A conversation with Tom Billings: A Chicago OG

Specialists in gig posters, art prints, and street art. | 2415 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL

A conversation with Tom Billings: A Chicago OG

by Maya Ormsby

I’m standing behind Galerie F with Tom Billings where he’s examining a teepee covered in snow.  He thinks it’d be a good place to party.  For a moment, I’m convinced he might jump in; for a moment I consider following him.  Instead, he’s wandered off into the alley where he’s spotted a mural painted by local street artists: Mosher and Sentrock.  There’s a nod and a smile.  He’s happy to be back in Chicago.

 

After spending the mid-80’s to early 90’s in Chicago’s Wicker Park, Billings moved to Williamsburg where he spent his time in the New York art scene. “All of a sudden I was thrown in to more worldwide art—I met people from Hungary, Japan, China.  I went from being pretty well known in Chicago, to going to New York and I was suddenly a minnow in an ocean,” he explained of the experience.  Three years ago, Billings returned to Chicago from which his most recent work emerged.

 

In his upcoming show, Billings’s tone of play and humor remains.  In a homage to Matthew Hoffman, a mixed-media triptych titled, You are Ugly, features a large skull painted with silkscreened buildings as a set of eyes.  The silkscreened building motif shows up again in a separate piece on smaller, individual wood panels.  In Narcotic Chicken, the Pollo Loco chicken stands defiantly goading the viewer, as if to guard its shack.  And in the The Glorious Leader, a silkscreened Bob’s Big Boy with flamed-colored hair looms large edging a jump into a technicolor world.  In addition, will be parts of Billings’s mask collection, in metal and experimental ceramics.

 

“What I enjoy about Tom is that he’s a fringe artist.  He’s not one to conform.  Nothing is precious in his work,” says Billy Craven who will be curating Billings’s show at Galerie F.

 

Despite the theme of irreverence—social responsibility through civil disobedience—present within his work, there is a genuine sense of fidelity stapled in his craft.  Billings was never formally trained, although both his parents attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.   He chose instead, to learn through experience, apprenticing several times throughout his career with printmakers, potters and painters; once with the Zhou Brothers.  When I mention this leaning toward discipline, he humbly replies, “You wouldn’t know it from looking at me.”

 

In person, Billings is kind and good-natured, his opinions seem muted with thought, not much controversy.  In fact, what Billings seems to enjoy most about his work is the camaraderie he’s shared with other artists.  “There are so many great artists in Chicago. Right now, I’m really invigorated and excited about all these artists I’ve been meeting over the years—and the younger artists—the vitality of that.”  Or more simply, “Artists are fun.”

 

Like many artists, Billings is a natural storyteller.  His most notable being of his father, who was an ad man in the 1950’s with Leo Burnett.  It was here that his father created the Marlboro Man.  The humor in this vignette doesn’t seem lost: Rebel-rebel, artist-son, cigarette in hand, in the cadence of Tom Waits and the weather of Iggy Pop; you know he’s lived and you’re longing to hear his stories; follow him right into the teepee.

 

Tom Billings’s collection: After the First Stroke, Everything is a Correction will be on view at Galerie F, Feb. 23-26.

 

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Holiday Happiness & New Year Newness

Thanks to our near neighbors and far-away friends for a stellar 2017! Even if the world at large may not have panned out quite how we all imagined — all of us at Galerie F are grateful for the support, talent and friendship that make this space a beloved local destination for out-of-this-world art. We’re looking forward to 2018: a year of exciting new shows & works as well as breathing new life into old favorites. We’re opening the year with Restless II: Skate Art by Vandals and Visionaries on Friday, January 26th from 6–10PM. Stay tuned with us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for more details.

HOLIDAY HOURS

Christmas Eve [December 24th] — CLOSED
Christmas Day [December 25th] — CLOSED
New Year’s Eve [December 31st] — CLOSED
New Year’s Day [January 1st] — CLOSED

NEW YEAR : NEW HOURS

In 2018 Galerie F will be closed every Tuesday and Wednesday.
We’ll be open Thursday – Monday 11A to 6P.
Not sure if we’re open? Just give us a call 872.817.7067.

CHECK OUT 2017 EXHIBITIONS

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Welcome to the Next Level

WE’RE MOVING

Logan Square welcomed Galerie F to Milwaukee Ave in July of 2012. We’ve spent the last four years with open doors providing accessible artwork thanks to our supportive and art-hungry community. It is really with perfect timing that we relocate to this new space — only a block away— with new goals in mind in time for the new year. If you have any questions, you can always reach us by email (hello@galerief.com) — our phone will be down for a couple of days. We really appreciate your patience during this hectic time! Below you will find our Holiday and moving hours as well as a bit about the gallery’s move.

