Author: Nicolette Caldwell

Why Joseph Beuys? A Short Follow Up With Adrian Moens

Two weeks ago artist Adrian Moens and I spoke about his exhibition at the Comfort Station located. For fun I presented him with a short survey of six questions called, “The Six Inch Survey.” Below is a brief follow up to the answers he came up with. You can find the original Q and A session here. Why Joseph Beuys? Joseph was a healer and he believed in people. To him, I think, art was medicine. It is incredibly admirable. What does love smell like? Love smells different depending on the person. Love for my father smells like sulfur from a match and then cigarette smoke in the back seat of his old rusted out Mazda. But I’m eight years old, so its just a memory of a smell–it lingers though. Why naked over nude? Naked abandons rules, scoffs at the tired, wagging finger. Wild and unadulterated, naked fills me with a solitude and self-awareness, more profound than the surface of my flesh and a deep sense of ownership of my being. Nude feels heavy-handed …

Clown Soldier the Human Cannonball

Human Cannonball is whimsical, complex and endearingly hokey. Printmaker and street artist, “Clown Soldier” crosses traditional boundaries of formal and street community art, pushing forward the notion of what is “accepted” or coined “good art” and how those standards are set and practiced by artists, curators, art historians, enthusiasts, collectors, and all the other art players. During the interview, Clown Soldier mentions that a large inspiration for the work created comes from the ideology and execution of autonomous art practice–not from intentionally following standard styles or trends. Referencing two major art historical movements, Dada and Surrealism, it is an interesting way to draw inspiration from standard busting artists that have been “canonized” in our art tradition to create a fusion all his own. Working and living in New York, this is the first time this artist has shown a body of work in Chicago. Nicolette Caldwell: Where are you from? Clown Soldier: Originally? Or in my previous life? I really don’t know. NC: How did you get involved with making art for the street? Did …

Artist Adrian Moens at The Comfort Station

“Adrian Moens’ multimedia exhibit and installation transmit/transmute integrates sound, sculpture, video, writing and painting. The underlying, and often paired, themes of rhythm and resonance, loss and removal, and empathy and revulsion are addressed through carefully considered minutiae of discreet words, imagery objects and sounds.” (This is an excerpt taken from a full press release provided by The Comfort Station.) transmit/transmute will run from this weekend until July 22. Adrian spent Sunday afternoon at the space for an opportunity to talk with more people who stopped in to check out the show. Below is a short, fun, less formal interview done with the artist. This is the first of many interviews to come called, The Six Inch Surveys. It is our way of getting to know more artists and creative people in a short period of time. 1. When are you at your most creative? When I’m alone 2. What is your drink of choice? Hot coffee. Never, ever iced. Ever. 3. What is your favorite smell? The people I love. 4. If you could collaborate …

Pawn Works Presents, Clown Soldier

It has been a week since Gabriel Specter’s show ended and Nick and Seth of Pawn Works already have prepared another entirely new show featuring a print maker and street artist who goes by the alias of “Clown Soldier.” The show is called Human Cannonball and the opening took place this past Friday, June 24th. The artist was available for an interview so be sure to keep posted next week to learn more about the artist and Pawn Works. Below you will find a short slide show with images from the installation along with featured music by local Chicago band Kmang-Kmang. Clown Soldier ‘Human Cannonball’ from Nicolette Caldwell on Vimeo. For more information about Pawn Works go to www.pawnworkschicago.com If you want to see more work by the artist the show runs for the next two weeks. You may also check out the artist’s website at www.clownsoldier.com To learn more about the music featured in the slide show go to www.kmang-kmang.com Pawn Works is located at 1050 North Damen Avenue.  

