Posts tagged Chicago
Studio Sunday: Curtis Anthony Bozif

We have an exciting Studio Sunday interview this week with Curtis Anthony Bozif! He is a Chicago based artist who has a solo exhibition of new works currently on view at the Evanston Art Center. The show opened on August 17th and will run through September 22nd.

Find more of his art on his website or on Instagram @curtisanthonybozif

We are pleased to have featured you in one of our previous issues, but you've got some new things going on now to share. How has your work developed in the last few years? What are you creating now? 

I think my work has undergone a kind of distilling since last we spoke. A simple observation would be that the paintings have become more monochromatic and less compositional; more textured and less graphic. I’m focused on building surfaces and less concerned with what I’d call picture making. To this end, I’ve been using a lot of metallic and iridescent colors. They have a sheen to them that accentuates the texture and surface of a painting; its physicality. Metallic and iridescent colors  shimmer. This causes the appearance of a painting to change relative to where you’re standing when you look at it. As you move around, the angle at which the surface absorbs or reflects light changes; the color shifts. A certain part of a painting may be obscured by a bright reflection while another part may appear to fall into shadow. In a sense, this kind of painting is hard to see. It’s hard to know. 

What kind of studio space are you working in? What is important for you to have in it? 

My wife and I recently moved into a new place here in Chicago. I now have a whole room dedicated to my studio. Definitely the most important thing for me to have in it is space. Because I make relatively large paintings, I need to be able to step back and see the whole thing at once. I also need to be able to move around and see it from different distances and from different perspectives. When a painting gives me trouble, this has always proved helpful; looking at it from a different perspective. Sometimes the hardest way to see a painting is to look at it head on.

Another thing that’s important is light. For me, this has always been the most frustrating part about setting up a new working environment. Balancing natural light with artificial, the temperature of the light, the intensity, and where to position the lights to reduce glare, I still haven’t figured it out. I‘ve never be completely happy with the light in any of my studios.

One last thing I’ll mention is my old CD player. It’s a simple stereo boombox I got when I was in high school. I’ve had it with me in all my studios. At the Kansas City Art Institute, Northwestern, and the string of different places I’ve had since then. I think music is important to a lot of painters because painting is a solitary activity that requires a lot of time and attention. Having something to listen to can help prevent loneliness, help you pass the time, and help you to focus. Recently, I’ve been listening to a lot of Steve Reich, Ingram Marshall, Third Coast Percussion, and the soundtrack to Werner Herzog’s film, Cave of Forgotten Dreams, composed and performed by Ernst Reijseger. I think of the repetition and layering that is so characteristic of this kind of music as analogues to the repetitive mark-making and layering in my paintings. This has helped me to think about my process in some interesting new ways.

How do you maintain a consistent schedule with your creative practice? Do you have certain habits or routines that you follow?

The first thing to mention is I have a nine-to-five job. Any consistent schedule, unfortunately, has to be worked around that. In his book, Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity, David Lynch recounts Bushnell Keeler’s expression: “If you want to get one hour of good painting in you have to have four hours of uninterrupted time.” Like Lynch, I agree with this statement, but the exact times, one or four hours, doesn’t really matter. The point is that excess time is essential. It’s essential for play and for accident and for chance, but sadly, uninterrupted time is very difficult to make happen. 

So weekends are precious to me; I’m usually up by seven. I’ll make a pot of coffee and read for an hour or two before I start painting. Research has always been an important aspect to my studio practice and reading is a big part of that. For instance, I just completed a series of paintings inspired by the Great Lakes. Over the course of making this work I read dozens of books on the subject. In my research I discovered an author named Jerry Dennis. He’s based out of Traverse City, Michigan and has written extensively about the Great Lakes. I found I had a strong affinity for the way he often approached the lakes, which is to say, on a geological time scale. I was so taken by his writing that I reached out to him and we developed a correspondence and that’s been really rewarding. In a way that’s not easy to describe, I’ve always thought of painting as a way of thinking; a way of knowing, but so too is poetry, music, history, and science. Learning how people who work in other disciplines approach—and ultimately come to know—the same things you’re dealing with in your own work can help to develop a more complete and nuanced understanding of those very things and, of course, your work.

