Tag Archives: Chicago


Bored hit the city of Chicago with some really innovative street art in the summer of 2012 that pretty much put the anonymous artist on the “must see” list of up and comers. His public installations mostly revolved around an interesting spin on the popular board game Monopoly, with stacks of plywood Chance cards bolted to the sidewalks and foot-tall little green plastic houses and dice in interesting locations, as well as painting sidewalks to look like property cards. His quirky approach is a direct reply to the lack of three-dimensional art in the greater Chicago area, since the city is mostly overrun by two-dimension-driven graffiti artists.

Since these installations were created, many people have now painted over the cards with fresh, and often hilarious content. If you’re lucky enough to live in or visit Chicago, they’re well worth hunting down to have a look-see.

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Foodies rejoice – the future is here! As if obtaining sweets wasn’t easy enough, Candace Nelson, founder of Sprinkles Cupcakes and judge on the Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars”, has invented the first-ever cupcake ATM. Wanting 24-hour access to cupcakes during her pregnancy, she came up with the idea of offering up freshly-baked treats available anytime, even when the shop was closed for the night.

The first ATM was set up in front of the famous Sprinkles flagship shop, located in Beverly Hills and is usually accompanied by a large line-up. The vault can house about 600 cupcakes and customers can choose their flavours by using the touch screen and pay with a credit card. The beauty of this ATM is that it also contains cake mixes, special cupcakes for dogs, and even apparel. When you make your purchase, the video screen shows you the process inside the machine, which is a truly novel idea. You can see a robotic arm selecting your cupcake, and watch as it places it into a lovely little cardboard box for you. You don’t have to worry about getting a stale cupcake either – these machines are regularly replenished with fresh sweets all all hours of the day, however, you do have to pay for the convenience, packaging and experience – there is a 50-cent surcharge for the automat cupcakes, compared to obtaining them inside for $3.50 each.

After only seven years on the scene, Sprinkles has really pushed the boundaries in the baked goods world and continues to innovate with new ideas to keep up with their Hollywood celebrity demand. Even the A-listers don’t mind standing in line for one of their delicious confections, but the ATM makes the transaction quick and easy for those on the go. The greatest news is that Sprinkles is going to start expanding across the U.S. with this idea, with nine more locations added in major cities like Chicago, New York, and Washington D.C. this summer. Hopefully they’ll consider moving their enterprise North of the border into our area in the future – at least, if someone else doesn’t get to it first. Fingers crossed!

Ian Sklarsky is a Chicago-born, Brooklyn-based artist who’s been creating amazing abstract portraits – over 700 in the past five years alone – illustrating everything from people to pets using only pen, ink, and a splash of water colour.

The 30-year-old became engrossed in the traditional blind contour method of drawing when he learned about it in a high school art class – the artist must trace the outline of the subject in one line, without looking at the paper or canvas, creating a very expressive and abstract result. Sklarsky has to put himself in the right mindset to allow his hand to guide him across the page, keeping absolutely zen throughout the process – which can sometimes be no easy feat, as when he works on large format portraits, such as group illustrations that tower over six feet high.

Sklarsky’s portraits often begin around $65 and go up from there, depending on the size and complexity as well as the time to complete each one. They are all signed and sealed with wax, and he also offers an epoxy glaze option to those who want it, which tends to cause the paper to become somewhat translucent so you can back-light it for emphasis in your decor.

To see more, obtain a commissioned piece, and find out when and where he is appearing next, check out Sklarsky’s website. He is also on Tumblr, so be sure to visit often to see the progress of his work. Cool Hunting also recently posted a video of Sklarsky working on one of his portraits – you can view it here.

Street art pioneer Jef Aérosol threw up his first stencil piece in 1982 in Tours, France. Since then, he has graced the walls of dozens of cities worldwide (London, Paris, Rome, Venice, Amsterdam, New York, Brussels, Chicago, Lisbon, and Bejing to name a few), and joined the ranks of the infamous alongside other historical graffiti artists Blek le Rat, Speedy Graphito and Miss.Tic. Functioning mostly as “agent provocateur”, the messages he conveys evoke an emotional response to the urban sprawl that encroaches upon all of us, and tries to incite the importance of peace, pushing towards a world that embraces a zen-like way of being.

His work has been showcased in a variety of venues – at festivals, galleries, solo and group exhibits, art fairs, special events and even auction sales – and he’s been published in books too. In 1986 he was responsible for the cover art for “Vite Fait, Bien Fait” (éditions Alternatives / Agnès B, Paris), which was the first book published on the subject of street stencils, and in 2007 he released “VIP Very Important Pochoirs” (éditions Alternatives, Paris), which I am currently trying to obtain to add to my library. He continues to create commissioned pieces and show his work in galleries across France and Belgium, and yesterday, he opened an exhibit at the Musee-en-herbe in Paris.

To find out more about Jef Aérosol, check out his website, which includes info on the seven upcoming shows he has going on for 2012, and if you ever find his art tucked away in a strange part of the world, make sure you snag a shot and upload it to his Flickr group.

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