 

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OUR HOLIDAY AND MOVING HOURS

We will remain at 2381 N Milwaukee Ave until our current Exhibition, Familiar Faces, closes on December 24, 2016.

“OLD” SPACE HOURS
Until December 23: Tuesday – Sunday | 11A – 6PM
December 24: Saturday | 11A – 3PM

MOVING CLOSURE NOTICE
December 25 – January 6
During this time, we will be having an online sale of 30% our entire inventory, excluding frames!

“NEW” SPACE HOURS
Soft open on January 6: Tuesday – Sunday | 11A – 6PM | Regular Business Hours
First Exhibition Opening: “7” on Friday, January 13 | 6PM – 10PM
Details about this exhibition are on our Facebook Event Page. Stop by on the 13th and check out our new space with some complementary beverages from Revolution Brewery!

 

ABOUT THE GALLERY

The team at Galerie F is working on refocusing the mission to the dreams the gallery was founded on at its inception. Determined to nurture and develop emerging artists, you’ll be sure to see more intimate and meaningful solo shows as well as a myriad of new Galerie F curated murals not just in Logan Square but all over our fine city of Chicago. We’ve had the pleasure of working with local legends like JC Rivera and Mosher and we’re so thrilled to officially welcome Sentrock to our gallery in 2017 as one of our featured artists.

The success of this space is owed to our supportive community, both for the beloved street artists who bring color to our everyday as well as print-makers, whether they are our neighbors or international icons hailing from the far and wide. Printmaking as an art form has truly built the reputation of Galerie F as a Logan Square go-to for uniquely delightful yet affordable artwork. With the new year, we intend to expand our printmaking network in order to better support the diverse array of makers that fill our gallery. In the past couple of months, we’ve enjoyed the talents and successes of new local printer relationships including working with Delicious Design League and Arghrist Prints.

Keep up with our move and the new face of Galerie F on our Facebook and our Instagram. For the curious, below are some shots of our new space pre-move in. If you check out the space in person right now, you’ll see a glorious Mosher mural! This piece is coming down as soon as we open, so don’t miss it!

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CULTIVATE YOUR ART COLLECTION WITH HIGH PHI: NEW AND ORIGINAL WORKS FROM RENOWNED ROCK POSTER ARTIST JIM POLLOCK

September 23, 2016 – Tonight we open the most intimate show of the year here at Galerie F. Our last encounter with Jim Pollock’s iconic art wasn’t too long ago. Back in June we hosted his 30-Year Retrospective that resulted in an extraordinary turn out. No one could have anticipated the excitement felt as collectors and fans lined up down the block the night before the exhibition opening. It was truly astonishing to see so much work from 30 years worth of archival material in our space. We were positively overwhelmed with the turnout and have only just begun recovering from the many orders and inquiries following the show.

Foo Dog by Jim Pollock

Food Dog by Jim Pollock

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pollock has often been referred to as one of the most quirky, influential, and highly collectible rock poster artists of the past thirty years. He is well known for creating artwork for bands such as Phish, Umphrey’s McGee, The Disco Biscuits, and more. As his 30 Year Retrospective exhibition has proven, Pollock has achieved tremendous success with this body of work.

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The work included in HIGH PHI represents the beginning of a new phase of Pollock’s career by focusing on a set of issues very dear to the artist. Pollock has long been deeply committed to the legalization of marijuana as well as hemp as a valuable commodity. HIGH PHI, as an exhibition, highlights this aspect of Pollock’s artistic activism.

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Importantly, HIGH PHI is a starting point for a much bigger project. Pollock is asking those who view his work to reconsider their presuppositions regarding marijuana and its connection to visual art. His aim is to aid viewers in rethinking their approach to a commodity that is often considered in purely illegal and unethical terms. Part of this process is to reframe the experience of buying marijuana at a dispensary. Pollock hopes that HIGH PHI can continue to evolve and be shown in more locations around the United States with the goal being that these artworks will make their way to both the homes of those behind the movement as well as the walls of dispensaries for a much larger public.

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The work featured in the exhibition is also invested in an exploratory look at the beautiful and intellectual intricacies of the controversial plant. The artist incorporates the ever complex theme of the elusive golden mean into his prints by thinking about the relationship between math and marijuana. Pollock remarks, “I was trying to incorporate the ratio of phi into every rendering. You can see it in the number of leaves, the angles at which the leaves protrude.”