Coffee and reading wake me up and help me to focus, after that, I’m ready to paint. I try and make this a quick and painless transition. It’s important to me to be able to walk into my studio, grab my tools, and immediately get to work. Here, I’d like to quote Lynch again. In the same book as before he writes: “It’s crucial to have a setup. [...] So that at any given moment when you get an idea that you have the place and the tools to make it happen. If you don’t have a setup there are many times when you get the inspiration, the idea, but you have no tools, no place to put it together and the idea just sits there and festers. Over time it will go away. You didn’t fulfil it and that’s just a heartache.” Today, there are so many distractions vying for our attention, there’s so much noise, to have the time and space to dedicate to your work and where you can focus, and what Lynch calls a “setup”, is so important. 


What is one piece of creative or business advice that you would give to your younger self? Is there a quote or mantra that is especially meaningful to you right now? 

I would tell my younger self to ignore, or mostly ignore, his grad school professors. It’s important that what you’re doing is enjoyable. I’m talking about the physical act of making art. What you do with your hands and eyes when you make art, is it enjoyable? What you do with your body, do you like doing that? It’s something that rarely gets discussed in art school. For example, when I was at Northwestern, I started making video art and my professors responded positively to it, but looking at the world through a camera, staring at a screen, and clicking a mouse all day made me really depressed. I ultimately stopped making art.

Similarly, I’d tell my younger self to think hard about the sustainability of his studio practice. By that I mean: is what you’re doing, are the ideas you’re engaging with, are they generative? Do they foster a healthy curiosity? Or, are you backing yourself into an intellectual, emotional, and spiritual deadend? If making the art you’re making is no longer enjoyable, or healthy, if it’s just paralysis, dread, and boredom that you feel upon entering your studio, then you should probably be doing something else.

Finally, you have a show coming up - can you tell us about the details and any other events you have lined up for the rest of 2019? 

My solo show, Great Lakes, at the Evanston Art Center, runs from August 17th to September 22nd. As I alluded to earlier, this work is the culmination of a year long effort—through research and careful observation—to engage with the Great Lakes and to translate these experiences into the paintings.

One way I’ve tried to do this is by thinking about the lakes in terms of their scale. By scale I mean their size relative to the human body; their time relative to human time. People often try and describe the Great Lakes by listing a bunch of figures like: they contain one fifth of the surface liquid freshwater on the planet. This sounds like a lot, but of all the water on the planet, only two and a half percent is freshwater. So what does one fifth of two and a half percent mean? It means that the freshwater in the Great Lakes, as a natural resource, is both abundant and exceedingly rare. Similarly, we think of the Great Lakes as being very old; melt water from the end of the last ice age, but this melt occurred just 12,500 years ago, while the last ice age lasted almost a 100,000 years and the earth, it’s over 4.5 billion years old. On a geological time scale, the Great Lakes, like human beings, just appeared. Reconciling these time scales is impossible. If painting is a way of knowing, these paintings have been a way for me to know the Great Lakes, but to know the Great Lakes can often times feel like an exercise in abstract thinking.

One of the ways I’ve tried to translate the irreconcilability of these scales is by making relatively large paintings built of dense layers of minutely-sized, seemingly random marks across their entire surface. It’s my hope that this kind of scale and intensity suggests a vast, infinite space, and unknowable depth. As I mentioned the last time we spoke, I’ll often employ sticks in lieu of paint brushes when I’m working. This technique, along with embedding different materials like sand and iron filings into my paints, creates a highly textured surface that can often times feel more natural than human made; like the surface of a rock face. Layers of thin glazes and metallic and iridescent paints enhance these textures by catching the light, they shimmer, obscuring the image, and for this reason these paintings can be hard to see. I’m interested in the tension between the depth created by these layers and the flatness that’s emphasized by the sheen of the iridescent surface. You have to negotiate the way the light is interacting with the surface in order to see past it, to go deeper. It’s not unlike looking at water. 

