Street Art

Wall Sessions: Left Handed Wave in Chicago

January 11, 2018

As we mentioned a few days ago in our recap of Salt Lake City artist Chuck Landvatter, over the past year we have teamed with mural artists from around the United States on the "Wall Sessions" project with Boost Mobile. We asked each artist in a city they live or work near to create a site-specific mural, and in Chicago, Illinois, a city famous for its public art and grand sculptures, Left Handed Wave once again went with a stylized, colorful pattern work. We checked in with the Chicago-based artist after his mural work to talk about working in public and winters in the Windy City.

Juxtapoz
: What's your favorite part about working in public? 
Left Handed Wave: Having interactions with people who live in the neighborhood is always the coolest part of working in public. I like hearing from those who know their block, what used to be there, the history, the secrets, the gossip, the little things that make a place significant.

Do you still remember the first mural you did?
Of course. I painted the back of this old punk rock shop in Chicago called The Alley. I had initially put a wheat paste on the front of their store and they put a note in the window saying they would hire me to paint a mural. At first I brushed it off thinking it was bait to get me in trouble but the shop ended up tracking me down and it turned out to be a really cool gig for my first mural. Unfortunately the building was torn down this past year and the mural is no longer.

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How separate is your public art practice from your studio work?
My practices aren't so separate. It could be a small work on paper or a large scale mural, I use similar techniques and execute in the same manor. If I'm not painting outside, I'm making work to put up outside the same way.

If you are working on a gallery show, or paintings in general, do you like to have a mural project come up to get you outside a bit? Is it a good way to stretch your legs and sort of change the pace up a bit?
I'm always open to new mural projects no matter what I may be working on in the moment. Painting outside always brings a few curveballs. Every wall is different; scale, texture, location, timeline. All of these hurdles require perseverance and can be very challenging. As an artist I need these things to stay sharp, keeps me focused in a profession where the pace can change drastically from gig to gig.

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What did you create for this particular mural project?
I broke down the heavily logo based imagery I would normally use and blended it into a more cohesive pattern like design. It's recognizably Left Handed Wave but totally different than what I'm used to producing.

What do you have coming up next?
Winter in Chicago tends to slow the pace on outdoor work so I've been concentrating on my second line of plush toys, some would call them soft sculptures. They drop over the holidays and will be available on our new site, lefthandedwave.com!

Follow all the Juxtapoz x Boost Mobile Wall Sessions stories here

photography by Halopigg