Solo show from DOES opens June 13th

Solo show from DOES opens June 13th


DOES: Transition
June 13 - July 31, 2015

Opening Reception: Saturday, June 13th from 6pm - 9pm.

Maxwell Colette Gallery is proud to present Transition, a solo show from the renowned Dutch graffiti artist DOES. The exhibition features recent mixed media paintings on canvas, including large scale work up to 18 feet in length. This will be the artist’s first solo show in Chicago and debut exhibition with the gallery.

Transition presents a body of text-based paintings where words are visually imploded and reconstituted as aggregations of disarticulated, smoldering letterforms. These compositions seem to levitate in space, dripping and melting away at their edges into the painting’s etherial, minimalist backgrounds. DOES portrays the forms with incredible accuracy and attention to detail; rendering them nearly hyper-realistic. His technical mastery is stunning, and the paintings push beyond the boundaries of traditional graffiti into a more conceptual and painterly territory where shapes and colors assume narrative and present reflections of our frenetic post-modern society.

Though traditional letterforms remain his passion, Transition finds DOES exploring new ground both visually and conceptually. The artist explains: “while my roots are in graffiti, I don’t like to limit myself to only one discipline. I think it’s more interesting to take elements from different movements and incorporate them into my work.” As the title implies, the paintings in Transition are the result of a period of heightened creative development, and provide an exciting glimpse into his unique aesthetic evolution.

Transition opens on Saturday, June 13, 2015 with an artist’s reception from 6 - 9pm. The show continues through the end of July.

About the Artist: DOES was born in 1982 in Veghel, The Netherlands. Though he has been active in graffiti since 1997, soccer was his first love. At the age of 9 he was chosen to train with the youth selection of one of the country’s professional soccer clubs. His disciplined nature, focus and dedication eventually won him a spot on a team in the highest division. Throughout his soccer career he lead a double life; balancing the public persona of a professional athlete with the secret life of an underground graffiti writer. When an injury ended his athletic pursuits at the age of 28, DOES took it as an opportunity to focus solely on his art. He quickly carved out a reputation as one of the best practitioners of the craft, and today his work is featured in  exhibitions and collections across the globe.

Mint & Serf: Support, Therapy and Instability

Mint & Serf: Support, Therapy and Instability

For Immediate Release And Listing
MINT & SERF: Support, Therapy and Instability
November 7 - December 31, 2014

Opening Reception: Friday, November 7th from 6pm - 9pm.

Chicago, IL-  This November, Maxwell Colette Gallery presents Support, Therapy and Instability, a show of new paintings from New York City based graffiti writers Mint & Serf. This will be the artists’ Chicago debut and will showcase their large-scale works on canvas.

Mint & Serf make visceral artwork that challenges the tenuous relationship between graffiti and contemporary art. In a scene dominated by artists who polish and objectify graffiti to make it palatable for consumption, Mint & Serf are a visually dangerous anomaly. Their paintings explore graffiti reduced down to it’s most primal and weaponized form. The work is raw and fearless, imbued with a savage elegance and narcotic sheen. 

For Mint & Serf the creative process is one of collaboration occasionally involving other members of their crew (the Peter Pan Posse or PPP). In these instances the canvases are worked over many late night sessions in the studio, with successive layers building organically the way they would on the street. In other cases the artists wield a tight curatorial control over the creation process; combining just the right amount of torn paper and scrawl to create dark, powerful work that is more lyrical.

Mint & Serf's paintings have been described as feeling like sections of wall ripped from a seedy dive-bar bathroom or a sketchy abandoned property. There is a palpable authenticity to this work; a grounded realness that is often missing from graffiti-based fine art. These layers of paint, ink and paper contain fragmented tags and phrases that are not merely gestures chosen for their decorative value. At the core these are paintings rooted in the action of graffiti rather than simply the aesthetic.

About the Artists: Mint and Serf live and work in New York City. Their artwork has been exhibited both nationally and internationally and they have collaborated with diverse brands including the Ace Hotel, Marc Jacobs, Soho House and the New York Yankees, among others. Their recent press includes Art Forum,Interview Magazine, and the LA Times. Additional information may be found on their

Greg Mike: Pigment of My Imagination

Greg Mike: Pigment of My Imagination

For Immediate Release
Greg Mike: Pigment Of My Imagination
August 23 - October 4, 2014

Opening Reception: Saturday, August 23rd, from 6pm - 10pm.