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In addition to this, Pollock remarks that this collection of work is aimed at pushing his audience to remember that struggle for the legalization of marijuana continues:“I wanted to create art that pushes into the forefront something that should have been legalized years ago.”

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Also included in HIGH PHI are three Phish Hampton posters from Januray 2,3 & 4, 2003. These three diamond-shaped posters are very important to Pollock. They have lived in his studio space for over a decade witnessing his creative process and ever evolving work. The print set represents the turning point that HIGH PHI as a whole represents as Pollock continues to move towards a more emotional and activist centered artistic practice.

For press inquiries about HIGH PHI please contact: social@galerief.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

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New Street Art this Week in Logan Square

Summer is mural season. Many of the street artists that Galerie F works with are currently traveling all over the world painting these beloved large scale pieces. While murals are becoming a hot commodity for real estate agents (many are hiring street artists to paint their buildings to raise property values), it can still be hard for artists to find walls. Galerie F helps connect artists to potential clients asking for commissions and this summer is no different.
This week two artists, Andrew Ghrist and Migue, are painting murals right around the corner from Galerie F.  Ghrist is an exclusive artist at Galerie F, featured in our current show “Street Level,” and Migue is currently visiting the city from Puerto Rico. Below is a brief description of what they are working on, some photos, and information about what it’s like to create and negotiate these kinds of works.

 

Work in Progress Shot of Mural for The Number Project by Andrew Ghrist, photo courtesy of the artist

Work in Progress Shot of Mural for The Number Project by Andrew Ghrist

The Number Project is a company based in Logan Square that specializes in curating experiences. They have produced events for The Red Hot Chili Peppers and Will Ferrell among others. They are also producing two after-parties for Lollapalooza this year. Ghrist is currently painting a huge, incredibly detailed mural in their offices which already sport two murals by JC Rivera.

Andrew Ghrist working on his mural for The Number Project

Andrew Ghrist working on his mural for The Number Project

 

JC Rivera and Ghrist recently collaborated to create the extremely popular Flamingo mural in River North, pictured below.

 

Photo Courtesy of @whiskey.roulette

Photo Courtesy of @whiskey.roulette

 

Migue, an artist originally from Peru but now working in Puerto Rico, met JC Rivera at a Puerto Rican street festival in March that Rivera was participating in. Rivera invited Migue to Chicago to meet the staff of Galerie F and to paint a section of wall on Milwaukee and Medill Avenue. Migue works primarily as a tattoo artist with Juan Salgado in San Juan, but hopes to create more original paintings and murals.

 

Migue painting a mural on Milwaukee and Medill Avenue

Migue painting a mural on Milwaukee and Medill Avenue

Migue recently hosted a successful solo show at his studio in Puerto Rico and his large scale murals there are also gaining attention. When asked about the difference in experience between painting murals in the United States versus Puerto Rico, he said that rules about where you can paint are not as serious back home. In Puerto Rico he can paint everywhere and doesn’t necessarily need permission. It is much more acceptable to simply claim a wall and paint. In the United States, it is very important to have permission if you are going to be painting in a well known public space and those spaces can be hard to come by. The section of wall that Migue is painting this week in Chicago was secured in part by Galerie F.

Migue painting a mural on Milwaukee and Medill Avenue

Migue painting a mural on Milwaukee and Medill Avenue

 

Migue enjoys painting these large scale works because it offers the opportunity to travel the world and be in the streets among people who are simply enjoying the city. This summer Migue is travelling to Spain, Belgium, Bolivia, and Virginia. He has already worked with Jesse Smith a tattoo artist in Richmond, Virginia.

 

Make sure to check out the finished mural by Migue located around the corner from Galerie F on Milwaukee and Medill. If you are lucky you might pass by while he is working!
If you are a business or property owner who is interested in working with an artist on a street art/mural project, please stop by the gallery and let us know what you are thinking! We will keep you updated with more exciting projects throughout the city as the summer mural season continues.

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Jim Pollock: 30 Year Retrospective

Jim Pollock 30 Year Retrospective
LARGEST RETROSPECTIVE OF PHISH POSTER ARTIST JIM POLLOCK COMES TO CHICAGO

A thirty year retrospective of the art of Jim Pollock, one of the most quirky, influential and highly collectible rock poster artists of past century, will be showcased at Galerie F for two days only on June 24th and 25th.