Sarah Leuchtner

“Sarah Leuchtner’s practice deftly incorporates precepts of contemporary culture with a painterly approach that calls on formal relationships with the graphic, the iconographic, and the structural.”

-Bianca Bova, Curator

To create a work of art that causes the viewer to slow down to a full stop in order to spend just a bit more time with it is an accomplishment all on its own. To do the successfully twelve times over, compelling a longer examination of the surface of each piece, is something else entirely. In her recent solo exhibition at Hubbard Street Lofts in Chicago, artist Sarah Leuchtner presented twelve new paintings, filling the room with a distinct tone and palette, both moody and rich with energy. Her visual language weaves together elements of design, pattern, and palpable texture. Paint is at times washed across the canvas, and at other times appears built up, revealing pockets of layers and hidden mark making. Leuchtner’s skills in painting are only matched by her mature and distinct voice as an artist, one that can be heard cohesively throughout her body of work, and one that will only continue to resonate louder over time.

Sarah Leuchtner is a Chicago-based contemporary artist. She received her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2016. Follow her on Instagram at @sarahleuchtner.

Images courtesy of Sarah Leuchtner and curator Bianca Bova.

Top 10 Highlights at the Chicago Art Book Fair 2017

During November 16-19, Chicago hosted its first annual Chicago Art Book Fair, featuring over 100 independent publishers, small presses, comic and zine-makers, printmakers, and more. Taking over two floors of the stunning Chicago Athletic Association Hotel, the amount of incredibly unique and innovative artists and publishers kept the crowd buzzing with eager curiosity and excitement, while not being too overwhelming. Its a chance to meet individual illustrators and artists as well as small printing presses that publish everything from short story collections to risograph printed zines. Not just from Chicago, this international book fair had an endless amount of talent, making the top 10 highlights difficult to narrow down. Take a look at these 10 amazing artists and publishers who’s work blew the crowd away!

1. Cold Cube Press / Mount Analogue

Cold Cube Press is a printing service based in Seattle, Washington that prints using a risograph process, which is a process similar to a silkscreen as it prints one color at a time, making their book Cold Cube 003 (featured above) even more impressive! It features the artwork of over 30 artists and poets. Sharing the booth with Cold Cube are their neighbors and collaborators, Mount Analogue. Mount Analogue has their hands in so many amazing projects, as they are a interdisciplinary publishing studio, installation gallery, small press book shop while also hosting community events.

2. Extra Vitamins

Extra Vitamins is the multi-disciplinary creative studio of Julia Belamarich and Kyle Garfield that emphasizes the intersection of art and design. They produce unique and playfully designed apparell, tote bags, illustrated books, zines, and more.

3. Pegacorn Press

Pegacorn Press is a queer and feminist project ran by artist Caroline Paquita based in Brooklyn, New York. They publish and produce zines, comics, and other print ephemera along with patches and even plush dolls.  Much of the work produced is a collaboration between Paquita herself and other artists.

4. Marnie Galloway

Marnie Galloway is a cartoonist and illustrator hailing from Chicago, who works primarily in fiction and poetic comics. Her work In the Sounds and Seas, which was featured at the fair, is an intricate and striking, black and white, wordless graphic novel. 

5. The Bettys

The Bettys is an art collective that produces and publishes zines and curates events in and around New York City. Their work primarily focus on supporting women, people of color, and LBTQ communities. Other products produced by the collective include catchy and powerful pins and stickers.

6. Chloe Perkis

Chloe Perkis is a Chicago-based artist who creates risograph prints, comics, zines, and pins that often feature a strong female presence. On top of creating her own printed ephemera, she has also curates exhibitions. One of which, a show titled Sucias, had a unique zine printed in conjunction with the exhibition that was available at Perkis' booth. 