Maxwell Colette Gallery is thrilled to announce Pigment of My Imagination, new paintings from Atlanta-based artist and designer Greg Mike. This will be his first solo exhibition in Chicago.

Pigment of My Imagination features paintings from Greg Mike’s latest body of work. The selections embody the saturated colors and classic cartoon imagery that has come to be expected from the artist, but these works have at their thematic core an exploration of interactions, connectivity, and relationships in the contemporary world. Not allowing these themes to rest lightly on the surface, Greg Mike has buried them under deconstructed cartoon imagery, punctuated by his highly refined color palette and concise line work. The resulting abstract shapes create an alternate atmosphere where intersecting colored elements create multiple narratives and evoke memories and feelings. Greg Mike says that he finds inspiration for this work in “everything from the 1920’s rubber hose animation to present day pop culture”. Pigment of My Imagination is, in his words: “a culmination of both past and present with a glimpse into the future.”

About the Artist: Currently based in Atlanta, GA, Greg Mike is an artist and designer. He is the founder and creative director of ABV, a multi-platform studio specializing in branding, apparel design and visual production. He has been widely exhibited in the US including shows in California, Georgia, Florida and New York and his murals have been reproduced both in print and online by a number of publications.

Greg Mike was exposed to the creative potential of reimagined public spaces through his trips to NYC in the mid-’80s.  As a youth obsessed with the boundless energy and crisp line work of iconic American mid-century cartoons as well as the bombast of classic NYC street art, he began using walls to fuse these two passions together. Further inspired by his deep involvement with skate culture and his intersections with the fashion world, Greg Mike has become known for pieces that incorporate vivid explosions of incandescent color filtered through a Surrealist Pop Art perspective.

Ian HYDEON Ferguson: Mass Contemplation

Ian HYDEON Ferguson: Mass Contemplation

For Immediate Release
Hydeon: Mass Contemplation
June 20 - July 31, 2014

Opening Reception: Friday, June 20th, from 6pm - 10pm.

Chicago, IL [May 28, 2014] Maxwell Colette Gallery is proud to present Mass Contemplation, featuring new work from celebrated Chicago-based illustrator Ian “Hydeon” Ferguson. This will be the artist’s first exhibition with the gallery.

Ian Ferguson’s work blends street art, fine art, and graphic design into surreal contemporary Americana, full of metaphor, and designed to intrigue and provoke. Reacting to a world he perceives as being “dominated by the exploitation of oversized lifestyles”, Ferguson presents images of a minimized existence. It is a world of tiny houses, pointy boots, hobo shacks and mountains populated by fantastic beings called ‘herms’. Ferguson’s vision is steeped in nostalgia and punctuated by a spiritual connection with nature.

Mass Contemplation will showcase Ferguson’s new india ink drawings on paper. It will will also present a site specific installation titled ‘Terra Firma Shelter’, which will re-create one of his tiny shelters in human-scale. Ferguson says “the simple and compact design of the shelter structure is meant to embody the ethos of minimal imprint living or the act of simplifying one’s means of basic survival... [The Installation] is to be visually received like a ship in a bottle absorbed by an old west ghost town.”

In conjunction with Mass Contemplation, the gallery will be releasing Ferguson’s first book, ‘Early Morning Contemplation Over Coffee’. The book features reproductions of the india ink drawings included in the show. The signed and numbered, limited-edition books will come with a signed silk screen print and a pack of HYDEON stickers, and will be available exclusively through Maxwell Colette Gallery.

About the Artist: Ian ‘Hydeon’ Ferguson is a Chicago-based visual artist. He makes work about his life experience and is constantly inspired by his environment. Born and raised in California, he received his BS in Graphic Design from AIC-San Diego in 2006. Four years later he moved to Chicago and founded BARO Records. His art has been featured in Hi Fructose Magazine, Op Magazine, Time Out Chicago and numerous other publications. In 2012 Ferguson was selected as a Chicago Cultural Society Featured Artist for Chicago Artists Month. In 2013 he won the RedBull Canvas Cooler competition in Chicago and exhibited work with RedBull Curates at SCOPE in Miami. Most recently his custom shoe design for Converse was released at Nordstrom in March 2014.

HELLBENT: Past Future Perfect

HELLBENT: Past Future Perfect

For Immediate Release

Hellbent : Past Future Perfect
April 18 - June 7, 2014
Opening Reception: Friday, April 18, from 6pm - 10pm.