This is good news for music fans, sports fans and art collectors alike. Jim Pollock’s unique linoleum printmaking style using largely 19th century techniques and whimsical themes have been the cornerstone artwork of the band Phish.  From his illustration of the band’s first album Junta to countless t-shirts, tickets, prints and concert posters, Pollock’s designs are instantly recognizable among Phish fans. Pollock’s posters, featured in The Art of Rock, have also been the choice of jam bands such as Umphrey’s McGee, The Disco Biscuits, Primus and music festivals such as Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, Summer Camp Music Festival, North Coast Music Festival10,000 Lakes Festival and more.  Many may also recognize Pollock’s iconic street art posters plastered across cities in support of Bernie Sanders…posted, that is, for the few minutes before collectors have snatched them up.

With Phish in Chicago for two sold out concerts at Wrigley Field, collectors can come be a part of history as Galerie F presents the largest retrospective exhibition ever assembled of Pollock’s posters, featuring over 500 original works by the artist and offering a pre-purchase poster release on Wednesday, June 15th featuring a new collectible poster that Chicago Cubs fans will not want to miss.

Details, including Friday’s exclusive Preferred Collector’s Preview and times to meet the artist, may be found at http://www.galerief.com/jim-pollock-30-year-retrospective/


UPDATE: 6/29/2016

Galerie F Pollock 30th
Galerie F would like to take this opportunity to personally thank the hundreds of Jim Pollock collectors who attended this past weekend’s 30 Year Retrospective.

The success of our 48 hour exhibition was absolutely tremendous and sent ripples of emotion through Jim, collectors and everyone here at Galerie F. It was the biggest exhibition we’ve ever hosted which showcased more work than any other show we’ve ever exhibited. We welcomed more attendees to an opening than ever before. We look forward to fulfilling your orders promptly and hope to see you at our exciting upcoming 2016/2017 exhibitions.

Due to the overwhelming response and success of our show we have hundreds of orders to fulfill including both existing Wrigley Field prints in addition to hundreds of additional works purchased at the gallery Friday and Saturday. In turn, our initially announced release of remaining works will be delayed while we carefully fulfill our existing orders and inventory remaining works.

We thank you for your patience and understanding while we tackle the tremendous tasks at hand and prepare our existing works to be released in the coming weeks.


UPDATE: 6/22/2016

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COLLECTORS PREVIEW INFORMATION (FRIDAY, JUNE 24 8AM-2PM)
Thank you for your interest in attending Jim Pollock’s 30 Year Retrospective. We look forward to your visit and strive to make your experience enjoyable in addition to making your checkout process as expedited as possible. With your help we trust we can welcome the anticipated collectors to preview the exhibition and make their purchases in an organized manner.

INVENTORY CATALOG
• A comprehensive catalog will be released on Thursday, June 23rd at 8PM CST – 12 hours before the doors open.
• This catalog will be available on Facebook and GalerieF.com
• We encourage you to review the works available to familiarize yourself with your potential purchases.

LINING UP TO ENTER THE GALLERY
• Please form an orderly line outside Galerie F as your schedule permits – doors open at 8AM.
• Numbered wristbands will be distributed in the order in which you enter the line.

ENTERING THE GALLERY
• We will be welcoming 75 collectors, along with their companions, into the gallery every 45 minutes.
• You will not have an opportunity to re-enter at any time so if you exit, you agree you have concluded your visit and are intent on leaving the gallery.

PURCHASING ART AT THE GALLERY
• Upon entry, you will have 30 minutes to peruse the collection, meet Jim and determine your purchase(s).
• 30 minutes after entering we will invite collectors to enter a numerical queue to complete their purchases.
• A large digital display will indicate the current number asked to begin the checkout process.
• If you are not prepared to make your purchase at the time your number is called, you will be ask to join the end of the line.
• Three collectors will be checked out at one time; three spaces will be outlined on the floor.
• Please enter one of these spaces when you are prepared to begin your checkout process once your number is displayed.
• A gallery host will kindly help you select your desired purchases.
• Please DO NOT remove any artwork from the walls or bins.
• A host will prepare your selected work(s) for your chosen delivery method: shipment or pick-up

PAYING FOR ART AT THE GALLERY
• Cash or Credit Card purchases only. PayPal invoices and checks will NOT be accepted.
• Payment plans with a 30% deposit are welcome on purchases of $500.00 or more.