The Chicago Street Art Show: Artists Goons & Don’t Fret

During the week of installation for The Chicago Street Art Show at The Chicago Urban Art Society I had the opportunity to speak with several participating artists including Don’t Fret and Goons. The closing reception for the show will take place this Friday, June 3rd.  If you are unable to make it to the reception, keep posted for future coverage including a video reflection consisting of interviews and footage from the show. Additionally featured this week is an interview with Joseph J. Depre, curator of The Chicago Street Art Show. Chicago Street Artist: Don’t Fret Nicolette Caldwell: What is your history with street art? Don’t Fret: I’ve been making art for as long as I can remember. I first got involved with graffiti in seventh grade. All the kids in my seventh grade class chose tag names from South Park characters and I was Pip. NC: That is really clever. So it started from when you were younger? DF: Yeah, I grew up in the city and I remember graffiti from a very young age. …

Jettison Quarterly Revisions Art and Culture

Jettison Quarterly is an online publication that features art and culture in Chicago. Like Sixty, Jettison documents and features interesting stories that are not always covered by other more ‘mainstream’ publications. In addition to that, Jettison bring to the table full-length features—because it is okay to actually spend time reading about Chicago’s rich cultural scene and not just soaking up small tidbits. We’ve been following Jettison since its inception and finally had the opportunity to put them under their own disco ball; they always display one at most of their events. PR Assistant, Meredith Weber, and Co-Founder, Emanuel Aguilar, both took a moment to talk about the publication. Nicolette Caldwell: How long have you been a part of Jettison and what is your role? Meredith Weber: I have been the PR Assistant since Fall 2010. We joke at Jettison that I want to be referred to as the FACE, but I do take promotion of Jettison very seriously. I believe whole-heartedly in the project and people behind it. Emanuel Aguilar: I was one of the …

Concrete = Canvas: Project Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires is not Chicago and Chicago is not Buenos Aires. Yet these two cities are connected in a strange way by a set of bleeding heARTS. Callie Humphrey and I met during an installation of a show about street art and graffiti art back in September of 2010. Realizing that we both had similar interests, we decided to keep our elbows within reach. Last week via Skype, Callie indulged me with amazement by detailing the progress of her public art project Concrete = Canvas, which is set to launch in coming weeks in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The C=C Kickstarter campaign ends this week and funds from the campaign will be used to supplement expenses for the first C=C project, “Project Buenos Aires: From Concret to Canvas.”  Meet Callie Humphrey, the genius creative mind behind Concrete = Canvas, “Transforming concrete jungles into vibrant urban canvas, one building, one city, at a time.” Callie, how is Buenos Aires? You have been down there for a few months now for the launch of your project Concrete = …

Jayson Lawfer: The Nevica Project

In our contemporary times, you will not (always) find the life-long artist, or the sole curator or even the staple art collector/dealer/consultant ménage trio. You might instead see professionals in the arts wearing many hats working synonymously as artists, curators, consultants, directors and educators. These hats belong to many of today’s creative professionals and they also belong to Jayson Lawfer. At his very foundation, Jayson Lawfer is a skilled potter and photographer. Lawfer has an extensive curatorial history and directs the highly regarded ArtReach program at Lillstreet Art Center. Separate but also threaded into all of this, Lawfer is also the founder and director of an art consulting business called The Nevica Project—a contemporary art sales and consulting business. The Nevica Project’s mission is, “to develop a unique relationship between highly skilled artists, an online gallery and collectible art.” From one hat-wearer to another it is hard to shake the curiosity of wanting to know how a person like Lawfer does it all. Especially when he still manages to find studio time. It is possible …

The Independent Professional: An Interview with LVL3 Gallery

What started as a simple passion and an opportunity to showcase new and emerging Chicago-based artists turned into something more. In early 2010, artist Vincent Uribe founded LVL3 Gallery an independent gallery in Wicker Park. Studying Art History and Arts Administration,  Associate Director Allison Kilberg began assisting Vincent shortly after. From their inaugural show entitled, Maybes to recently celebrating their one-year anniversary, LVL3 is going strong and expanding the programmatic scope of things evermore. I initially met Vincent during the beginnings of Sixty, last spring. We talked about some of the tribulations that are part of creating an art space or small organization. Everything has a place and purpose in the art world—whether commercial, not-profit or independent. And Chicago is brilliantly pieced together by so many spaces (different and alike) introducing all types of art to the world. All of this is hard to follow but Sixty is taking that challenge. The list is ever-growing and adding to that list we would like to introduce, LVL3 Gallery. Tell us about the LVL3 alternative space from …

Tell the Next Mayor, Why Art Matters.