Chicago, IL [March 11, 2014]-  Maxwell Colette Gallery is excited to announce Past Future Perfect, a show of new paintings from J. Mikal Davis a.k.a. Hellbent. The Brooklyn-based Davis has achieved acclaim for his unique street art, which fuses intense colors with ornate stenciling of neoclassical patterns to create a bold, freeform geometry. This will be the artist’s first solo exhibition with the gallery and first show in Chicago.

Davis’ paintings for Past Future Perfect are part of his Mix Tape series. These canvases are “elaborate, abstract fields of color and movement, with compositions ranging from organized, quilt-like patterns to completely haphazard bands of weaving color”. They all have their genesis in overspray patterns on the tape Davis uses when spray painting. Strips of this tape are reconfigured into small arrangements that serve as preparatory sketches for the larger pieces. The tape sketches (or ‘demos’ as Davis calls them) are encased in liquid glass and are often displayed alongside the paintings they inspired.  Davis gives the Mix Tape series paintings their names based on songs he heard during the creation process.

Past Future Perfect showcases the evolution of Davis’ style and technique on canvas. The new paintings incorporate subtle shadows that give the intersecting planes of pattern and color an added depth and identity. In some instances he allows the white of the canvas to show through and build an additional dimension. In others, darker tones dominate his pallet and the richly layered forms obscure every millimeter of the canvas ground. Davis sees these newest pieces as being “rooted in the classical tradition of abstraction and the response to music in the art making process” just as the first ventures into abstraction in the early 20th century were reactions to the music of their day. Past Future Perfect is a nod to Davis’ influences while looking ahead to the future of abstraction.

About the Artist: J. Mikal Davis a.k.a. Hellbent began his street art career wheat pasting confrontational slogans around the Deep South of the United States. In 2005, he adopted the name Hellbent from Richard Hell, the influential instigator of punk. His recent abstract murals and street works can be found throughout New York City, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Zurich, Glasgow, and Paris. His work is featured on many blogs and in the books Street Art New York (Prestel 2010), Graffiti New York (Abrahms, 2009), and Outdoor Gallery, New York City (Gingko, 2013). He has had solo shows in New York, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. Currently he lives and works in Brooklyn. More information is available on his website


Peeta : White Out

Peeta : White Out


For Immediate Release

Peeta : White Out
January 11 - March 1, 2014
Opening Reception: Saturday, January 11, from 6pm - 10pm.

Chicago, IL [December 3, 2013} Maxwell Colette Gallery is proud to present White Out, new paintings from the renowned Italian graffiti artist Peeta (Manuel Di Rita). This will be the artist’s first solo exhibition at the gallery.

With his work, Peeta attempts to isolate the sculptural quality of individual letters, namely the ones that spell out his own moniker. He breaks them free from their generic typographical forms, stylizing them with shape and volume beyond their mere semantic function. Thus the lettering is brought into the fluidity of urban culture, where words are continuously ruptured from their own histories and readapted into idiom and gestures learned off the street. Peeta fuses traditional lettering and three dimensional style into a unique visual rhythm of twisting conic and cylindrical surfaces. The choice to represent and reiterate his own name is akin to painting self-portraits.

The exhibition,White Out, will present white-on-white canvases inspired by the aesthetics of crystalline water ice: its consistency, its colors, its perceived changes in shape and texture. Peeta explains “tone on tone canvases are painted with the aim of integrating light and shade with the study of shapes. By using the same color for the object and the background, I am able to isolate the projection of shades in their precise variations while also modulating the contrasts between different tones of the same color.”

Peeta states that the paintings in White Out are an “attempt to render the most deceptive condition that snow can cause; in which visibility and contrast are so severely reduced that no reference point remains, and the individual experiences a distorted orientation.” Far from cold, these new paintings instead exude a "bright, sparkling, total whiteness".

About the Artist: Peeta, also known as Manuel Di Rita, currently lives in Venice. A graffiti artist since 1993, he is a member of the EAD crew (Padova, Italy), FX and RWK crews (New York City) and has been exhibited widely in Europe and the Americas. His work explores the potential of sculptural lettering, both in painting and in sculpture. Peeta's works are aimed at revealing the deceptiveness of human perception and the fallacy of narrow and fixed points of view through visual tricks which confer a three-dimensional semblance on a pictorial representation, ultimately revealing their will to deceive.


Alecks Cruz : Redemption

Alecks Cruz : Redemption


For Immediate Release

Alecks Cruz : Redemption
January 11 - March 1, 2014
Opening Reception: Saturday, January 11, from 6pm - 10pm.


