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Chicago Artists + Patron Tequila = A “Simply Perfect” Art Project

Artist Jolanta Izabela Pawlak is seen at the Patron “Simply Perfect” Art Project Holiday Windows event on Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2011 in Chicago. (Peter Barreras/AP Images for Patron)

This holiday season window shopping will be taking a different approach as vacant store fronts transform into working art studios and galleries for local artists. Titled the “Simply Perfect” Art Project, Patrón Tequila teamed up with artists in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco to benefit local art organizations. “These live art studios offer a unique opportunity for emerging artists to showcase their work to a much larger audience. At the same time, we hope to enhance the holiday season by bringing people the experience of artistic creation,” said Jennifer Long, Patrón brand director. “We are thrilled to promote fresh talent and, with their help, enrich the local community. Their generosity of time and talent is a simply perfect gift to their cities, and we’re proud to amplify it.”

For the project each artist has one week to create an original piece inspired by their interpretation of Patrón’s “Simply Perfect” brand tag. Subsequently, these works will be available online for bid at with all the proceeds benefiting local art organizations. The participating artists are also in competition to receive the highest bid on their work, with the result being national exposure in a printed advertisement for Patrón in 2012.

In Chicago the resulting works of seven local artists working with the Patrón “Simply Perfect” Art Project will benefit the Chicago Artists’ Coalition. The participating artists include Richard Shipps, Jolanta Izabela Pawlak, Cydney M. Lewis, Alexandra Lee, Mark Moleski, Shawn Stucky, and Stephen Flemister. I was fortunate enough to be able to exchange a conversation about the project with two of the artists , Mark Moleski and Shawn Stucky. Currently, Chicago Artist Mark Moleski is transforming the store-front space, while Shawn Stucky will try his hand starting on December 20th.

Professionally creating art in Chicago over the past seven years, Mark Moleski became involved in the “Simply Perfect” Art Project through the Chicago Artists Coalition. “They [CAC] were contacted through Pearl Media, LLC and Patrón Tequila. Chicago Artist Coalition then selected myself and six other artists for the “Simply Perfect” project to represent CAC”. In preparation for working within the store-front, Mark “created a backdrop for the studio space that includes linoleum wood cut prints” that he intends to use in his actual piece.

I asked Mark if his involvement in the project was straying from his usual process of art-making, he told me “I like to work on multiple pieces at a time, so this concentrated effort on a single piece seems unique. I also have the stimulation of my studio mates, which is not the case here. I am working solo, yet I am not alone.”

When I asked Mark if working in this sort of a space was a challenge, he replied “I wouldn’t say it has been a challenge, but it definitely adds an interesting element to have people watch me create. Mostly I find myself in a zone, and forget that I am in the window. However, when someone offers me their time, I am amazed how well we can communicate with very few words. I’ve developed a bit of a skill reading lips and eyes.” And as for following the Patrón “Simply Perfect” mantra, the theme for Mark’s project is “To Give of Yourself”.

Starting tomorrow, December 20th, Chicago artist Shawn Stucky will take over the store-front space to create his piece for the Patrón “Simply Perfect” project. Shawn began making art “accidentally” in 2006, having studied graphic design with the intent to be a creative direction. “But as fate would have it I starting digitally designing artwork for fun late one evening and I created my first piece called ‘May this be Love’ I was very excited by my unexpected discovery that I could create something so beautiful”.

Like Mark Moleski, Shawn Stucky was approached by the Chicago Artists Coalition to participate in the project. Shawn has spent the past six weeks preparing both visually and digitally, “a process I am not accustomed to doing”. “I’m sure in the end I will have spent more time preparing myself and my work in my studio then I will spend creating it in the space”. Already having an image in mind for his piece with the working title, “I Want to Reach Out and Touch the Sky”, over the next five days the window-scape will yet again reform.

So this week, check out the transforming storefront on 50 East Chicago Avenue, between North Wabash and North Rush Street. Mark Moleski’s final workday is today, December 19th, from 4 until 11 pm. See the slide-slow of Mark’s progress below – beautiful photos taken by Sophia Nahli, a SIFC photgrapher! Shawn Stucky’s workdays are from December 20th to the 25th. The studio is active afternoons and evenings, Wednesdays through Sundays. But at inactive times, the art will be on display in the window-scape with a video screen showing the progression of collection of works. If you like what you see, show your support for local artists and art organizations with a holiday spirit and bid on some works at Happy Holidays!

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