Typography in Chicago

So, as a graphic designer, I definitely have a soft spot for beautiful typography. I am especially fond of stumbling upon it in unexpected places like a laundromat or gas station.

It’s amazing how discrete yet vital text is to a society. I find that it is this generation of designers responsibility to once and for all put to rest the text vs. type question. What comes first the chicken or the egg? What is more important the message or the way in which it is visually expressed?

Typography can be just as important as the point it is trying to make. As Comic Sans designer Vincent Connare so eloquently explained after years of harassment, there is a time and place to use Comic Sans just as any other font and that time and place is not on the side of an ambulance.

this one I just threw in. I took this picture at the Art Institute of Chicago of letterpressed covers and designs for ReD.

Anne Wilson and Judy Ledgerwood Exhibition at Rhona Hoffman

Judy Ledgerwood’s dramatic and florid wall paintings can be seen in the gallery windows of Rhona Hoffman (118 N Peoria St # 1A Chicago, IL 60607-2394) from miles away; if only the busy Chicago landscape was not such a hindrance. The installation consits of three hand painted floor to ceiling wall pieces reminiscent of an industrial textile.  The drips from the paint, are similar to fringe and seep down the walls before disappearing into the floor.

Her other pieces in the gallery consist of brightly and often grotesque tumor-like sculptures. The pieces, created of urethane foam, seem dry and lethargic in relation to the sentient wall paintings. Despite the unique material, this work is reminiscent of that which I have seen in the past and comes off as experimentation rather than a finished body of work.

The real gem for me was the work in the back room of the gallery by Anne Wilson. Large panels of glass are displayed about an inch off of the floor  and feature hundreds of molten glass spools. The color scheme consists of black, grays, fleshy tones of pinks and white. Anne talked about the topographical use of a rug as the inspiration for the low display and the sorting aesthetic one might use to keep thread organized as the concept for the color placement. She compared the act of taking a tool typically used for fiber arts and re-creating it out of precious glass with the notion of casting baby shoes in bronze. The bridge between the different medias transforms the identity of the object into something quite different from its original created intention. The lighting on the piece seems so natural and is incredibly effective in contrast to the shadowed walls that surround it. The sensation when viewing the piece is precious as though it is a religious artifact that is symbolic of ones personal practice. The audience is invited to sit on mats on the floor and view the piece from below. From this angle the glass creates a landscape with rolling hills as far as the eye can see.

The other pieces displayed consist of glass weaving tools and spools of thread as well as a woven tapestry created from human hair. The entire body of work gives me a nostalgic sensation reminding me of objects that I own which have no meaning to anyone else but are portals for me into my past. This cross cultural desire to create family emblems that can be passed down from generation to generation, makes for a thought provoking concept that can be understood by anyone from any economic or social background. Anne Wilson’s work is a great inspiration and really verbalizes a theme so abstract that it can be compared to the roping of a mustang. Naturally, released back to freedom after a brief encounter.

Written by Megan Pryce





Allyson Mitchell

This gallery contains 4 photos.

ALLYSON MITCHELL I first saw Allyson Mitchell speak at the Art Institute of Chicago last November(? I believe). She is a self-proclaimed queer activist and coined the term Deep Lez which represents a new age movement geared towards “maintaining the … Continue reading

Artist of the month

Meghann Altomare

When did you become interested in photography?

My first job was working at a local photo lab; I was 14. My boss was a photographer and a lot of my coworkers were also. We had a lot of spare time and I worked through photoshop magazines and couldn’t wait until I got my own camera.

Explain your process of conceptualizing your work

I take my camera wherever I go. Half of the time I don’t have a concept to start with, but it presents itself as I work.

What or whom has been your favorite subject?

My grandmother, definitely. She is so expressive without trying to be. She doesn’t pose for the camera and she isn’t worried about how she looks. It helps that she is one of my favorite people in the world, so I like to take care of her in a way when i photograph her.

If you could sum up your work in three words what would they be?

honest, straight-forward, intimate.

Does your lifestyle influence your work?

Yes. I tend to photograph the people around me that I care about the most. I never realized how much I photographed my family, but it has become increasingly important to me. Over the past few years I’ve become interested in food production and local farms. I met a cattle farmer at a farmers market in my home town and became friends with him and have visited his ranch a few times, and it’s so wonderful because he’s thrilled that someone my age is even interested and I’m thrilled because he doesn’t mind my questions! I think it’s great when a cattle farmer and his wife are willing to show me their life when I’m an urban vegan artist.

Who are you most inspired by?

My family.

What are you doing when you aren’t photographing?

I have a new found love for printmaking, but also reading and napping.

If you could collaborate with anyone dead of alive who would you chose?