7. Authorized to Work in the U.S.

Authorized to Work in the U.S. is a multi-disciplinary project run by artist and publisher Cem Kocyildrim. The artist sells his incredible work on a mobile art gallery, the "Riso Bike," which he peddles around NYC. Kocyildrim's personal work shines light on issues surrounding immigrant life and the U.S.

8. Floss Editions

Floss Editions is a small printing press that publishes books, zines, and apparel of amazing quality, with brilliantly bold colors, that feature a variety of talented artists. They are based out of Oakland, California, but publish work by artists all over the US.

9. Perfectly Acceptable

Perfectly Acceptable Press is a publishing house and risograph printing studio, located in the fair's host city of Chicago. They publish small edition zines, comics, and other art books, with their content and aesthetic being incredibly diverse. 

10 Jamiyla Lowe

Jamiyla Lowe is an artist and illustrator based out of Toronto, whose quality work can be described as fantastical and mystical. Her impressively rendered creations can be found in the form of limited edition prints, wall hangings, tote bags, and t-shirts.


Featured image courtesy of Mount Analogue/Cold Cube Press

2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial

On view through January of next year, the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial held at the beautiful Chicago Cultural Center in the heart of the city’s downtown area is a must-see. Walking through rooms of curated exhibitions, one encounters a range of work including photography, drawings, renderings, architectural models, installations and videos by architects and artists representing over 20 countries from across the globe. This year’s Artistic Directors were Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee of LA-based firm Johnston Marklee and the opening of the Biennial coincided with the international art fair EXPO Chicago.

Photo courtesy of the Chicago Architecture Biennial. 

Photo courtesy of the Chicago Architecture Biennial. 

“The Chicago Architecture Biennial 2017 will showcase the diversity of work from around the world to examine the underpinnings of this resurgence of historical interest. Titled “Make New History,” this second edition of the Biennial will focus on the efforts—across registers of building and discursive production—of contemporary architects to align their work with versions of history. Through the lens of architecture, the Biennial aims to examine the interplay of design and the broadening access to, as well as recall of, historical source material. In the realm of building practice—from new construction to adaptive reuse to conservation—it will investigate the ways in which the architect’s encounter with a site is, in fact, the act of interpreting and responding to a prior accumulation of state and government regulations, social conventions, and markers of personhood. Considerations for architecture in the context of history include the regulation and management of power and identity; what prevails and what does not; and how to recognize the significance of untold narratives. Now, more than ever, the assumptions embedded in cultural exempla and civic imaginaries require examination and discussion.”

The Architecture of Creative Miscegenation, Marshall Brown, Chicago, USA

The Architecture of Creative Miscegenation, Marshall Brown, Chicago, USA

Filip Dujardin studied History of Art at the University of Ghent, with a specialization in architecture, before studying photography at the Academy of Ghent. After training as a technical assistant for Magnum-photographer Carl De Keyzer, he started a professional collaboration with Frederik Vercruysse. In 2007, he established himself as an independent photographer for private and public clients in the fields of architecture, interior and product design. In 2008, he presented Fictions, his first series of independent artworks. On display at the Biennial were a selection of his works featuring some of Chicago's most iconic buildings. 

The Chicago Architecture Biennial is free and open to the public. For more information on planning your visit, click here.

For even more content from the Chicago Architecture Biennial, follow them on Instagram

Photo courtesy of the Chicago Architecture Biennial.

Photo courtesy of the Chicago Architecture Biennial.

Highlights of EXPO Chicago 2017

Now in its sixth year, EXPO Chicago is proof that a thriving art community exists between those known on the two coasts. In fact, the fair’s ties to its local galleries, museums, and art schools are what set it apart and make it an annual destination for the numerous dealers and collectors who descend upon the “Windy City” each fall. This year’s fair did not disappoint – from a partnership with the Palais de Tokyo to its alignment with the Chicago Architecture Biennial, the fair continues to remain ambitious with its programming efforts.


We were excited to be able to attend and share just a few of our selected highlights!

