Monday, March 23, 2009

CRO's Officially Unofficial: Inspired Art for Obama


An exhibition of prints, posters, photographs, and videos that emerged in 2008 as icons of the art movement in support of Barack Obama for President.

Curated by Chicago designer Scott Thomas, former Design Director of the Obama Campaign; Chicago artist Ray Noland; and Nathan Mason, Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs.

Featuring official Obama ’08 campaign materials as well as independent work by more than 100 artists and designers including Ray Noland’s “GoTellMama!” poster series, Shepard Fairey’s now iconic “Hope” poster, and Sol Sender’s Obama ‘08 logo and branding.

This exhibition is made possible with support from Ken Harman/Obama Art Report and Hal Elliott Wert/Kansas City Art Institute.

April 1 - May 31 Monday - Saturday, 10AM to 6PM and Sunday, 10AM to 5PMFREE

Tuesday, March 31VIP & Press Preview, 6PM – 9PM
Live: The GENT$, Shala & Rachel Katzman
With DJs: Million$Mano, DIZRSVP Required, visit

Gallery Talk:Ray Noland - April 16th, Scott Thomas - May 28

Chicago Tourism Center
72 E. Randolph Street
(across from the Chicago Cultural Center)

Officially Unofficial Artists:Aaron Allen, Aaron Amaro, Aaron Foster, Aaron Meshon, Above, Alex Fine, Alex Fuller, Alex Pardee, Alex Ross, Antar Dayal, BASK, Benjamin Kuhn, Brian Flynn, Burlesque of North America, Caleb Kozlowski, Chad Mize & Phillip Clark, Chuck Anderson, Cody Hudson, Coufal Family, Dan Lacey, David Carson, David Choe, David Turnley, Dawoud Bey, Delicious Design League, Eddie, EMEK, Felix Jackson, Gui Borchert, Hand-Cranked, Ian Malard, James O'Brien, James Widener/Snuffhouse, Jonathan Hoefler, Jorge Rodriguez Gerada, Julian Norman, Lance Wyman, Lowell Thompson, Mac, Manick Sorcar, Mario Terero, Max Estes, Mear One, Michael Beirut, Micheal Genovese, Mickalene Thomas, Mike Jacobs, Morning Breath, Munk One, Patrick Moberg, Paula Scher, Rafael Lopez, Ray Noland/CRO, Rebecca Berdel, Rene Garcia, Robbie Conal, Robert Indiana, Ron English, Sam Brown, Sam Flores, Sarah Hoskins, Scot Lefavor, Scott Hansen/ISO50, Shana Berry, Shannon Moore, Shepard Fairey/OBEY, Sol Sender, Sonya Fridman, The Date Farmers, Tom Slaughter, Tony Puryear, Tristan Eaton, Tyler Gibney/HVW8, Wes Winship, Yee-Haw Industries, Zoltron

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Bear Gorilla

You know how sometimes you are joking around with your friends and you keep getting sillier and sillier? That is when the best ideas come out. Take Bear Gorilla, for example. BG has the head of a bear, the body of a gorilla, Marilyn Monroe's hair, and roller skates. BG originally came from me mishearing "Bear Grills", who apparently has a survivalist TV show. I was standing on the bank of a stream and my friend Jessica pointed to a maggot in the stream and said "Bear Grills would eat that." We decided that BG was the daughter of our friend Hugh, who then said, "she's big and hairy, but I love her." And thus Bear Gorilla was born.

Needless to say, BG is much cooler than Bear Grills and would serve as a good derby mascot. I am in the process of creating the design, in my typical fashion, by taking existing images; cutting, resizing, and reorienting them; and then rendering the photocomposite into a more simplified image for printmaking.

My style of graphic design comes from years of decoupaging stuff- I once made a table with an image on the top where Raquel Welch and Shaft got married. She had a Mondrian body, which was very satisfying for me. She was also holding an alligator by the tail, because that is how I roll. Graphic design allows me to take decoupage into an environment where I don't have to find things that are the perfect size or perspective, because I can make them perfect. And I can deal with inconsistencies in texture or color by knocking them out into a rendering with a halftone or some other technique. I also get to take my idea and put it into a printmaking format so that I can do DIY mass-production with all of the imperfections of a handmade item.

I think people who criticize art nowadays as being heavily graphic have a a point. Sure the relentless photorealism and heavy use of fonts can get kind of old and can make everything look like advertising. But graphic techniques allow artists to create new production mechanisms that result in totally fresh work. I have nothing against drawing- I have a pretty good hand- but my medium is graphic decoupage. I like finding images and then challenging myself to make them work together. Extra points if the result is funny and innocently fierce. This is what I like to do, and I think it's pretty rad. I also like that anyone nowadays can mass-produce their work and share it with others, either through physical pieces or through images on the internets. It may not be the highest of high art, but it is very democratic and viral.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Adopt-A-Pet in Dog's Life

The Spring 2009 issue of Dog's Life magazine features the good work of Adopt-A-Pet, the Shepard Fairey image created for the organization, and the upcoming art show in Los Angeles.

I am really excited about the organization, which, as the magazine says, "helps shelters, humane societies, SPCAs, pet rescue groups, and pet adoption agencies advertise their homeless pets to adopters for free. Over 1,500,000 unique visitors a month search by zip code and other preferences to see photos and descriptions of pets for adoption in their area."

I am also excited because I am putting a piece together for the show!!! And because Ron English will also be creating a piece for the show!!! If you are not familiar with Ron's work, he is the mastermind behind Popaganda and the artist who created "Abraham Obama", a painting with Abraham Lincoln's head and Obama's face. I have a silkscreen of the design that was released by Upper Playground and also bought a larger version at the Manifest Hope show that was done in Diamond Dust by Richard Sheridan, who used to make diamond dust prints for Andy Warhol. I am just blabbing on and on at this point, but needless to say this show is going to be ridiculously cool.