OFFICIAL JIM POLLOCK ENAMEL PIN SETS (X3)
• If you are one the first 175 collectors to purchase more than $500.00 in pre-tax in-store purchases you will automatically receive an official Limited Edition (x250) Jim Pollock collectors enamel pin set of 3 unique pins produced in association with HoscoPress featuring Pollock’s classic (1) Walking Nose (2) Walking Mouth (3) Walking Ear.
• Pin Sets are limited to the first 175 Collectors who purchase $500.00 or more in pre-tax exhibition artwork throughout this special 2 day exhibition.
• There will be 50 Sets available in a similar manner during an online release of remaining works Wednesday, June 29, 2016.

NOT PURCHASING ARTWORK IN THE GALLERY?
• If you are not interested in purchasing additional artwork, you may enjoy the exhibition for the entire duration of your viewing and exit the through the rear of the gallery where you will also pick-up your Wrigley Field print(s) upon leaving.
• Once you exit the gallery your wristband will be removed and you will not be able to re-enter the gallery again until 2pm.
• Please exit the exhibition through the back door only – the front door will for entrance only.

RECEIVING PRE-PURCHASED WRIGLEY FIELD PRINT PLUS ADDITIONAL PURCHASED WORKS
• Your Wrigley Field print by Jim Pollock will be provided upon conclusion of your visit as you exit the gallery.
• If you have made a purchase of other artwork, a host will have prepared this additional purchase during the check-out process.
• You will be able to collect your Wrigley Field print(s) and any additional purchased work on your way out through the staging area in the rear of the gallery.
• Once you exit the gallery your wristband will be removed and you will not be able to re-enter the gallery again until 2pm.
• Please exit the exhibition through the back door only – the front door will be for entrance only.

CONCLUDING YOUR VISIT
• Once you exit the gallery, your wristband will be removed and you will not be able to re-enter the gallery again until 2PM.
• Please exit the exhibition through the back door only – the front door will be for entrance only.
• We can’t thank you enough for sharing your enthusiasm and support with us during this monumental Jim Pollock exhibition. We hope your experience with all of us here at Galerie F was thoughtful, pleasant and memorable.


UPDATE: 6/16/2016

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Thank you to all 1,026 fans of Jim Pollock’s Wrigley Field print for purchasing!

We look forward to seeing you at the 30 Year Retrospective exhibition Friday, June 24 – Saturday, June 25, 2016!

More information regarding how to pick-up your purchase at the exhibition, when our show catalog will be revealed, how to purchase exhibition works in our gallery PLUS a few surprises up our sleeve will be available Wednesday, June 22, 2016.


UPDATE: 6/16/2016

Jim Pollock Wrigley Field 2016

Thank you for your patience while Jim finished carving the final block of his Wrigley Field inspired print. We’re proud to release this image showcasing the final poster. It is a 19″x25″ hand-carved, signed and numbered limited edition print on French Paper created on Pollock’s Vandercook Press. Get yours before Friday, June 17th at 1:59pm CST!

MAKE YOUR PURCHASE HERE


UPDATE: 6/15/2016

The 48 hour timed release of Jim Pollock’s Wrigley Field inspired print is finally here. Don’t miss this drop!

MAKE YOUR PURCHASE HERE


UPDATE: 6/13/2016

We are offering a 48 Hour timed release of Jim Pollock’s Wrigley Field inspired print. The print will be $50.00 and will be available to purchase on Wednesday June 15th at 2pm CST and close on Friday June 17th at 1:59pm CST. The purchase link will be published at galerief.com at 2pm when the sale opens.

By purchasing this poster you will gain access to the Preferred Collector’s Preview. You may purchase up to three posters during the 48 hour online sale – however, each purchase only grants you one place in line. You may bring a guest along with you but they must have a $10 Companion Pass which can be purchased with the poster and a Companion Pass is limited to one per customer. A portion of the proceeds will benefit a local Chicago charity.

If you are interested in the poster but are unable to attend, we will gladly ship the poster! If you are attending the Preferred Collector’s Preview, you must be present and in line with ID to pick up your poster. The Preferred Collector’s Preview is from 8am-2pm on Friday, June 24th. General public admittance is from 2pm-6pm on the same day.  On Saturday, June 25th from 8am-6pm Galerie F will once again be opened to the public.

Remaining works from the show will be available for purchase online from Wednesday June 29th at 2pm CST on our site. There will be further updates on Galerie F’s site HERE or on our facebook event page.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What will be available for purchase?
Over 500 original works dating back to 1984. 30 years of drawings, sketches, rare posters and never before seen pieces.