Chicago, IL [December 16, 2013] Maxwell Colette Gallery is pleased to present Redemption, new sculptures from the Chicago-based artist Alecks Cruz. This will be the artist’s first solo exhibition at the gallery.

Alecks Cruz is, at his core, a lettersmith. He explores the composition of individual letters and the unique beauty that each character has to offer. For his large-scale letterform sculptures, Cruz utilizes discarded cardboard shipping boxes as his materials. He focuses on the structural form of individual graffiti style letters, creating a framework for finer detail; embellishment with marquetry-style geometric panels fashioned from sections of the box’s printing. The three dimensional sculptures are meant to be viewed from all angles, and range in height up to three feet tall. Redemption will feature the debut of six new sculptures. With regard to the title of this body of work, Cruz states “just as graffiti art was forged out of penury into an eloquent art, I chose to redeem abandoned materials.” The fusion of classic style lettering and repurposed materials creates works that, in this case, are not merely crafty updates of throw-back visuals.

These pieces, fashioned out of redeemed cardboard, are Cruz’s personal reaction to the co-opting of graffiti by external forces. Through the act of slicing the cardboard's printed branding and commercial typography, destroying it, and ultimately reconfiguring it into a graffiti based form, Cruz is able to exact a measure of revenge for the distasteful marketing that threatens to reduce graffiti to cliche. 

About the Artist: Alecks Cruz was born in Chicago, IL in 1984 and currently lives in Berwyn, IL. Alecks works within the realm of graffiti art, creating pieces that are unbound by a single dimension. Although he started with a spray can as most graffiti artists do, Alecks now focuses on creating three-dimensional graffiti letters that extend outside the traditional application of the art but retain the stylistic essence of the art form. Alecks is a self-taught artist and graphic designer who was the winner of the Chicago Cut & Paste Characterized competition in 2013 and Chicago's 2011 Fringe Festival design contest.


Opening January 11, 2014: Peeta and Alecks Cruz solo shows

Opening January 11, 2014: Peeta and Alecks Cruz solo shows


Maxwell Colette Gallery is excited to be starting 2014 with two stunning solo shows exploring the cutting edge of post-graffiti letter styles. White Out will feature new paintings from the renowned Italian graffiti artist Peeta (Manuel Di Rita) and Redemption will premier large-scale cardboard sculptures from Chicago-based artist Alecks Cruz.  Both shows will open on Saturday, January 11 with a reception from 6pm - 10pm.

White Out will present white-on-white canvases inspired by the aesthetics of crystalline water: ice and snow.  Peeta states that the paintings inWhite Out are an “attempt to render the most deceptive condition that snow can cause; in which visibility and contrast are so severely reduced that no reference point remains, and the individual experiences a distorted orientation.” Far from cold, the new paintings  exude a bright, sparkling, total whiteness and convey a painterly sophistication and sumptuous monochromatism that feels very at home in the moment.

Redemption will debut six new sculptures from Alecks Cruz. The three dimensional sculptures are meant to be viewed from all angles, and range in height from three to five feet tall. These pieces, fashioned out of discarded cardboard, are Cruz’s personal reaction to the co-opting of graffiti by external forces. Through the act of slicing the branding and the commercial typography on the cardboard, destroying it, and ultimately reconfiguring it into a graffiti based form, Cruz is able to exact a measure of revenge for the distasteful marketing that threatens to reduce graffiti to cliche.

These two solo shows will run from January 11 - March 1 2014.

Opening November 9th: Sidewalk Scholar

Opening November 9th: Sidewalk Scholar


For Immediate Release

Mario Gonzalez Jr. : Sidewalk Scholar
November 09 - December 31, 2013
Opening Reception: Saturday, November 09, from 6pm - 10pm

Chicago, IL [October 01, 2013]- Maxwell Colette Gallery is pleased to present Sidewalk Scholar, a solo exhibition of new work from Mario Gonzalez Jr. The show will present large-scale mixed media paintings on wood along from the noted Chicago painter. The exhibit is slated to run from November 09 - December 31, 2013 with an opening reception on Saturday, November 09 from 6 - 10pm.

Gonzalez’s paintings have been described as abstract, but they are far more interested in realities than abstractions. A comparison may be drawn with the loose spontaneity of Asian calligraphy as these works are conceived in the mind’s eye and executed with the swiftness of thought. But the true inspiration for the bold, sinuous forms that inhabit Gonzalez’s paintings are street glyphs, painted with rollers by gang members in the sixties and seventies. These primal markings were intended as signposts for an urban sub-culture but they ended up inspiring the international graffiti culture that would follow. For Gonzalez, who grew up in a world emblazoned with these markings, Sidewalk Scholar is an opportunity to re-contextualize these cryptic runes from the past, and to redirect their energies. Gonzalez’s paintings are shot through with a powerful sense of place, presenting stunned memories of archaic street symbols, objectified and distilled down to their true visual essence.