1. The beautiful and monumental collage portraits by Gabi Trinkaus at Claire Oliver Gallery (New York)


2. Works by Jennifer Bolande, Julius Shulman and Alison Berger at Edward Cella Art and Architecture (Los Angeles)


3. Lucas Simoes' incredible installation at MARSO (Mexico City)


4. A full booth of stunning pieces by Oliver Marsden at Galeria Hilario Galguera (Mexico City)

5. The Food Chain Project by Itamar Gilboa
Almost 800 million people around the world are suffering from hunger and over 600 million are obese. Food Chain Project stems from Itamar Gilboa's will to raise awareness to global issues of hunger, obesity, overconsumption and waste by means of examining his own consumption choices. For one year, Gilboa kept a diary of everything that he ate and drank. Tamar Dresdner Art Projects presents the outcome—an installation which is a visual manifestation of everything that he consumed during twelve months and consists of numerous crystacast and chrome sculptures, each representing a food item that Gilboa had consumed. Proceeds from the sales of the sculptures will be donated to Food Tank, an NGO which supports environmentally, socially and economically sustainable ways of alleviating hunger, obesity and poverty.

6. Daniel Beltrá’s photograph Amazon (scarlet ibis) at Catherine Edelman Gallery


Initiating the international fall art season each September, EXPO CHICAGO hosts leading international exhibitors presented alongside one of the highest quality platforms for global contemporary art and culture. The 2017 iteration presented 135 premier galleries representing 25 countries and 58 cities.  For more information on the fair, please visit their website.

Laura Mosquera

Laura Mosquera received her M.F.A. from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1999. She has presented solo exhibition at the Contemporary Art Museum (CASA) in Salamanca Spain, Feigen Contemporary Gallery New York, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, moniquemeloche gallery, Savannah College of Art & Design, Bodybuilder & Sportsman Gallery and Hall Street Gallery in Savannah, GA. A permanent installation of paintings has been installed at the Archer Heights Branch Library commissioned through City of Chicago Percent for Art Program, and 8 billboards of her paintings continue to be exhibited at the Red Line Subway station at Chicago Ave. and State Street sponsored by the Museum of Contemporary Art and the CTA's Adopt a Station Project. She was a part of a traveling group exhibition in Montenegro and Serbia concluding at the National Gallery of Belgrade and was most recently part of a group show at the Art Institute of Chicago. Her work is in the collections of both the Museum of Contemporary Art; The Art Institute of Chicago and the Contemporary Art Museum (CASA) in Salamanca Spain. She was a Professor of Painting at the Savannah College of Art and Design and while there was named an International Council of Fine Arts Deans fellow. She has completed residencies at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts; the Hambidge Center in north Georgia and at the Ragdale Foundation. Currently, she is living and working in Brooklyn, NY. 

How and why do we let someone affect our life? There can be a tendency to gravitate towards a commonality, but the need for independence remains. In every relationship there is a protagonist. Whether that protagonist is in the position of authority can shift depending upon perception. 

This body of work began inspired by memories that are part of a larger narrative. The work has focused more sharply on describing power relationships. Some shapes take on visually dominating positions within the composition. Are they affecting the shape they sit or lay against or is the other shape able to absorb it and make it part of a greater whole? 

The canvases are representative of specific situations drawing on my reactions to certain events. I use color and design elements, like pattern and texture, to describe a subtle tension within these mental landscapes. While using the language of abstraction I find a way to make sense of the world around me, and the way I walk through it.

Interview: Marco Miller

Marco Miller is a painter and street artist based in Chicago. He specializes in portraiture, utilizing a variety of mediums including oil, acrylic, spray paint, charcoals, pastels and watercolors. He attended Columbia College for graphic design, however as a painter, Marco is primarily self-taught.

Which three words would best describe your work? 

Chaos, control, and moving.

You have a background in graphic design, when did you start painting and how did you get started? 

Yes, I went to school for graphic design. The first time I ever picked up a brush was four years ago this February. I was going through a hard time and decided to put down the computer and pick up something else... thank goodness it was a brush! How did I get started? Well, I went to a DIY venue called “The Keep” back in the day to sell prints at a Scoundrel (Punk Band) benefit show to help raise money, because their van was broken into or totaled... something like that? 

