urban, contemporary & street art 

Fernando Chamarelli comes to Chicago for his solo show "Among Photons"

Posted on October 12, 2013 by Patrick Hull

Brazilian artist Fernando Chamarelli relies heavily on intuition to create his kaleidoscopic acrylic paintings and illustrations. His works, which explore mythology, culture, and emotion, create an incredible visual combination of calculated order and psychedelic chaos.

Chamarelli, who has not visited the United States since 2010, is looking forward to his solo exhibition at Vertical Gallery. He has shown in San Jose, Los Angeles, and Portland, but he is excited to be exhibiting in Chicago for the first time, and has been working diligently on his current body of work for the past year. In addition to several big works on canvas, Chamarelli plans to create a large-scale installation in the gallery. Although he has never visited Chicago, he does not expect to be disappointed by the city. “I imagine a big city like São Paulo, and I think it will be great. When I visited California for the first time, I realized that the people there really love art and appreciate artists. I think that Chicago will be no different. It will be a very fun trip… I just hope it isn’t too cold there in October,” he joked.

The artist, who started painting less than ten years ago, has already achieved major success and recognition, exhibiting all over the world, and winning the admiration of corporate clients like Absolut, Microsoft, Umbro, and Nike. Although Chamarelli started painting in 2007, it was not until he quit his graphic design job in 2009 and began to earn a living solely from his art that he truly began to identify as an artist. “Unlike other artists, I started drawing later in adolescence. I was attracted to all forms of art- caricatures, cartoons, realistic portraits, street art, tattoos… my style was still developing, until I began to paint on canvas,” he said.

Chamarelli, who has a degree in illustration and graphic design, employs his formal education when beginning a new piece. Working from a sketch, he then starts to flesh out shapes, balance, and color. Once the image is complete, he draws it on the canvas and begins to paint. “I rely heavily on my intuition,” he said. “Especially at the beginning of the work. Traces flow naturally, and unconsciously, the characters begin to appear.” Although his process is generally pretty straightforward, he is exploring the idea of using alternative materials. He is interested in experimenting with oil paint, painting on wood, and creating street murals.

He is not intimidated by a blank white canvas. “I have many things in my head that want to get out,” he said. To find inspiration, he reads about ancient civilizations and myths, and researches gods and symbols. He watches videos of other artists at work. He explores nature and finds inspiration in the rich Brazilian culture and natural environment. “I was born and raised in a small town in Brazil. There were many rivers and waterfalls that I visited often, and the organic shapes, birds, and fish that are present in my works are reminders of this period in my life. Brazil is a multiethnic country with rich culture- I like to explore this in my art as well.”

Although Chamarelli looks more to his inner self than outside influences to create, he finds creativity and influence in meeting interesting people, visiting new places, experiencing new things, and listening to experimental music and the music of northeastern Brazil. “Music is very important to me. I always say that it is the drug that I use when I’m creating.” Each image is created from his imagination, and for this exhibition, the works address a new era that we are entering. “A grand cycle is complete, and many ancient civilizations knew about it. These artworks are all about mysteries, myths, and fantasies that involve this important moment,” Chamarelli said.

The painter has plans to explore his creativity in new ways. Although he is enjoying his current practice, “I do not want to stop here,” he said. “Sculpture is the next step. However, I do not like to think too far in the future. Last year, I moved to southern Brazil, to a beautiful island called Florianópolis. I’m enjoying it here, but I’m thinking of moving to another country next year, for the sake of creating new experiences for myself. That’s all I know about my future right now, because I always let the art guide me. I trust her a lot.”

Fernando Chamarelli’s solo exhibition will be on display at Vertical Gallery from October 12th until November 9th, with an opening reception on October 12th from 6-10 pm. Do not miss this chance to meet the artist and view his works, including a temporary installation exclusive to Vertical Gallery.

Interview by Shannon Gallagher

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Vertical Gallery Exhibiting at Fountain Art Fair

Posted on September 11, 2013 by Patrick Hull

We are very pleased to be participating in our first art fair. Fountain Art Fair returns to Chicago this year September 20-22, running during Art Expo and Edition. Fountain will be located at Mana Contemporary – see the Fountain website for all the details.

We will be featuring artwork from Greg Gossel, Max Kauffman, David Soukup, Michael Rodriguez, XOOOOX, C215 and a preview from Fernando Chamarelli’s upcoming October solo show at Vertical Gallery.

Vertical Gallery - Greg GosselGreg Gossel (Minneapolis): With a background in design, Gossel’s work is an expressive interplay of many diverse words, images, and gestures. His multi-layered work illustrates a visual history of change and process throughout each piece. His work has been exhibited throughout the U.S. and abroad, including San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Copenhagen, and London. His commercial clients include Burton Snowboards, Stussy, and Interscope Records while his work has been published in Juxtapoz Art & Culture Magazine, Artslant, Artful Living, ROJO Magazine, and The San Francisco Chronicle.