When can I attend?
Fans interested in having the first opportunity to purchase works at the gallery will need to pre-purchase a poster online to enter the Preferred Collector’s Preview on Friday, June 24th from 8am-2pm. Your “ticket” is your purchase receipt of print available Wednesday, June 15th-Friday, June 17th. In order to enter the gallery on Friday, June 24th from 8am-2pm you will show your ID which we will match to your receipt. Fans may also attend from 2pm-6pm Friday, June 24th and/or Saturday, June 25th 8am-6pm when we’ll be open to the public for free. Friday from 8am-2pm is only for those that have purchased the timed-release print and are interested in receiving the first opportunity to acquire these rare, original works.

Friday, June 24th 8am – 2pm: Preferred Collector’s Preview; must pre-purchase poster online 6/15-6/17 to attend
Friday, June 24th 2pm-6pm: Open to the public; free
Saturday, June 25th 8am-6pm: Open to the public; free

Galerie F is located at 2381 N Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, IL 60647

When can I be guaranteed to meet the artist?
Jim will be at the gallery on Friday, June 24th from 8am-2pm and may make additional unscheduled appearances throughout the two day event.

Is there a limit to how many pieces I can purchase?
No.

Does the gallery accept payment plans?
Yes. We require 30% retainer to claim your work. Your remaining balance will be due upon delivery and may be made in installments.

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“Best Of” Chicago!

Reader 2016

The Reader is hosting its “Best Of” voting right now for our favorite city. We all love showing off Chicago and how well we know it through and through by sharing our local haunts with friends and travelers. Take a couple moments to vote for your favorites with The Chicago Reader! There’s lots of ballots and categories but make sure to stop by the “Arts & Culture Ballot” to give Galerie F a vote in the “Best Established Gallery” slot — let’s make it four straight years running! We appreciate your support and our artists do, too! Below are a couple other areas where you can help us support the artists we admire and follow. Which are your picks?

Arts & Culture Ballot
Best Established Gallery : Galerie F
Best Exhibition: Lucid Dreamscapes or You Are Beautiful
Best Street Artist: Jc Rivera or Mosher Show or Sentrock
Best Established Visual Artist: Jc Rivera or Mosher Show or Matthew Hoffman
Best New Visual Artist: Danny Sobor or Steven Luros Holliday

VOTE HERE BEFORE JUNE 9th!

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Matthew Hoffman (You Are Beautiful) Interview

It’s You Are beautiful 3.0 tomorrow evening (02/05/2016). It’s been a huge collaboration since we opened and our arms and minds are always open to whatever it’s custodian Matthew Hoffman is up for.

We thought it’d be a good idea to show you the man behind You Are Beautiful. He has a great story and is so inspiring to know. Hopefully it rubbed off on you reading this interview.

YAB3Photo by Paul Octavious
Hey Matthew, how are you today?
Pretty good!
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do
I always biff that answer. Recently when I was forced to do an introduction at a meeting I said “I make stickers, I don’t know.” and just trailed off from that. 
I think a lot of us struggle when talking about ourselves, it’s hard! But basically I’ve been making work since 2002 when I moved to Chicago. Back then, I would have never believed I’d be making artwork with a team, full time. It’s really a dream. 
Pretty sure I just wiggled out of giving a real answer…
I love the positive message of your art, where did your outlook come from?
It might be a surprise to the outside world, but for those that know me – I’m more of a realist than an optimist. Or even a positive pessimist. Hope for the best, plan for the worst. To be honest, life can be really hard & hit you with all sorts of unfair stuff. I’ve always made work to protest that, to be such a force of positivity, it’ll hopefully knock negativity on it’s ass.
I’ve kind of always seen this message as my protest song. I decided a long time ago that there’s enough negativity in this world, I’m not going to add to it.
YABYou Are Beautiful Sticker by Jenna Blazevich – @vichcraft
YAB has gone from strength to strength over the last few years, what have you been doing to grow this idea?
I really give all the credit to the community. I think the strength of the message is how open & inclusive it is. It’s for everyone and anyone (literally). There’s no demographic – everyone deserves to hear it. 
 
It also keeps going/giving every time someone shares a sticker. Someone sees a sticker, enjoys an interaction or a moment, looks up what it’s about, gets their own stickers, and the chain of positivity repeats. It’s a message people love to share.
I love how collaborative you are with your work. Seeing so many different interpretations of your message must fill you with pride. What gave you the idea to create these group shows?
It’s a funny story. We’ve always had a PO Box and email, where people send in photos of stickers they’ve come across. In 2004, I received an email from Jacob and his friends. They went to a bridge overpass in San Francisco with party streamers & spelled out You Are Beautiful. They sent me a copy of the Bay Area Paper, where it made the front page. I was blown away.
 