I ended up having to ship some prints down to this guy Mike’s tattoo shop that following week. As I pulled the prints out of my messenger bag, a gallery owner, David, was standing next to me. David loved the prints and wanted to give me my first solo show. The show took place at Lacuna lofts in Pilsen, and I actually met one of my best friends, Jasmine, that day loading work in the elevator. The opening was a hit! I sold work, laughed, and met a world where I finally felt that I belonged. I fell in love with life that day and knew I wanted to paint for the rest of my life. So how did I get started? Fate. It was fate.

Who or what were your early influences? 

I loved the rawness of Pollock. The structure of Malevich. The playfulness of Basquiat. The realness of Frida.

Are they still relevant to your current work? If not, who do you look to today? 

They will always be relevant, because they taught me that YOU have to be in the painting for it to mean something. You have to see and leave a bit of yourself in everything you create, because that’s how you grow as an artist… You have to fill that piece you left with something new. I look up to experiences today. I love bike rides, the light that reflects off of fresh rain, love, happiness, late night tacos at Coyotes, living in Chicago, the smell of oils and spray paint, helping others. 

Tell me about your process. Do you sketch or work on the computer first? 

I do both. Sometimes I hold graphite and sometimes a mac’s glare. It just really depends on the mood. How do you know when a painting is complete? That’s easy. When there’s no more emotion or a deadline.

From what I have seen, you tend to work on larger pieces. Have you experimented with scale? 

Yes! I paint from 13”x19” to 60”x72”. What effect do you intend by creating large format paintings? The scale makes you take it all in. To actually pay attention to it, and to bond with it.

Why focus on portraiture?

I like portraiture because it is relatable. Every human has related to another human in their life and that’s very beautiful to me.

What has been one of your most successful moments as an artist? 

Being featured for Google Chicago Artist Initiative. It was really cool! But what led me to that feature was being down in Basel for a show “Chicago Style” with some of my best buds. That was a really successful moment too! 

What are you most excited about for 2017 (art-related)? 

I’m most excited about watching my art grow along with myself.

Studio Sundays: Kristi Kohut

Happy Studio Sunday! We thought you could use a little color in this dreary weather, so we are featuring the vibrant work of Kristi Kohut. We were so inspired by her beautiful studio and process and just knew we had to share. Learn more about her work and submit to next week's feature. 

Artist Kristi Kohut in her studio

Artist Kristi Kohut in her studio

Kristi is a mixed-media artist based in Chicago. Her process is inspired by color and pattern found in nature, often using a variety of media including acrylic, watercolor, ink, pastels and glass beads.

In 2007, in addition to her fine art practice, Kristi founded Hapi Art & Pattern, an art and design studio dedicated to making fine art reproductions, high-end fabrics, pillows, poufs and wallpaper - in Kristi’s signature colorful style. In every piece of her art, you’ll find not only the highest quality materials, but a ridiculous amount of love, passion and attention to detail.

Kristi Kohut's studio

Kristi Kohut's studio

Kristi was named one of “7 next-big-thing artists” by Elle Decor magazine and her work has been available at the Architectural Digest Home Show in NYC, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, West Elm, Nordstrom, One Kings Lane, Domino and Minted. She and her studio have also been featured in HGTV Magazine, Luxe Interiors and Design, Domino magazine, World of Interiors, Real Simple, Martha Stewart, Lonny, Design Sponge and more. Her work is currently represented by Walker Contemporary and has been exhibited at the River East Art Center and the ARC Gallery in Chicago, IL. In 2010, she was awarded the Juror’s Choice fine art award at the Chicago Art Open.

Artwork by Kristi Kohut

Artwork by Kristi Kohut

When Kristi isn’t in her studio, you might find her practicing yoga, knocking the ball around the tennis court or soaking up inspiration in the latest fashion mags. She’s also a self-proclaimed “foodie” conveniently married to an excellent cook. Kristi and her husband live north of Chicago with their son, Owen.