An out-pouring of local talent and collaborative energy
We wanted to do something epic, something we've never seen before, and something that brought talented people together in an interesting way. We set about to plan and create a massive exquisite corpse that would independently involve 40 local Chicago urban artists. The collaboration was secret to keep the mystique behind the curation intact. There was planning, scouting, inviting, communicating, prepping, and more planning and prepping. Over the corse of 5 months, the project was coming to life. As the pieces came together,an epic piece that is not only a composition of wildly creative proportions but a collaboration unlike anything most have experienced came together.
See the project come together from the prep to presentation with an event that brought in a healthy 200 viewers during the opening. Nerd City was there to cover the event live, check out the footage.
Art from the Collective
As Chicago artists, a few of the group members participated in making art for the corpse.
Joe Call & Andrew Thompson
Lana Crooks & Joey Potts
How It all went down
Goal, create something awesome people want to experience. In the process, unite local artist in an interesting way to make connections that might not have had the chance otherwise. To have the event, we needed a name - a theme to circle around and carry our message. We brainstormed and discussed a number of directions and themes, but kept coming back to the idea of togetherness. As an art community we create awesome things, and the relationships we make influence the work we produce.
We Need Each Other, was what stuck and thus became the name for the show. It drove our theme and was the underlying message we gave to each artist that created work for the event. A loose enough theme that didn't creatively constrict the artist, but enough direction to create work around.
With a show name and theme, we created a look and feel that would tie all the collateral together and represent the show them in a unified way. The corpse mosaic as our main event piece in the curation gave us a lot of inspiration to draw from. We liked the idea of playing off the historical character to the game for aesthetics.
Mood board samples
We collected some inspiration and created some mood boards to capture our thoughts on type, color, and textures we could incorporate. From there, we made some digital comps to try and capture the right tone. Some revisions allowed us to arrive at a design we were proud to share out.
WNEO Look and Feel Sample
The Invitation Process
With a look and feel in place, we set out to brand the experience and start reaching out to the community. A call for entries! Part of the planning accounted for out reach and organization of the show collective. We had a master list of artist we wanted to invite, and kept track of those interested in participating. We created a simple webpage where invitees were directed to sign up. We reached out to over 150 artist around Chicago about the event, and had a hand picked selection of artists to invite for the corpse composition.
WNEO Invitation collateral
With the invitations out and the responses coming back, we shifted gears towards the planning and production around the main event.
There were a variety of ways we could approach the design challenge behind an enormous corpse collaboration. Our space constraint, money, and production method were all variables we considered in how we approached problem. We decided to use one foot by one foot wood squares to make up the corpse mosaic. It was cheap, easy to create art on, carries a sense of value, and would be easy for use to piece together in a stable assembly. And so began the production of the show...
To assemble the corpse accordingly, we had to divide up the production into 2 phases each a month long. This would allow us to have something to work from to support the corpse element of the mosaic composition. within our space we had set up a 16 x 5 grid of 1x1 foot squares. Each square alternating between phase 1 & 2.
One board would be free formed and whatever their minds could create. The second board would be delivered with small strips of paper showing what the boards around it had at the edges. The instruction for board 2 was incorporate the color, lines, shapes, etc. from the strips into their composition. The theme still being the same, but now influenced blindly by the little information they had about the boards surrounding theres.
After we had the materials prepped and our roster ready, we asked the artists to come get their boards for the mosaic. When they arrived, we had the artists pick places within the grid, one for each phase. We didn't disclose whom had chosen which squares to keep the collaboration blind. A lot of artist were excited by the mystic and were anxious to see how their boards were being incorporated within the unified piece.
Promotion & Merch
The event was in motion and things were going accordingly. We had time to discuss how we wanted to get the word out and the ways we could promote the event in a cool way. We discussed merchandise and other cool products we could design and make for the special event as well. Collaborating together we created a promotional video, Limited Edition T-Shirt, Button packs, and other cool swag.
Event collateral and other promotional art
To help promote the show, local video artist and production powerhouse Oddmachine stepped in to support in creating and directing the shoot. The concept behind the video was a slide puzzle. We would move the boards in a sequence where in the end they all connected and lined up as a way to capture the corpse aspect to the show, and not give away too much. Odd machine helped produce and edit the video after a day of shooting.
The event was an opportunity for us to create custom artwork for products like t-shirts, buttons, and stickers. We used the theme of the show to inspire us in making a collaborative illustration for the flyer promotion, print, and t-shirt designs. We also used it as a floor application to carry the show experience into the space.
Promotional collabo illustration
Button pack art work
In the process of making pieces for the show as artists, designing & creating promotional materials, and making art for merchandise, we still had to get ready for the show. As the boards all came in, we got to hanging the main event.
Putting Together a Corpse
Over the corse of a week we received art, and worked to hang the show. We ended up took the opportunity to dress up the place, and wanted to present the main event properly. After it was hung, we built a custom frame around the exquisite corpses piece and covered it with curtains to unveil the night of.
Andrew Thompson & Joe Call measuring and hanging each board in order.
We assembled the boards on the wall, working backward and stacking the boards on top of each other. 5 rows later, the whole corpse was assembled and was quite a site to take in. Excited to present the finished piece to the public, we finished up the show prep around the shop and prepared for the opening night.
The Big Night
On October 11, we opened the doors to the public. The night was a huge success, seeing close to 200 visitors over the course of the evening. DJ's, drinks, and dancing entertained the crowd as they socialized around the art on display. Seeing the energy in the event was worth all the effort and work to put together the show. All through the night the artist that participated shared their positive remarks about the show and the end piece. It was a delightful experience to be a part of, and one they will not forget.