Note from the editor: I know we here at Vandalog tend to neglect all the great things going on on the streets of Chicago, but hopefully this guest post by Terry Cartlon starts to make up for that. Terry visited Paint, Paste, Sticker, a show of work by street artists active in Chicago at the Chicago Cultural Center. – RJ Rushmore
With all the Banksyness happening across New York’s five boroughs this month, it’s difficult to focus on any other art happenings in any other part of the world. Unfortunately here in Chicago, we’re used to doing our thing in The Big Onion only to finish second to The Big Apple. Fortunately, when you’ve got Chicago’s heaviest of hitters gathered at the cultural center for a lesson in Chicago street art, it helps soften the blow from the international spectacle occurring in that first city.
The architectural gem that is The Chicago Cultural Center houses something for The Second City to be proud of: Paint, Paste, Sticker encompasses quite the retrospective of Chicago street art history in one impressive room. Past, present, and future are all represented…and represented well.
Coming up the stairs or exiting the elevator on the fourth floor, attendees get greeted by Matthew Hoffman‘s worldwide wonder You Are Beautiful stone slab and Zore‘s Sheltered Bombing, a painted CTA bus shelter worth the time it takes to get downtown alone. Once inside, pieces from Slang, Don’t Fret, Nice One, Stefskills, C3PO, Kane One, and Radah flank the walls with collections from Galerie F and their Logan Square Mural Project ricocheting ideas and possibility in the city. Paint, Paste, Sticker takes us far north for the Rogers Park Participatory Budgeting project, down south for the South Shore Art Festival, and to the 25th Ward for Alderman Danny Solis’, Pawn Works‘, and Chicago Urban Art Society‘s Art in Public Places initiative. All three of these excellent projects have taken Chicago street art to the next level over the past year while showcasing international and local legends on the exterior walls in an attempt to put Chicago in the rightful spotlight.
Hebru Brantley shows off his prolific significance, Tselone and Jeff Zimmerman input their importance to the movement, and Ruben Aguirre’s masterful stylistics are on display in full harmony with Secret Sticker Club’s underrated sticker presence that is prevalent throughout Chicago.
The artistic talent in Chicago is undoubtedly the most underappreciated in the country, and this event has the potential to create the necessary influx/outflux relationship for artists to get the recognition they deserve. Seeing a large scale collection of accomplishments on display like this really puts it in perspective, and the excitement that this exhibition should ignite is what it’s all about. Chicagoans are some of the most precisely knowledgeable and honestly humble artists in the game with some of the highest standards for street art and graffiti you’ll ever see. Lucky for show-goers, those standards are put into action for everything on display.
Paint, Paste, Sticker does a thorough job of representing the who’s who and what’s what of the Chicago street art scene—a scene made up of interdisciplinary, intergenerational artists who transcend time, space, race, and class. If you miss this exhibit, you should kick your own ass…
Photos by Terry Carlton