admired his father and tried to work near him by nailing some pieces of wood together, but missed the nail and hit his finger.  He started crying, so his father dropped what he was doing, ran to make sure the child was all right, and then got irritated.  "You don't have a plan, no blueprints.  Go upstairs, get out of the shop."

This was the impetus for Zigler.  Although his feelings were hurt, he went upstairs and drew up a simple plan on a piece of paper: two sticks of wood in an L shape...a gun.  He took the paper to his father, who looked at it and then at his son, nodded, and said, "Ok, you can come back into the shop."

For Zigler, a piece of art usually begins with the wood.  He says that if he had to paint something first, he might not do it.  He loves recycling existing pieces that might already be a window frame or a piece of picture frame.  He also creates fantastic pieces that are frequently reproductions of frames he has seen in museums.  Then he paints something to go with the frame. 

His pieces are often iconic representations of familiar images used in symbolic and unique ways.  One example is his 'Mother and Child' series.  Prior to the 1970's, people didn't refer to America as a Judeo/Christian nation, but as a Christian nation, and in order to be a good American, you had to be a good Christian first.  "Where did that leave Jews?" Zigler asked himself.  As the culture changed and people began to reference 'Judeo/Christian', Zigler decided to paint this idea through the use of flagsin the Mother/Child format.  This is a powerful and inclusive statement, frequently embellished by other iconic images such as butterflies (for freedom) and a baseball diamond (for level playing field).

To learn about the exciting events planned for the Orion Art Center, visit them online at orionartcenter.org, call them at 248-693-4986, or visit them at 115 S. Anderson Street in downtown Lake Orion.

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