It’s really cool to see how people add their voice to the message, and see what their interpretation is. Things always happen with collaboration that you could have never done on your own.
Designers and Artists have been at war for thousands of years yet you seem to successfully have a foot in both camps, what s your opinion of this? Do you consider yourself one or the other?
Why can’t we all just get along? I say that light heartedly, and also rather seriously. I just call myself a custodian of the project. I just keep the lights on and the floors clean. 
What side do you prefer? The everyday Clark Kent, fighting design crime one letterhead at a time or the Artist Superman, making the art world a safer place?
I prefer to work with people that are inspiring & engaging, simply put – just good people. And I prefer to do things that make me laugh out loud. I love a good prank, or “dad jokes”. So, whatever arena it’s in – that’s what I look for. (The good people thing, not necessarily dad jokes).
 
I also think more and more, things are going to blend so deeply in the future, it’ll be even harder to pick out differences. Some day, hopefully we can all be seen as humans – better yet, all equal humans.
YAB2You Are Beautiful by JC Rivera – @jcrivera
What do relationships with galleries mean to You Are Beautiful?
I’d say, pretty much the same thing as the answer above. Great people growing together, having fun, and helping each other to carve out a living. Knowing that it’s a two way street, and you’re both doing each other a favor.
 
Billy & Zissou are just great guys. They’re highly proficient artists in their own right, and are working hard to foster a community of artists & designers (young humans). They’re doing a good thing for the right reason. 
 
That might not be able to be said as the intention for all galleries or people. 
You have been participating in craft fairs recently, how effective are the fairs in growing your brand awareness?
We get so many people who excitedly rush up to the booth, and say “I’ve seen these stickers everywhere. What is this about?” It gives us a moment to talk about it. We chat about the history (100 sticker in 2002 in Chicago, to now 2.5 million stickers in 90+ languages around the globe. Large scale installations in Chicago & beyond, etc.) 
 
But I prefer to just say “How did you feel when you saw it? That’s what it’s about.”
What are your plans for the future? More YAB? More positive messages for your fellow Chicagoans?
You bet. We’re always working on making more public art. That’s my favorite thing. To put up a big piece, that says something powerful, and anyone can walk by it. Who knows what’ll happen next – but hopefully it makes their day a little better.
 
But I’m always trying to keep it fresh, reinvent & find unexpected ways to interact with people. They’re not content, and I’m not content to just do the same thing all the time. So I’ll keep experimenting, and find ways to keep me & others laughing.
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Dan Mumford Interview

 wonders 2The Temple Of Artemis At Ephesus – Dan Mumford

This Friday sees the opening of our latest exhibition. Wonders showcases the incredible talents of British artist Dan Mumford & Chicago favourite Andrew Ghrist and is based around the seven wonders of the world, both modern and ancient. Wonders is open from 10-6 on Friday 11th December 2015 until Sunday 3rd January 2016.

 wonders3The Lighthouse Of Alexandria – Dan Mumford
We sat down with Dan Mumford to ask him a few questions about the show and beyond, check it out below.
 wondersThe Statue Of Zeus At Olympia – Dan Mumford
How are you?
I am well, tired but well. Its been an intense 8 months or so. I rolled from one show in LA in July straight into a ton of client work and then this show. I haven’t really stopped for any break at all since April. Which is incredible to be able to say, but it does take its toll on the mind and body a bit. Im looking forward to going to see the family at christmas and switching my brain off from work.
What is your process?
The general process for me is quite quick. I am not someone who spends days deliberating over a sketch and various compositions (which is perhaps to the detriment of my work sometimes), but i generally have a layout idea or plan in my mind before i even get to sketching. I also don’t really do any physical sketching nowadays, which sucks, but its generally so much quicker for me to do it this way. So sketching takes place digitally, and i do quite a finished but very rough comp in full colour. Then if that gets the approval its straight into working it up in full detail, i equate it to doing something in Standard Definition and then working it up in glorious HD, if you squint at the sketch as a tiny thumbnail and it looks good then i know it will work as a final detailed piece. Most of the detail in the pieces takes place on the fly, I trust that i can probably make most things work as long as the general composition looks good!
Set This Is The End Of All We Know – Dan Mumford