About the Artist: Mario Gonzalez Jr.’s artistic vision comes from the fusion of fine art training at SAIC plus twenty years of graffiti practiced on global streets. In 2013 Gonzalez has seen his work exhibited in a number of museums including MIIT in Turino, Italy, The National Mexican Museum in Chicago and The Chicago Cultural Center. Sidewalk Scholar is the first solo exhibition for Mario Gonzalez Jr. at Maxwell Colette Gallery. Further information may be found on his website: 



Rodrigo Level and Gabriel Kieling mural for SITE

Rodrigo Level and Gabriel Kieling mural for SITE


Rodrigo Level and Gabriel Kieling were invited to paint a mural for SITE, an outdoor mural project sponsored by the South Shore Chamber of Commerce. Level and Kieling's wall is located at 7256 S Exchange street.  It is definitely worth the trek down to South Shore to see this in person. Until then you can see more on our Instagram.

SITE was organized by Tristan Hummel and curated by Chicago street artist Don't Fret. The project will feature an eclectic lineup with murals to be completed and unveiled over the coming days.

Big shout out to our pals at Holiday Exploits! We couldn't have done this project without you!

The Brazilian Invasion Begins

The Brazilian Invasion Begins


The Brazilian invasion has begun with this killer mural collaboration by Brazilians Rodrigo Level and Gabriel Kieling! The mural is located in Chicago's Logan Square, and can be easily viewed from the CTA blue line, near the Milwaukee and Fullerton intersection. 

For the project, Level and Kieling sought to paint something that embodies the essence of their uniquely Brazilian street art. Utilizing a minimal palette and bold graphic sense, the two have created something that boldly stands out from the colorful characters and stylized lettering that fill the Logan Square neighborhood.

Says Level of his work, "For each day a mask, for each day equilibrio (equilibrium). We all wear masks to mold ourselves to the world. I wear a mask, you wear a mask, we all do. This, is a mask." Kieling's says of his piece "We are all living our lives, with the constant weight of carrying the burden of death." 

Level and Kieling are in Chicago for the premier of their exhibition EQUILIBRIO at Maxwell Colette Gallery.  The show is co-curated by Holiday Exploits who will be releasing prints from the artists. Muito obrigado to Logan Square, Flash and the ABC Crew, and Zore for making this happen.

Getting Pasted, With ASVP

Getting Pasted, With ASVP


In a world where technology allows artists cheap, easy access to print off 1000's of digital renderings with minimal effort, NewYork-based artistic duo ASVP are standing out. While the artists' identities (as well as the acronym ASVP) remain shrouded in mystery, the time and attention to detail they put into their handmade, silk-screened pasters is attracting some serious attention.

"Nearly everything we do is totally original artwork that is hand drawn, first in pencil, then in ink, then refined over-and-over again and slowly redrawn again in an ultra-clean digital form that gives us the ability to pull super clean, high quality prints. Then we burn our own screens and make our own prints.
We're learning that some people think the images are lifted because of how clean they are. This kills us... The handmade quality is an integral part of who we are and what we hope people will appreciate what we're doing."

Their pieces can be seen on the streets of cities around the world, like London, Zurich, Amsterdam, and Hong Kong, and all across the US in cities like San Francisco, Detroit, Cleveland and here in Chicago where there are still a couple of old ASVP pieces riding from years ago. So when you do spot one, take a minute to appreciate the fact that it wasn't spit out of a copier at Kinko's. 

Rodrigo Level and Gabriel Kieling: EQUILIBRIO

Rodrigo Level and Gabriel Kieling: EQUILIBRIO


Brazil's vibrant street art scene has been producing compelling work both in the streets and in the galleries for years. The current wave of social and political unrest that the country has been experiencing seems to have emboldened those who would utilize the streets as a canvas andmagnified the timeliness of their actions. 

Two Brazilian artists we've been watching thrive amid this chaos are Rodrigo Level and Gabriel Kieling. These artists share more than the primarily black and white palette of Brazilian Cordel Art, they both pass freely between the street and the gallery scene without compromising their style or the depth of their messaging.

