“Bile.” -Trump caricature.


The hate flowing from Donald Trump’s mouth shows no sign of ceasing…and although he might appeal to a certain demographic of white men who fear hispanics and hate women, that group is shrinking. Will Trump be remembered as a maverick tycoon? Or will we talk of his four bankruptcies and million dollar loan from daddy? “Trump” the name used to be a real estate logo. Now he’s the symbol of a dying america…an out-of-touch, withering, Twentieth Century business man with nothing to say and plenty to yell about.

Shift/Place: Christopher Breedlove – a Chicago Retrospective.

Breed Love stickerJoin us as we bid farewell to Christopher Breedlove, an artist and community leader who has called Chicago home for the last decade.

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Embodying the true breadth of a multimedia artistic practice, Christopher creates across the spectrum. Whether it be interactive installation, large-scale fabrication, 3-dimensional art, collaborative screen printing, intimate wall pieces, or even any combination of these, his designs and themes reference a repeating concept: what it means to be human in the digital age.

Christopher uses the form and function of high technologies to examine, deconstruct and remix the intricate designs of the natural world around us, presenting them with a compositional grace rarely seen in this genre.


He has served residencies at Idea Fabrication Labs in Chico, California and the Dream Community in Taiwan. His work has been presented at the TaiXi International Arts Festival in Taiwan, Envision festival in Costa Rica, the Mid-West’s Electric Forest and Infrasound festivals, as well as Symbiosis and Burning Man in the western United States. Locally he has done storefront interiors, gallery exhibitions, and street art, and also deployed his mobile screen-printing project, Remixed Ink.


In addition to these diverse art endeavors, Christopher has worked with Burners Without Borders (BWB) to facilitate numerous community grant salons that have granted thousands of dollars for projects both in the U.S. and abroad.

This is the second time Pen, Ink & Song has been honored to show his art. Christopher was resident artist at PI&S in the summer of 2014, creating a body of work called “Momentum.” It’s a bittersweet occasion, as he is setting his sights on California this fall, to fill the role of Program Manager of BWB at the Burning Man Organization’s San Francisco headquarters. Still up view is Kevin Fair’s Guest-check swarm, and the rest of the labyrinthine Flatiron Arts Building will be open for First Friday festivities surrounding the annual “Now You See It – Now You Don’t” temporary mural show.  Come get lost! -PI&S

1579 N Milwaukee Ave, Studio #344, Chicago, IL 60622 / Oct 2nd, 7-11PM

Kevin Fair’s Guest Check Swarm: Aug 7th – Jan 1st.

11863273_10100660882263470_1926922817728595459_nWicker Park artist Kevin Fair uses a canvas that we’ve all seen many times – a mundane office supply that can be found in almost every restaurant – but one that he is able to transform into a one-of-a-kind pen and ink mini-masterpiece. Kevin has mastered the art of the guest check ink pad. The best part? He does it while he works – as a server – at downtown Chicago’s legendary Miller’s Pub.


The familiar green and white stripes recede behind the structured chaos of Kevin’s lines, which blend cross-hatching with psychedelic eyes, faces, landscapes and twisting, checkerboard galaxies. They are little worlds that one can get lost in, and the fact that they come uniquely pre-numbered adds to the whimsey. And under the art is a hand-written food order! M.B. Abrams gallery in Los Angeles has already recognized Kevin’s talent; when the gallerist was in town and dining at Miller’s, Kevin waited on him and sold him four guest checks. Now Kevin is represented in L.A.!

We’re going to put up a whole swarm of these little gems, so come experience them and the rest the Flatiron Arts building Aug 7th,  6 – 10 pm.


Pen, Ink & Circus – Hanna Mandelbaum

Brooklyn-based visual artist, arial performer and entrepreneur Hanna Mandelbaum sees a similarity between circus training and ink drawing- “Even what appear to be simple circus tricks can take years to master and require the coordinated engagement of every muscle. When drawing my subjects, I build them up slowly one small line at a time, much like one develops any difficult skill.”

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Hailing from Kingston, NY, Hanna studied at the University of Chicago, and stayed in Chicago afterwards to paint while she worked as a bike messenger. After moving to New York, she took up trapeze. “I’ve been drawing and painting for as long as I can remember, but circus entered my life seven years ago. I have a pair of angora rabbits to thank for my love affair with trapeze. What started as barter – bunny sitting for lessons –  grew over time to be as much of a practice for me as visual arts.”

Hanna’s lines evoke the feel of lithography, and like circus itself, these images seem to hail from a time before photography. Hanna is primarily known for her paintings, which bring to mind everything from Franz Marc to Gustav Klimt. These ink drawings are a brand new body of work, created during a brief hiatus from training due to a shoulder injury (Circus people get hurt. A lot.) Hanna turned to her sketchbook – “I realized that even if I was temporarily grounded, I could still engage with circus through art.”

Hanna and her partner Noah Price (executive director of NY’s Gowanus Circus) have been heavily involved in the creation of New York’s newest circus haven, The Muse, an incredible circus school and multi-use space in a colossal warehouse near Harry Houdini’s grave. Hanna is also co-owner of Evermore Petfood, a small company that makes dogfood of a higher quality than most human food.

Join us for an opening reception set to coincide with Flatiron First Friday on June 5th, from 6 to 10pm.