 

What was your inspiration for this show? It seems to be quite different in tone from your previous work, while still containing familiar elements.
I have to give Credit for the theme of the 7 Wonders to the guys at Galerie F! We had discussed doing a show early this year but the content wasn’t locked in till around a few months ago. I previously did a landscape diptych called ‘This is the End, Of all that we know.’. Which in itself was an extension of a few pieces i had done throughout the last few years where i was basically trying to create visions of a sort of… beautiful apocalypse, scenes of destruction or decay, but beautifully. So when it came time for this show I knew I wanted to revisit this, as most of the time i create work based in Pop Culture, movies, videgames, comics etc. To be honest I don’t normally get a chance to have complete artistic license like this, and the idea of the 7 wonders was the perfect starting point.

The seven wonders of the world is a fascinating subject and it allows for a lot of interpretation, especially the ancient versions. Do you prefer to rely on found imagery or create from scratch?
Well originally I was going to be creating a mixture from both the ancient and modern wonders, but then i thought that actually basing it in the Ancient realm as a set meant there was pretty much complete room for artistic license. Theres no real right or wrong way to depict these places, there are many images of them of course, but ultimately no one is going to question the depiction itself. If something is based in reality i do like to use imagery as reference, as my work is to an extent realistic i like to try and get aspects correct where i can. This was far more open though, and it was a mixture of using reference and purely working stuff up on my own. I generally use quite a bit of reference, so this was quite liberating.

The wonders seem to be a sort of travel guide for the ancient and modern world. If you could create a list of your own wonders, what would you include on there?
I think it has to be places to would clearly make you lose your breath, Niagara, The Grand Canyon, on top of the Empire State Building looking down, The Shard in London is quite an amazing building too. I think its about experiences and making you realise how tiny you are. These days we are certainly moving upwards towards the sky, and our modern monuments are these gigantic buildings. I have never been, but Dubai as a whole looks something out of a scifi movie. I do wonder if they will stand the test of time though, whilst a natural beauty like the Grand Canyon will always be there.

DoomWeb-940x600Mega City One – Dan Mumford

 

You are working alongside local hero Andrew Ghrist on this show, are you excited to see his take on the subject?
Absolutely. Andrew has an incredible ability to create beautifully flowing pieces with intense detail, and he’s quite young too, so to imagine where he will be with his work in the next few years is mind-blowing. I haven’t seen anything he has come up with for the show yet, but i can’t wait to see them all in person.

Are you excited for your trip to Chicago?
Yes! it is my first time to Chicago. And its always great to be able to come over for a show like this, would have been a real downer if I was stuck at home in London on opening night.

What are your plans while you are over here? Bring a jacket.

As of right now i don’t actually have any major plans other than the show, I haven’t had a chance to plan anything! I am only over for about 3 days, and one of those will be spent signing all the prints and getting all that in order, so i’m thinking I might just go with the flow while I am over. Obviously will be great to get to see the gallery and hang out with everyone there, really looking forward to that. I am however very aware that its probably going to be absolutely freezing…but hey, I live in the UK, it can’t be that much colder right?….

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YAB DIY Madness…

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The sun is out and it’s been quite a summer here in Chicago, the months of May and June have been spectacular here at Galerie F and to top it off, we kicked off the month of July celebrating our 3rd year anniversary here at Galerie F with the You Are Beautiful campaign.  Only days after being named by Chicago Reader as the Best Gallery in Chicago – we geared up to bring one of the largest group shows to date.

You Are Beautiful began in Chicago in 2002 with 100 stickers. Since then, over 2 million stickers have traveled to every corner of the globe. The most exciting idea about the project is that it has always been open source, giving the community the power to be creative in the way they spread this positive message.

YAB DIY showcases over 100 incredibly talented artists from around the world who have added their voice to their own YAB Boards making this exhibition another one for the books.

We also partnered with Project Onward for this exhibition having ten of their artists participate in this exhibition. Project Onward is a nonprofit studio and gallery for professional artists with mental and developmental disabilities. Their mission is to support the professional development of artists with exceptional talents and challenges, ranging from autism to mental illness, and provides these artists with workspace, materials, professional guidance, exhibition opportunities and access to markets to sell their work and advance their careers.

We’re all here to say one simple thing: You are beautiful.

Come and view this grand exhibition while you can, running on display until August 10th, 2015.

 

Hours: Tuesday- Sunday 11-6pm

Preview 1

 

 

 

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