In his youth Rodrigo Level was influenced by the colors covering the walls of his neighborhood of São Paulo. He started painting large-scale graffiti based works on the streets of his hometown in the mid 1990s.  Over time his paintings evolved from stylized letter forms to abstract shapes which eventually became building blocks of other images. And that palette that had first inspired his work was refined down to black and white, punctuated with subtle pops of sophisticated color.

The tranquility that Level's paintings project is no accident. From the lines to the colors, all is chosen to project the calming harmony that is missing from much of contemporary life. It is the artist's intention that these paintings are meant not to capture or harness this energy, but rather to project it outward. As Level states:"Every energy produced in a positive way and well applied generates everlasting waves. The positive efforts of a generation will always impact positively on future society" 



Gabriel Kieling is an architect. A native of São Paulo, he was born and raised in that city's downtown. Consequently he finds that the city has had a profound impact on both his work and his art. His other influences are Cordel Art and European artists from the early part of of the last century like Gustav Klimt and Egon Shiele.

For Kieling the progression of his art began indoors through woodcut, stencil and screen printing. The journey then migrated into the street as he sought to express himself in "a scale larger than the paper." Initially he wheat pasted his pre-painted images, but eventually decided to forgo the paper and paint directly on walls.

Working in an almost exclusively monochromatic color palette, his work blends clean, precise lines and geometric shapes with the sensuality of the female form. The resulting images are surprisingly intimate and mesmerizing. Kieling says that the black and white of his art "exposes opposites: the contrast of day and night, the dilemma of life and death, the duality of the universe, harmony and chaos".


We couldn't resist the opportunity to partner with our friends over at Holiday Exploits to bring these two incredibly talented artists to Chicago for a project that they are titling EQUILIBRIO (Portuguese for equilibrium). While Level and Kieling are in Chicago Holiday will be working with them on printed editions, Maxwell Colette Gallery will host an exhibition of new work, and we will all be working together to facilitate some great outdoor installations!  

EQUILIBRIO kicks off August 1st, and culminates with the opening reception at Maxwell Colette Gallery on Friday, August 9 from 6pm - 10pm.


7 Questions: Zore

7 Questions: Zore


Chicago-based graff writer-turned fine artist Mario Gonzalez Jr., also known as Zore, has been keeping busy this summer. He just had a killer solo show at the Museo Internazionale Italia Arte, and represented the US in the International Meeting of Styles in Wiesbaden, Germany, before heading back to the states to prepare for MoS Chi and a solo show this fall at Maxwell Colette. We caught up with him before his European tour, while he was painting a mural on  the Violet Hour in Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood.


How did you first get into graffiti and painting?

Believe or not my exposure to graffiti was since birth. My parents and family members wrote on buildings and subway stations here in Chicago since the early 60s. Later on in my youth I grew up in the 70s where muralist and activist took over the streets of Chicago.

Do you remember your first tag? 

My first "tag" was JR/JUNIOR in tall simple blockish letters when I was like 9 or 10.

Any good close call stories you can share with us?

Lots of "close call" stories...but the best were subway stories... Like the times we would get caught right outside the subway yards with a car full of young mixed race kids with bags of paint and the cops are like "wtf is going on here," and I would tell everyone the same story, "I'm an artist at SAIC! And these are my students and we've been painting all night and I'm dropping them off at the train station," hearts racing knowing damn well half the crew was in the train yards painting already...probably even watching us from the yards talking to the cops, only to be let loose half hour later.

Have you bombed anything you later regretted? 

One of my biggest regrets came early in life..I must have been 15 and I would keep tagging the same wall on 35 st day after day only to see it had been cleaned the next day. Till one day I was on the 35 st bus and saw this old ass man that walked slower than a snail scrubbing and scrubbing away and it was then I vowed to keep my bombing to public property...which in the end was a good thing.

Where do you draw your inspiration? 

My studio work comes from hanging out at museums and walking the streets my whole life observing the urban grime. My tags are inspired by old Chicago hand styles. My full on burners have more of a Trixter/Orko feel. They're two writers that influenced the crap out of true Chicago pieces.

How do you feel about graffiti moving into galleries? 

Graffiti in museums and Galleries have occurred longer than 90% of us been writing. One of the first graffiti exhibits in the world was here in Chicago at the museum of science and industry in 1973! I was 3 yrs! I've been showing in galleries and museums since the mid 80s and it changes nothing. I believe that knowing our place in art history is important seeing that most artists have no place in history. Makes me feel proud for never quitting or giving up.

Mario VS Zore?