Robert ParkeHarrison, probably. I love his work and he has found a way to bring environmental issues into his photography in a way I can’t seem to do. I’m also interested in his sets and how he manipulates the negatives before he prints them.

If you would like to contact this artist or apply to be a future artist of the month, please email us at: urbnbloom@yahoo.com

Theme for December: Hibernation

Hibernation is a period of inactivity in animals (typically mammals, birds can torpor which is seen as a short term or temporary version) which functions like a time capsule. By lowering their body temperature and metabolic rates animals can sleep through the winter and wake up to a time when food is plentiful. Hibernation can also be thought of as a stagnant period before change, awakening from hibernation usually results in a flurry of activity. A good idea often has to “over-winter” requiring a time of inactivity to become fully formed and to gain insight.

Very recently a baby mammoth was discover in Russian who had been essentially hibernating for last 40,000 years only to become the focus of large exhibit at the Field Museum (Mammoths and Mastodons: Titans of the Ice Age). Named Lyuba (pronounced Lee-OO-bah) after the wife of the reindeer herder who discovered her, she made headlines around the world as a remarkably preserved specimen, giving researchers rare insights into the lives and habits of her extinct species.

learn more here:


We will be following up with more articles and theories throughout the month but please feel free to come to your own conclusions and ways of conceptualizing the piece. Work in any medium you prefer. If it is a video or story, we will make it work. If you have any questions feel free to email us at urbnbloom@yahoo.com. And as always, pass it on. The more people we get involved the better.
Submissions will be taken until the 23th of this  month, but honestly the earlier we get them the better. The December issue will be posted New Years Day!!
Thanks guys! 

November Issue is here at last!

Check out the new issue! Sorry for the wait. Thank you for everyone who contributed.

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download it here: novemberissue

Artist included this month are:

Austen Clements, Alex Zak, Boris  Ran, Jessica Dean Camp, Kelsey Keaton, Max Shepard, Megan Pryce, Michelle Wang, Sarah Carolan, and Sarah Legow


The next issue will be out tomorrow, but here is preview to tide you over until then…


Name: Lauren Smith

1. Describe your methods for creating art.

When faced with a blank canvas or a white sheet of paper, I feel the urge to destroy it. Nothing is more mocking than the color white. Armed with an outrageous paintbox I attack the painting with color. I lay down down paint quickly just to get my hand in the piece. As the painting develops I slow down and consider light, texture, and a generous amount of artistic license when considering color. Blocked portions of color pool into their complimentary creating cracks of pigment I can not control. Having a fervent attitude while maintaining a sense of chance in my painting may seem contradictory, however it is this balance that continues to surprise and inspire me.

2. What are you most inspired by?
Stained glass has been a constant source of inspiration for me not merely for its material or context but for its light. The colors a glass window can display so vividly when pierced with sunlight has inspired an entire aesthetic for my watercolors. I tend to compartmentalize even in my personal life, which also reflects in my painting style.

3. What are your long term goals for your practice?

My watercolors will always play an important role in my artistic endeavors, however I firmly believe in experimentation in material. For myself, I explore many different mediums including fiber, glass, and ornamental objects, but my bread and butter will forever be painting. I hope to inspire the imagination with my illustrations and also to encourage a new way of looking at the natural world.

4. List three adjectives that describe you

Colorful, Playful, Zealous

5. What hobbies do you have outside of making art?

Recently I have delved into the world of sustainable agriculture. While maintaining a rooftop garden over the summer I’ve volunteered at Chicago City Farm and found myself constantly bulldozing through books on the food industry and the politics involved over vegetation. Basically my 2 great loves: Art and FOOD.

6. Who are your favorite artists? Why?

Gustav Klimt- because he is a genius
Eric Carle- because he inspired me from day 1
Peggy Macnamera- because she reminds me it’s ok to be lost and confused every day of your life

7. If you could have a drink with one person dead or alive, who would it be?

Albus Dumbledore

8. If you could only have three materials to work with for the rest of your life, what would they be?

the windsor & newton travel watercolor set, a nice # 6 round tipped brush, and a glass of red wine

To see more of Lauren’s work visit,


If you are interested in being an artist of the month, please contact us at, urbnbloom@yahoo.com


Unexpected Bloom…

This gallery contains 2 photos.

So, another digression  to Detroit (although seeing as both founders are originally from the area it may not be surprising). A powerful example of urban bloom, the photo documentation of  Scott Hocking’s installation on the abandoned Packard Automobile plant is … Continue reading


Taking a Leif from the the Vikings….

This gallery contains 1 photos.

Want a green roof? Here is a great example that was brought to my attention…. These types of turf roofs are a product of viking ingenuity and can still be found today in different parts of Scandinavia, the photos above … Continue reading