FEATURED ARTISTS OF 2014
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Jyl Bonaguro, Alan Bovinett, Lauren Feece, Keith Gerling, Brigid KO, Liana Li, Yva Neal, Angelica Robles and Robert Stevenson
Jyl Bonaguro (b. 1976) is a Chicago-based multi-media artist working mainly in oil paint, wood, alabaster and marble. She explores the human figure, landscapes, furniture, and spacial design for 2D and 3D visual creations, and she’s also an established creative writer – focusing on plays, poetry and history. Themes include human interactions between each other as well as towards our planet - in particular the waste associated with art production. With the advent of easy to buy tube paint in the 18th century, artists no longer were trained in how to create paint by hand from local materials. In a quest to slow down the modern pace of life, she taught herself how to make / mull paint by hand, clearing non eco-friendly and anti archival plastic-based paints like acrylic out of her artist kit altogether. Working in a renewed archival manner has forced her to rethink art installations and series as she shifts into earth friendly creations like carving marble by hand. Her creations will stand the test of time and will also gradually disintegrate with time. From dust to dust. Leave no trace. Jyl Bonaguro has a BA in English–creative writing from Loyola University Chicago; an Honorary Credential in sculpture and mural studies from Northeastern University of China; and has studied figure drawing at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Jyl Bonaguro, "Fully Alive" 2013 oil on linen mounted on wood panel
"Relationships, Spatial and Otherwise" 2011
Alan is a Chicago-based multi disciplinary artist, new product development specialist and product designer with a passion for contributing to sustainable practices through his art. His clients include a multitude of start-ups, esteemed individuals and Fortune 50 corporations such as PepsiCo, The Universal Music Group, SAGAFTRA, and The Discovery Channel to name just a few. Working within traditional mediums and high tech media, Alan is passionate about creating work that is not only multi-sensory, but also beautiful and functional. Being able to see, touch, feel, experience and utilize his creations are a direct result of his expertise in art combined with engineering. By combining his strong analytical aptitude with a discriminate eye for design, issues involving sustainability, renewable technology and education are often solved by Bovinett’s creations. Alan is a graduate of Stanford University’s Engineering and Product Design School and the University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business. His work is included in the permanent collections of the Chicago’s Harold Washington Library and the San Diego Air and Space Museum, as well as having been honored by Boeing, The Discovery Network, the J. Paul Getty Museum (L.A.) and the internationally respected Coachella Valley Music and Art Festival.
Artist Alan Bonaguro
(Functional Art; Recycle Bin for Cochella, 2014)
Lauren Feece has been creating art for as long as she can remember. Whether through her iconographic paintings, or – more recently – an expression of natural elements, she uses her observations and musings on the everyday to create a rich multi layered dreamscape. Inspired by the natural world and the challenge of truly being in the present moment, her art is a reflection of natures unique magic. Lauren's life and work are intertwined with the intention of sustainability and environmental responsibility. This focus has expanded her art practice taking her out of the studio and into the Urban garden. When working with live garden installation or experimenting with plant based dyes, her signature style remains true. She lives and works out of her shared studio space with husband and collaborator Chris Silva, at Chicago’s Believe Inn.
"Science Quietly Enters Nature From Behind" (2009)
Chris Silva & Lauren Feece
Painting by artist Lauren Feece
Keith Gerling is an internationally recognized artist who works with historic photographic techniques. Capturing the beauty of nature through the simplest of shapes, gestures and details – both environmental and figurative – is one of his specialties. Gerling is best known for his work with the Gum Bichromate process – one of the oldest of photographic processes. He is considered to be one of the most talented “gum printers” working today. Each one of his “gum photos” is an original work of art, unable to be duplicated, and has a unique textured appearance that resembles fine art paintings. His work is included in numerous galleries, museums and private collections. As his work continued to evolve, he became more and more interested in sustainability efforts and how his art could benefit from using more natural, non-toxic dyes. Recent work includes the use of coffee grounds either solo or in combination with additional elements.