Well that is an interesting subject right there... I believe that both of my alter egos have a place in this world and the man/child inside of me must harvest this energy and make them both function on a level that won't end up killing me, lol. I've been working my whole life developing both souls and staying clear from negative energy from both the art world and graff world, as well and have come to the conclusion that life is about living the best case scenario.

As I sit here in a hallway for better reception in a bed and breakfast from across the world knowing where I came from and where I am now having solo shows in museums and galleries while painting in the streets and packing bags of paint at night fully sponsored as well as self funded from sales and commissions I would say that I am right where I need to be Right Now! Thanks to my familia! Sergio Gomez! The Zhou Family! Liz Lazdins and MAYA for everything that I am doing today. Stay Bold Chicago!

HENSE: New Paintings

HENSE: New Paintings


For Immediate Release

HENSE: New Paintings
June 15, 2013 - July 20, 2013
Opening Reception: Saturday, June 15, from 6pm - 10pm.

Chicago, IL [May 23,2013]- Maxwell Colette Gallery is pleased to announce it’s next exhibition featuring paintings by muralist Alex HENSE Brewer. HENSE: New Paintings will debut a body of large-scale paintings on wood and smaller works on canvas from the internationally lauded muralist. The gallery will host an opening reception for the artist on Saturday, June 15 from 6pm - 10pm.

HENSE’s work is fluid and playful. It is a delicate interplay of geometric shapes, organic forms, abstract lines and frenetic squiggles executed in a furious effusion of saturated pastel hues. His massive, free-form paintings and epic public mural installations are not what you would expect from someone with HENSE’s Graffiti pedigree. His work is a natural extension of the radical visual legacy of Abstract Expressionism, but it is imbued with a palette purloined from some tropical paradise and a swagger that places it firmly in the current Post-Street Art age. HENSE says he is “combining the language and techniques of graffiti art with the formal language of painting in [the] studio,” and that his paintings “are invigorated by the quick pace and commentary of street culture.”  

HENSE: New Paintings will be on view through July 20, 2013.

About HENSE: Alex HENSE Brewer’s nearly two decades working in the realm of public art grants and commissions has produced exterior works across the U.S, and abroad in Spain, France, Japan, Taiwan, Peru and Mexico. In April 2013 he completed a  massive commissioned wall in the heart of Lima, Peru. In the fall of 2012 he garnered national attention for his treatment of the entire exterior of a historic church in Washington, DC.  His work is held in numerous collections including The High Museum of Art in Atlanta.  Complete information about HENSE may be found on his site:

Opening April 26: David Soukup - Perennial Escapism

Opening April 26: David Soukup - Perennial Escapism


For Immediate Release

David Soukup: Perennial Escapism
April 26, 2013 - June 1, 2013
Opening Reception: Friday, April 26 from 6pm - 10pm

Chicago, IL [April 3, 2013]- Maxwell Colette Gallery is pleased to announce Perennial Escapism, a solo exhibition from Chicago-based artist David Soukup. The show will run from April 26, 2013 through June 1, 2013, with an opening reception on Friday, April 26, from 6pm until 10pm.  Perennial Escapism presents a collection of richly textured mixed media paintings on wood, with imagery derived from the artist’s own photographs of early 20th century wrought iron fire escapes in Chicago. 

Soukup’s paintings combine visual elements of graphic design and collage with the tactile elements of paint and reclaimed materials to create decidedly urban motifs. He hand-cuts the elaborate stencils, some up to four feet in length, that are utilized to create his paintings. The resulting latticework of iron bars and shadows echoes the visual experience of his everyday life, and reflects his obsession with meticulous detail. 

“This work represents a personal 'escape' so to speak” says Soukup. “I went back to what first made me passionate. I drew inspiration not just from the city imagery itself, but from the textures, the grit, and the distress that makes up a city. Perennial Escapism marks the beginning of a new direction, one I've never been more excited to pursue.” 

About David Soukup: David Soukup’s artwork has been shown in Chicago, San Francisco, Washington DC, and Los Angeles, and internationally in Adelaide and Melbourne. His paintings have been featured on the Juxtapoz, Hi-Fructose and Artist-a-Day websites. This is Soukup’s first show with Maxwell Colette Gallery. More about David Soukup can be found on his website


7 Questions: A.CE

7 Questions: A.CE


London-based artist A.CE is about to make his American debut with PLANET OF THE A.CE, a solo show that will feature both his classic and current designs. MCG chatted with him about his roots, his thoughts on street art capitalists and his ever-looping playlist. 


How did you get into street art?