We’ll be hosting an informal artist talk June 18th at 8pm, and the show will remain open during the entirety of the incredible, sprawling second annual Chicago Contemporary Circus Festival.  We’re just one stop North on the Blue Line from the Chopin Theatre.  -PI&S



“Behind the Panel” Comix Show at Templehead Gallery

Chicago, gritty, frost-blasted home to some of the underground’s most bizarre and fascinating comix-creators. Now, on display and debuting this March 20th, 21 exceptional artists give a glimpse into their creative process, with sketchbook pages,


notes, drawing references & inspirational ephemera on display in a group exhibition presented by Templehead Gallery.

Live Long and Prosper (Farewell to Leonard Nimoy)

“Leonard Nimoy helped me with my atheism,” recalls a friend of mine who grew up in West Texas, which seems about as far away as Vulcan. We were chatting as I drew this image yesterday, after hearing of the actor’s death.


It is well known that Gene Roddenberry built the original Star Trek series around the Greek archetypes. Pathos and Ethos (Bones and Kirk) have inhabited countless screen heroes, but its hard to find a greater celebration of Logos anywhere in the cultural landscape than in our beloved Spock. My mother used to remind me that while people can be inconstant, music and reason are “the friends we can rely on for life.” Another piece of wisdom she dispensed: “Don’t smoke.”

Chicago Bike Winter Art Show Poster

Design for the 18th annual Chicago Bike Winter Art Show.  Inspired by Hokusai and the original Chicago municipal device (the Y signifying Wolf Point, hidden in so many of Chicago’s bridges, streetlights and portals). Submit to chicagobikewinter@gmail.com!


Co-curators Steven Lane and Stuart Hall are looking to make this year’s show one of the most ambitious to date.  Opening party at the Genesis Art Supply gallery Fri. Feb 6 (2525 N. Elston) Submission deadline- Sunday Feb. 1st. submit to: chicagobikewinter@gmail.com


Retro/modern Sideshow Banner

In the style of great sideshow banner artists such as Snap Wyatt and Johnny Meah, a 3′ by 7′ tall sideshow banner for Chicago-based performance artist Shorty Belle, who’s trademark act (for now) is renegade aerial silks.


Acrylic on heavy canvas, with glitter-faux accents and bedazzled copper rings in the corners, to duplicate the slightly worn look and well-travelled feel of the real thing. Inspired by a photo taken by Philamanjaro at the 2013 North Halsted Halloween parade, where the Freakeasy crew put together an incredible spectacle: Shorty dangled three stories above the parade from a moving construction crane/float, decorated to look like her silks were the forked tongue of a giant evil clown.  All this took place in a consistent light freezing rain.


“Let Hope Rise” original painting sells at Beggars Banquet auction.

On Saturday, October 18th, PI&S neighbors Collaboraction Theater held their 14th annual Beggar’s Banquet fundraiser and auction at the Chop Shop in Wicker Park. Among the auction items was a Karlis Kandero painting specially created for the event, focusing on the key phrase and most intense moment from Collaboraction’s original hit play “Crime Scene: a Chicago Anthology.”


The show was on tour in the sumer of 2014 throughout Chicago’s parks, and in this scene from the play, actor Shavac Prakash mourns his fallen friend, based on the photo by Cesario Magnifique.  The finished acrylic painting measured 48″ by 36″, and included actual CPD crime scene tape. The painting sold for $850, with all proceeds going back to Collaboraction’s efforts to use socially conscious theater as a tool to incite positive change in Chicago and beyond.

Building Momentum; PI&S Summer 2014 Resident Artist Christopher Breedlove.

We’re excited to feature “Momentum,” a new body of work by Christopher Breedlove opening Friday, August 1st (A WPB “Orange Dot ” First Friday) from 6pm to 10pm.  Much of it was created during his summer residency at Pen, Ink & Song.

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Christopher’s unique process blends natural elements such as found wood and screenprinting with the most (literally) cutting-edge laser technology, acrylic and metal to produce pieces that transcend genre and look like nothing else out there.  His work includes large scale interactive installation, heavy sculpture, delicate 3D art, fabric, woodcut and intimate wall pieces.  He references natural forms, sacred geometries and fractals, but also the form and function of the high tech tools used to create these shapes. Some of these pieces have been described as transformers “mid-transformation.” Breedlove’s art trembles at the intersection of cyberpathy and nature-reverence. He’s so varied and prolific, a visitor to PI&S these days might suspect that seven different artists working in similar styles have been producing pieces here…

It’s been a busy few years for Mr. Breedlove, and he shows no signs of stopping. Two years ago he travelled to Taiwan, where he created the Taixi Wind Temple sculpture at the TaiXi International Arts Festival. Last year he produced a group of amazing pieces called “Digital Seed” during a residency at IFL (Idea Fabrication Labs) in Chico, California. He has continued to evolve and expand his Human Avatar Project, a massive interactive projection installation that has become a fixture at the Electric Forest Festival in Rothbury, Michigan. Just this Summer, his work has already been featured in two group shows, “Zen Station: Desert Dreams” (curated by Marci Rubin) and “Emergence,” a Mako James opening at Chicago Art Department.

He’s building momentum, and its a pleasure to see him at work in the studio, putting the finishing touches on what will no doubt be one of the most exciting First Fridays of the year. Don’t miss it, and make sure to visit the other open studios in this historic artists’ colony. As usual there will be refreshments and live music throughout the building. Come get lost in the Flatiron!



Pen Ink, & Song

in the

The Flatiron Arts Building

1579 North Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL. 60622 Studio #344

6-10pm, Friday, August 1st.