Designer BrigidKO creates beautiful, edgy, couture clothing and accessories made primarily from inner tubes and recycled materials. Taking advantage of the leather-like look of car tires, tractor tires, cycle inner tubes, and even roofing rubber and rim strips, she has developed a clean, futuristic line of feminine forms from these traditionally masculine elements. The nature of her work stems partially from growing concerns with consumerism, consumption and materialism, but the true revelation happened when she was busy discarding an inner tube from a motorcycle tire change and couldn’t help notice the beauty in its markings, stamps, patches and even rust. She is fascinated with the challenge of re-defining non-traditional materials to make them conform to more traditional constructions. Her current line took shape soon after the artist began creating up-cycled wallets, handbags and accessories. From there things naturally evolved into a breathtaking line of up-cycled couture. Each item has its own pattern, color and texture, not to mention elements of wear and tear, all of which add to each piece’s overall beauty. One thing’s for sure, and that is that one will never look at their busted bike’s inner tube the same after seeing her creations (most recently worn on-stage at Lady Gaga’s Roseland show.
Brigid KO Designs
Liana Li is an interdisciplinary artist and organizer engaged in environmental education and collaborations in Chicago. Her installation work is local, site-specific, and focused on human relationships with resource management and the natural environment. She currently works with the Resource Center as the Creative Director of Square Mile of Sustainability, transforming vacant lots into urban agriculture for community revitalization, and Creative ReUse, salvaging industrial surplus for makers and educators. Liana is a founding member of Collective Cleaners, a leader and organizer with the Chicago Art Institute’s Student Environment Action Committee, as well as a representative of the Sustainability Committee. She has exhibited throughout Chicago, with current work up at Jane Addams Hull-House Museum.
Artist: Liana Li
Yva Neal (b.1973, England) is one of Chicago’s leading installation artists. Her 20-year career in product design, visual retail design and landscape design realizes a dense skill set matched only by her warmth and passion for her work. Yva’s studio is located in the world-recognized Zhou B Art Center in Chicago’s Bridgeport Neighborhood. Her current focus, creating awareness through interaction, stems from her forays into studying plant medicine and mycology. Many of Ms. Neal’s pieces are experiential, from her fine art series of rock-stacking cradles inviting a Zen-like meditation to a “fun-art” mushroom themed inflatable bounce-house designed to allow adults to find their inner child through bouncing. Small piles of fallen rocks lay on the floor of her studio, the Sparkle Womb, where she invites guest to become pregnant with possibility. “They’re here to teach,” she remarks. Yva lives and breathes her art, and allows her desire for enough time with nature and life's surrounding lessons lead her along the way.
Artist: Yva Neal
Angelica Robles is a multi-media artist who maintains a studio in Pilsen. As a Mexican native who grew up in the South Chicago area, she divides her time between Chicago and Mexico. Her work explores her Mexican identity and her bi-cultural experience through a variety of mediums. She is an installation artist, jewelry & accessory designer, as well as photographer to name a few. Oftentimes, Robles collaborates on site-specific installations, all the while maintaining sustainable practices throughout her art-making. Alll of her jewelry and clothing designs as well as the majority of her installations are made entirely from natural elements and/or recycled materials. These include beads made from hand-picked seeds, natural wood and stringing material, and an accessory line made entirely from leather furniture destined for the landfill which she transformed into beautiful, functional, wearable art. Angelica Robles is an artist whose work is truly reflected by her passion. Despite that of which she is inspired by, her personal experiences are the common thread that visually unites all of her art.
Artist: Angelica Robles
Robert is a multi-media artist (painter, illustrator, cartoonist, muralist, graphic artist and sign maker to name a few). He grew up between Chicago and New Mexico and now lives just outside the city in Evanston where he maintains his studio. The nature of his work mainly deals with struggles to balance ideas, feelings and the physical world, with inspiration stemming from change, innovation, and experimentation with discipline and traditions of the craft. Although his work varies from one medium to another, he finds satisfaction in working from salvaged materials whenever the opportunity arises, such as reclaimed wood as a canvas, cut-outs from materials and publications of past, and even previous artwork. His mixed media works are visual escapes into surrealist scenes - merging past realities with current notions in a most whimsical way. In a recent project, he participated in a cooperative art installation that involved 100 community-donated chairs - designed, modified and placed in public spaces for use as functional art around Chicago. He is currently working on a graphic novel entitled “Bugs Song” and has published numerous comic works – those of which aim to feed the viewer with some food for thought and a slice of life.
Artist: Robert Stevenson