On Friday night, February 11th, 2011, SIFC partnered up with The Chicago Urban Art Society (CUAS) at their space in Pilsen. This was not just any event—it was an occasion, an opportunity for the art communities and political figures in Chicago to meet and engage in conversation with one another. Other partnering organizations included: Three Walls, Cro, New City, Chicago Reader, WBEZ Radio, Gozamos, Urban Gateways, Chicago Artist Coalition, Chicago Public Art Group, The Chicago Art Department, Co-Prosperity Sphere, The Institute For Arts entrepreneurship and Barrio Bonito Urban Showcase. SIFC set up shop with a video confessional booth.  We invited anyone to address the mayoral candidates by answering one question: “Why is art in Chicago important to you, and why should it be supported by our next mayor of Chicago?” Lauren Pacheco and Peter Kepha (directors and founders of The Chicago Urban Art Society) have been pushing hard for progressive citywide support of the arts. They have met with numerous aldermen and are two of the most important ambassadors of art in the city of …

“All Forms of Rocking”: Meet Christopher Tavares Silva

Puerto Rican born and a resident of Chicago since 1983, Christopher Tavares Silva has been a long-time contributor to the Chicago art community. After living in Puerto Rico for the past few years, Silva has made a recent return and planted new roots in his lifelong city.  Silva’s career as an artist began with the influence and then eventual practice of graffiti writing and street art. He received a ‘traditional’ fine art education at the American Academy of Art where he constantly pursued artistic and personal development. Neither of Silva’s art practices—be it the more traditional studio works or his public works—are separate from one another. Instead, (in a way) they coexist, which makes Silva’s work incredibly accessible and interesting to a rather extensive and varied audience. Silva works fluidly where everything is symbiotic and universal to a certain degree. By pulling artistic inspiration from urban city influences and simple humanisms, Silva is able to stay true to his artistic mission. Silva is revered for his extensive list of mural and public art commissions in …

A Mayoral Engagement: What Does Art in Chicago Mean to You?

It is a Mayoral Engagement at The Chicago Urban Art Society. Join SIFC at Chicago Urban Art Society (CUAS) this Friday February 11th, 2011 for the Mayoral Meet and Greet for the Arts! SIFC will be asking, “What Does Art in Chicago Mean to You?” This is a great opportunity to engage in conversation and dialogue with other arts-minded people, local arts organizations, artists and arts educators. All mayoral candidates have been personally invited! On Friday, we are turning the SIFC photobooth into a videobooth confessional and asking one question all night long, “What does art in Chicago mean to you?” Help CUAS and the rest of Chicago’s art advocates in this extra campaign effort get ART elected!

Abraham Ritchie: One Piece of the Pie

MEET ABRAHAM RITCHIE, CONTEMPORARY ART CRITIC IN CHICAGO A few weeks ago Abraham Ritchie set an hour aside during his lunch break at the Art Institute (in the Manet room) to sit and talk about his career as a contemporary art critic in Chicago. Abraham elaborated on how he established his career as an art critic and what his role as a contemporary art critic should be. Moreover, he provided an incredibly coherent, sincere and well-informed perspective about the condition of art in Chicago and some solutions that may help remedy some of the shortcomings that art has had in Chicago over the last few years. Abraham Ritchie is unapologetic and speaks eloquently about his critical opinions. Perhaps this is the reason why his writing is well received. Below is the shortened version of a larger transcript from the interview. Because of the depth and breadth of the interview each segment is categorized with a broad heading instead of the original questions. INTRODUCTION My name is Abraham Ritchie I am the senior editor for ArtSlant …

On Chicago Street Art: Community

Part I: Chicago street artist Blutt talks about his work and experiences living as a street artist in Chicago. Blutt: The name I use for my artwork is Blutt. I live in Chicago and grew up around the Midwest and just kind of based on the stuff I grew up with like the music and skateboarding and graffiti and comic books. I do mostly nowadays stuff that is studio work paintings and drawings but I also have stickers and posters that I put up on the street. That stuff is mostly prints and reproductions that are pretty cheap and I can put them out there when I am out and about doing whatever. It seems to work pretty well when I can quickly throw stuff up and people see it and recognize it and tend to like it for the most part. Sometimes a few people tear it down but I like that too. When did you decide to start creating street art? Blutt: I kind of made a concerted effort to do that probably …

Underneath the Surface: Jaime Lynn Henderson

Chicago-based artist and designer, Jaime Lynn Henderson is one of seven participants in the Chicago Artists’ Coalition residency program at the Merchandise Mart. Since October, these artists have been working regularly in the space experiencing incredible artistic growth. Miss Henderson discusses her art making process. Henderson describes how the artwork she creates is a balance of both complex and simple interwoven layers of personal interests and heavy cultural references.