Vertical Gallery - Max KauffmanMax Kauffman (Oakland): Max Kauffman was born in Chicago and grew up in South Bend, Indiana, often returning to Chicago for skateboarding and concerts in his teens. He attended Arizona State University to study ceramics and anthropology — his anthropology studies still make their way into the conceptual foundation for his work. Kauffman has shown in galleries across the United States as well as Italy, Canada and Israel and has been featured in publications Juxtapoz Art & Culture Magazine, Boom, Beautiful Decay, Wallfarmers, and Supersonic Electronic.


Vertical Gallery - David SoukupDavid Soukup (Chicago): The urban environment became an immediate focus for David’s work. Living in Chicago, he was surrounded by an endless possibility of inspiration and a city that showcased some of the best architecture in the world. Using elements of graphic design, collage, mixed media, and reclaimed materials, David’s work is a reflection and experience of his everyday life. His artwork has been shown in Chicago, Detroit, San Francisco, Washington DC, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Grand Rapids, St Louis, and Australia. His paintings have been used in numerous film and television productions, and has been featured in Juxtapoz, Hi-Fructose, Artist-a-Day, and many other local and online publications.

Vertical Gallery - Michael RodriguezMichael Rodriguez (New York): Born in Miami, Michael has exhibited in galleries in the United States, Canada and France, including solo exhibitions at New York galleries Oliver Kamm/5BE Gallery and Feature Inc. He is the recipient of the Pollack-Krasner Foundation Grant for Painting (2000); New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship for Painting (2002) and Joan Mitchell Grant (2011). Michael’s work is in the permanent collection of the New York Museum of Modern Art, Michael Bloomberg’s collection, Capital Bank, AOL Paris and General Dynamics.


Vertical Gallery - XOOOOXXOOOOX (Berlin): XOOOOX is one of the most exciting and innovative urban artists worldwide. Creating delicate stenciled works and installations on found objects such as wood, metal and stone, he conveys the dynamics between standard ideas of beauty and ruin. In addition to working as a street artist in his hometown of Berlin since 2003, XOOOOX has exhibited widely throughout Germany as well as solo exhibitions in London and New York. Selected exhibitions include: Jonathan Levine Gallery, New York; Circle Culture Gallery, Berlin; De Buck Gallery, New York; Alte Munze, Berlin; KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin; Mead Carney, London; Inoperable Gallery, Vienna. He was recently featured in the Wooster Collective 10 year anniversary exhibition.

Vertical Gallery - C215C215 (Paris): C215 is a stencil graffiti artist based in Paris, France who has become well known for his intricate portraits and distinctive style. He started spray painting in 2005 and creates portraits of people he meets or likes and places them out on the street. He has become one of the world's most prolific stencil artists. His expansive career in public art has made him renowned in more than just the usual circles of stencil-based art fans and collectors. He has exhibited in Paris, Rome, Barcelona, London, San Paolo, New York, and San Francisco.


Vertical Gallery - Fernando ChamarelliFernando Chamarelli (Brazil): Born and raised in Brazil, artist Fernando Chamarelli has a degree in graphic design and illustration. His early artistic interests started with drawing cartoons, caricatures and realistic portraits. Later, his interests expanded to street art and tattoo. By merging these different backgrounds, he developed his signature style. Fernando still resides in Brazil, a multicultural country of contrasts. This dynamic and colorful environment inspires his work. Fernando’s painting present mosaic, geometric elements, organic forms and harmonic lines. His visual imagery connects symbols, legends, philosophies, religions and customs of ancient and modern civilizations. Fernando has worked and exhibited in Latin America, The United States and Europe.

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Daniel Hojnacki exhibition at Vertical Gallery - opening September 7

Posted on September 06, 2013 by Patrick Hull

Chicago artist Daniel Hojnacki has taken a traditional approach to photography and turned it upside down. His experimental mixed media techniques have enriched his current body of work, which is largely about family, past, and reflection. The artist spends a lot of time reading, looking at other artists’ work, traveling, and spending time with family, all of which serve to fuel his aesthetic. “I try to read as much as I can,” he said. “And not just philosophical art theory. Right now, I’m reading 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez. Feeding the imagination through reading keeps the brain working.”

