September 13, 2010

a painterly approach to street art...

The railroad underpasses off of Hubbard Street have seen it all.  Long a staple of the local street art and graff scenes, they have been regularly bombed for years. But something very interesting has been occurring under the train tracks lately.  It's painting.  I'm not referring to aerosol artistry, I'm talking about good old fashioned brush-and-paint-can painting.  And it's on a monumental scale.

There are seven paintings in total that we found. Some are huge- nearly 20 feet in length. They appear to be in various states of completion.  It seems the artist starts with a basic form (see below) and then elaborates with increasingly drippy broad strokes until the original form is obscured.  The process appears to require a fair amount of time as there are clearly layers that were dry before the next color was applied.  The resulting murals have elements that are reminiscent of Willem de Kooning and the abstract expressionists; a visual reference seldom witnessed in todays street art scene.

All of the paintings incorporate some text as well.  They bear slogans (titles?) like "Love No Fear | Fear No Love" "the magic you don't c." and "Griots & Bacchanalia".  Sometimes the text is next to the painting, and sometimes it is incorporated in the painting itself.  The artist states on one work "my name is a four letter word" but signs all the pieces with a black spade (or many spades as the case may be).  Since we don't know what to call you, wer're going to call you "Spade".  So, hello Spade. If you've got a problem with us calling you that, let us know and we'll correct it.

We first noticed the hand painted stylings of "Spade" last month, and posted pics of the work here, here,  and here.  Chicago Art Magazine noticed as well and wrote about a piece in their Top Street Art Picks for the month of August.

View pics of all the Hubbard Street pieces by "Spade" on our Flickr set "Hubbard Street Viaduct".

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