Girl, Please: Looking Forward

Girl, Please is an exhibition that attempts to push the boundaries and blurred lines of contemporary social politics relating to gender and sexual identity. Situated in the lower level of Woman Made Gallery, Emanuel Aguilar and Kristen Carter (jurors and curators) selected a body of art work based not only on aesthetic qualities and the nature of the work but also arranged the layout in such a way to create a specific relationship to potentially ignite critical conversation. This exhibition is one of few focusing on this theme that effectively attempts to eloquently add and synonymously strip away the standard. And instead, focus on a new way to think critically.

Chad Kouri & The Post Family

I met with Chad Kouri at his home studio and during our session he discussed the path and progress of the The Post Family. They are stepping into their fourth year and not your ordinary group of artists working-in-a- studio-space type of deal. These folk look at art communities as a way to inspire each other and expand on their own art making. It is all give give for them. On The Post Family website they share what interests and inspires them with featured articles about artist studio visits, design related news, how technology effects the arts and really anything that is super cool. The studio space is multi-functional and an incubator for creativity. In the coming months we will have interviews with the rest of the group along with highlights from their spring programming. Chad Kouri and The Post Family from Nicolette Caldwell on Vimeo. _ Featured Image taken from Foursquare. 

Nothing Is Wasted: Alexandra Lee

The Chicago Art Coalition has offered an artist residency at a space provided in the Merchandise Mart. Six artists have been brought together all coming from different backgrounds bringing forth a variety of styles and experiences. Alexandra Lee is the second artist I spoke with and we discussed how her art making process has adapted and expanded since she began working in the Merchandise Mart space. Nicolette Caldwell: What has this residency been like for you and how has it helped your work progress? Alexandra Lee: I have been working in this residency for six months. We are going to get renewed for another six months. We were selected by the CAC as part of the pop-up gallery residency thing. Normally I don’t really work on paper but I think this is a great opportunity for me to create a body of work that is more physical because usually I work in digital media and performance. And working in this space my goal is to incorporate things I already have and things that I can …

The Conversation Continues with Artist Mark Moleski

The best feeling for me is when something comes full circle – especially when it involves art. Mark and I first met when I helped coordinate the 2009 BFA show at Columbia College. Mark was one of the graduating fine artists in the show. As a matter of fact he was also one of the first artists I had ever done a studio visit with. The work of Mark Moleski was progressing amazingly then and it so great to be able to continue the conversation we started a little over two years ago about the same body of work and where it is now. As the residency continues I have been meeting and speaking with the participating artists to learn more about their experiences and document the space and their work on the SIFC Chicago website. Below is a transcript of an interview/conversation between Mark Moleski and myself.   Nicolette Caldwell: Can you explain a little bit about the residency? Mark Moleski: This is an artist residency of six artists that are working in the …

Just Scratching the Surface: Lisa Goesling

Lisa Goesling, another artist in the Chicago Artist Coalition residency program, has managed to literally create new meaning pertaining to how art fits into her life and career. Her seemingly microscopic scratchboards illustrate a variety of flowers and plant life that contrast equally the negative and positive black and white space. She illustrates such fragile and delicate images with such an abrasive technique. We had a short conversation and Lisa mentioned to me how the residency opportunity has given her the opportunity to really explore her artistic talent in a new direction. After listening to what Lisa had to say I now realize that it truly is amazing how art affects individuals differently. “I am an artist here and I am one of the lucky people to get to walk up to the Merchandise Mart every day and walk to the art space and be able to create. I feel unbelievably grateful to have this opportunity it came on the heals of my having cancer. That is how I started with the medium I use, …

Step Inside: Beer Run Gallery NOW as in TONIGHT!!!