About three years ago, Hojnacki began to get very innovative in his approach to photography. He started to experiment by printing on tape, spackled paper, and other “industrial, mundane materials,” and was very excited by the results. This is not to say that it has been an easy road. The artist has found himself frustrated by having to give up the idea of controlling every facet of the process. “The aspect of mechanics can be troubling,” he said. “My printer has gone through many paper jams; there definitely trial and error involved. I spent a lot of time playing with different surfaces until something just clicked, visually. Once that happened, I rolled with it,” he said. While Hojnacki was volunteering with the Indiana Dunes State Park, working with invasive species, he began to think about nature, and how nature can be contained. “I started to think about how we control things. Tape is synthetic, it adheres. It challenged the image, and made it fall apart. Initially, that’s where the idea came from- the control of the photo and nature, and vice versa.”

Hojnacki is inspired by the city of Chicago, and the artists he has met there. He describes the creative community as tight-knit and supportive, and is stimulated by the energy and art community that’s developing in the city. “There are a lot of opportunities shaping and forming for emerging artists like myself,” he said. He describes the way that some groups of people flock to certain areas of the city known for art, and how that is growing and changing. “I think artists and art enthusiasts in Chicago are trying to reshape that, and make it more homogenous,” he said. “Witnessing that has been amazing. My development has been shaped by the help and work of other artists willing to assist others. It’s humbling.”

Hojnacki is thrilled to be showing at Vertical Gallery, and interested to meet the crowd of people that will come through for the opening reception. “Every gallery will reel in its own communities” he said. “I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to present the work to fresh eyes, a new audience.” He is happy to be involved with Vertical, and delighted by the amount of attention the gallery has already gotten. “It has great energy, and the director is open and willing to work with artists that want to pursue larger ideas within the gallery setting, such as site-specific installations. It’s important to take ideas out of the studio and put them into the gallery space. Chicago has a really amazing spirit, and it’s a great incubator for galleries like that- the individual self-proprietor, small businesses… people are willing to support that, and it’s awesome. It’s amazing to watch it develop, let alone be a part of it.”    

Daniel Hojnacki’s solo exhibition will commence with an opening reception on September 7th from 6-10 pm at Vertical Gallery, 1016 N. Western Avenue, Chicago IL 60622. The show runs until October 5th, 2013.

Interview by Shannon Gallagher

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Never2501 visits Chicago

Posted on August 31, 2013 by Patrick Hull

After just finishing a mural for Atlanta’s Living Walls, Vertical Gallery was very pleased to host Italian artist Never2501 for 10 days in Chicago. Known for his minimalist abstract lines and shapes in black and white, with the occasional gold or silver, 2501 painted three different murals.

Located on the front of 1706 E. 79th St. in the South Shore neighborhood, he spent 3 days painting the front of this building as part of the SITE Chicago wall mural project:

Never 2501 Chicago South Shore

Located on the front of 2926 N. Broadway in the Lakeview neighborhood, 2501 spent a day painting a building that will be a new Oyster Bar:

Never 2501 Broadway Chicago 1Never 2501 Broadway Chicag0

Photos of the third wall will be posted soon. Check out Street Art News for his upcoming print release and updates on his new projects.

Contact us at the gallery if you are interested in original work from Never2501. We look forward to welcoming him back to Chicago in 2014!

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Prints vs. Printmaking by Andrea Knarr

Posted on August 26, 2013 by Patrick Hull

I do think that the concept of "printing" this gallery show (The Economics of Art 2013) is presenting is intriguing but, if I read it correctly, somewhat different from what printmakers like me are doing. For us, there is no "original" other than the print itself (called a "multiple original") in which the plate, block or stone is created by the artist from his or her own drawing etc., and is meant to be a fine art print. The image does not exist as anything else. An etching, for example, is made by drawing, then etching the image on the copper or other metal plate and cannot be printed other than by hand-wiping the plate every time the print is pulled. Then, if a digital copy were to be made of the printed image, it is not considered “original art” but is called a “reproduction”.

But the boundaries are becoming blurred because some work is created digitally and then hand-printed - often these are made as screen prints as my students do, but not always. Where "original" comes into play is whether the imagery is uniquely the vision of the artist, or whether it is "appropriated" from another source. If the main import of the imagery comes mostly from someone else’s work, we consider it plagiarism. An “original print” is one that is created to be a print by the artist on a matrix that is inked and printed by hand.

The digital revolution has wrecked havoc on the understanding of fine art printmaking - very few people knew what an original print was before digital prints came on the scene and now it is near impossible for us to catch up in PR - but it has opened up new tools for us as well.

Side by side comparisons of digital and hand-produced work are an effective way to sensitize the eye to the nuances in surfaces and the palpable experience of the hand in the work. A digital print conceived and printed solely through digital media has its own cache, but it is not to be confused with traditional printmaking aesthetics.


Andrea Knarr, Senior Lecturer
Head of Printmaking
Department of Visual Arts
Northern Kentucky University

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