Inkling’s May gallery showcase “The CTA Experience” by Chicago street artist Nice-One. It’s a journey to the end of the line on every line; a collection of paintings, photographs, mix media inspired by riding on Chicago’s CTA.
Here’s more information on the artist and his artform:
Graffiti. There, I said it. Graffiti: that dirty word, that nasty concept. That simple term that good, law-abiding citizens use to describe a crime that has been committed. And for the majority of our society, that’s what graffiti is. A crime.
But there are others for whom that word is so much more. For some, graffiti is a lifestyle, a challenge, and a revolution. Yes, a crime, always a crime. A crime just waiting to be committed, and those who do will each have their own individual reasons. There are overlapping similarities, sure; the adrenaline rush of breaking a law, or the chance to remind society that the world is what we make it.
Then there is street art, an easier pill for society to swallow, but often unpleasant for them, nonetheless. Purists of the graffiti world might tell you that graff and street art are two entirely different things, and indeed they are different. But chances are if a person does a lot of one, they do some of the other. Because at the end of the day, it all comes down to art and expression, lines and colors, many colors in as many places as possible.
What does any of this have to do with Nice-One? Well, he’s all these things, and more. Over the years his colors and characters have become a standard part of the Chicago scenery. But his street work has also found its way into other cities across the country: New York, New Orleans, Denver, Cincinnati, and even Savannah, Georgia. And although the core of this art movement will always be in the streets, why shouldn’t it go a bit further? Nice-One also painted a number of characters and murals for a local middle school while in Savannah. These are the types of events that turn a lifestyle into a career. pasting characters on the streets in the morning, and being asked to paint legal murals in the evening. He recently did an installation Downtown with Pop-Up Loop Chicago and Chicago Urban Arts Society at State and Adams. He’s participated in a number of gallery shows over the past couple years, but even that isn’t enough. So he has helped promote the HOTBOX, a bread truck turned mobile art gallery, on its United Streets of America tour. They plan on filling it with art and driving it all over the country this summer, bringing creativity with them everywhere they go.
It always seems to start with a marker and a name. And for some, that’s all the further it goes. But for Nice-One that was only the beginning. There is always more, new styles, new cities, new ideas, legal or not, paste-ups or murals, here or there… Each new thing is just one more step in a journey that never ends.
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