Tonight the Beer Run Gallery is having one last hoorah and selling an entire gallery of art work before it closes forever. Miami might be calling artist Jova el Graffista but you have an opportunity to keep a part of him here existentially in Chicago all for an affordable price. Jova el Grafista did a site-specific installation at a show I co-curated, so I definitely have a place reserved in my home to be reminded everyday of why I do the things I do and why I love art as much as I do. “Step Inside” ***Art Exhibit Art Sale*** 7p – 12a The Beer Run Gallery 1104 W. 18th Street Chicago, IL 60608 You can buy similar work by Jova el Grafista (like the examples below) at the Beer Run Gallery TONIGHT!!!

In Chicago, Art Advocacy Grows

Why leave vacant public retail space empty – then no one can enjoy it. Instead, why not put these spaces to better use reflecting something other than a corporate commercial agenda? We art advocates are aware of the artistic vibrancy in Chicago. The Chicago Loop Alliance is too, which is why they started the Pop-Up Art Loop initiative. Pop-Up Art Loop takes over empty store fronts all over the downtown Chicago area. For the past year they have filled a number of spaces with strong art exhibits showcasing Chicago-based artists like Christophe Roberts and Ed Paschke. Want to know what happens when Damien Hirst meets Shepard Fairey? Better check out the next Pop-Up Art Loop space this Thursday, October 7th. Innovative art spaces taking over Chicago is not a trend. Alternative art spaces have existed for many decades. This must be a sign of the times because art communities, organizational initiatives and alternative programming are growing almost innumerably in the most depressing financial situation that the city of Chicago has faced in a long time. Speaking of ‘time’, the Merchandise Mart  and all its …

Unleash the lease. Torluemke and Soto

Joshua Ginsberg owner and founder of Chicago Art Leasing LLC discussed with me why he thinks leasing art is a great way to support artists aside from selling artwork outright, “it takes the hassle out of the art buying process because the 300+ artists on our roster gives an eclectic mix of art that you won’t always find in most commercial galleries and we offer a varied price range depending on the clients needs ,” says Ginsberg. Artwork by Josh Garrett, Shane Swank, Beatriz Ledezma, and Jori Foreman are only four examples of the 300+ artists on Chicago Art Leasing’s roster. Read the entire interview transcribed when the SIFC Archive launches on October 30th, 2010. Tom Torluemke brings a whole new meaning to “Exhibition”, really. Check out the amazingly prolific showcase of Torluemke’s work entitled, “The Exhibitionist” at the Co-Prosperity Sphere. Stay tuned for the audio excerpt of our discussion when we fully launch in October. The opening of Homily at the ebersmoore space not only features solo work by Edra Soto but you will also find work by Carmen …

Hey, We Are All Beginners Here!

Roots and Culture hosted a new exhibition about oral, performative, written and visual communication entitled, Hey, We Are All Beginners Here! Line, Color, Form, Nutrients, and Affection, presented by StopGoStop also known as The Network of Crowded Art. We Are All Beginners Here! is described by StopGoStop as, “… a multi-headed hydra, a trans-temporal, trans-spatial, trans-disciplinary exhibition (a big show!) of mutating, mutable work by a cast of talented marginal characters.” As I walked around and took photographs of the show I came across an illustration and read this quote from it, “Actually, everybody’s a dragon, but current conditions discourage and disallow us to express those sinuous traits.” It really resonated with me and I happen to come to find some truth in this statement. I often evaluate the worth and weight of my degree. After spending a moment thinking about the mortgage I took on for a degree in Art History I realize I am not alone in the pursuit of a meaningful and valid career in the arts. It is funny, free knowledge is available at our fingertips if we choose …

Not your average art studio

I’ll Cut You – but not really though. This is the name of a hair salon I stumbled into while wandering around the Flat Iron studios. I was already overwhelmed with all the studios I visited from First Fridays and the Art on Track opening reception so trying to figure out what I wanted to mention in the SIFC blog didn’t come easy. Thankfully, this studio just kept on picking at my brain all week. Originally, I was just going to post a few photographs but I just could not resist. Yes, I know this is not your typical topic to highlight on an art blog but trust me this one is exceptional and October is over a month away. Everyone needs to know about I’ll Cut You because people need their hair cut and art needs to be sold. A little about Vladmir,  he is a hair stylist who has worked in the field for about twenty years and truly gives a mean cut. All hair products are made exclusively by Vladmir except for his …