I got into it through skating. It started with seeing tags and graffiti around about '89. I didn't  have my own proper name until about '95. I always loved skate graphics and as I continued skating over the years I just got more and more interested in the graf and art side of the scene - it went from there really. Tags and throws became tagged stickers, which then became stenciled or more graphical. Eventually pasteups were the natural progression. Things kept evolving with other influences coming into play until I found a style and a medium I was happy with.

Who are your influences?

At a certain point around the end of the 90's I started paying less attention to graffiti and more to other work that was going on. I was into what people like Fairey, Kinsey and TLP were doing - this was big impact work which really resonated with me. I started experimenting with simple bold b+w pasteups and grew things from there, taking inspiration over the years from everything else I like: pop art, Dadaism, graphic design, skate art and collage. So really it's anyone and everyone from these movements who continue to influence what I do - Vernon Courtland Johnson, Haring, Basquiat, Peter Blake, Warhol, Cost & Revs, Fergadelic, Sister Corita, Max Ernst, etc. I'm really inspired by John Baldessari - this idea that you could manipulate found or familiar images using the information that's already stored in people's brains really made sense to me.

Ever been caught? Any close calls?

I try as much as I can to avoid those close calls!

What music are you into right now?

It's always a real random mix and it evolves. 6 Music plays out a lot of the time - good for picking up on new music. Otherwise just regular stuff, punk, 90's hip hop, prog rock, 90's dance, folk, anything. I recently listened to a lot of Dylan, Viv Albertine and The Cocteau Twins. Staples in the studio would just be stuff like The Sex Pistols, GZA, PIL, Black Sabbath, Penguin Cafe Orchestra, Bjork, NAS and Judas Priest. I'll often play a new song to death until I'm sick of it. Cosmic Jugalbandi by Suns of Arqa was one of those. It's one I like to end the night on!!

What are your thoughts on so-called "stolen" street art being sold for profit, like what we recently saw attempted with the Banksy pieces?

I don't know what arrangement these guys had with the wall owner here so I can't really comment on this particular piece, but I guess its nothing new - it happened with Basquiat and Haring back in the day. If people know the value of something, it's going to happen - right up and down the chain. People will always flock to wherever there's money to be made. To a certain extent its fair game, if you put something on the street, its out of your control after that - that's part of the journey of the piece. That said, most street art like this is better being left where it is - who wants a caged animal? At the end of the day it was a gift to the public and that should probably be respected.

How do you respond to people who compare your work to Bäst?

We might play some similar instruments but we don't write the same songs.

What's the future look like for you? What?s A.CE's next move?

I have a few other projects in the pipeline for later this year - festivals and shows in the UK, as well as some print releases both in the UK and in Canada. I'm building a new bigger studio in my back yard and I'm just going to keep developing stuff and hopefully making more work.


A.CE's solo show, PLANET OF THE A.CEruns March 16, 2013 - April 20, 2013 at Maxwell Colette Gallery with an opening reception on Saturday, March 16, from 6pm until 10pm.

Opening March 16: PLANET OF THE A.CE

Opening March 16: PLANET OF THE A.CE


For Immediate Release

PLANET OF THE A.CE: A Solo Show of Works on Paper By A.CE
March 16, 2013 - April 20, 2013
Opening Reception: Saturday, March 16 from 6pm - 10pm

Chicago, IL [February 20, 2013]- Maxwell Colette Gallery is pleased to present PLANET OF THE A.CE, a solo exhibition of works on paper from London-based artist A.CE. The show will run from March 16, 2013 through April 20, 2013, with an opening reception on Saturday, March 16, from 6pm until 10pm. The show will be graphic artist A.CE's American debut, and features a selection of hand-printed, unique works on paper showcasing both classic and current designs.

Tagging is the fundamental essence of graffiti. The paste-ups and stickers that A.CE has been covertly placing around London for the past decade are graphically-enhanced contemporary manifestations of this same primal credo. A.CE is driven by the writer’s need to leave his mark; to get up. But instead of spray cans and markers, A.CE’s weapons of choice are paper and paste.

A.CE’s work presents nostalgic photographic imagery blended together with contemporary logos and cartoon characters. The resulting ambiguities and incongruities in the images reflect the absurdities of popular culture and our consumer-driven society

About A.CE: A.CE  is a self described “artist who leans towards collage” who has been an active presence in the UK street art scene for over ten years. His influences range from Dada collage work to early skateboard graphics and classic Pop Art. More information about A.CE and images of his street work can be found on his website:

'STUCK-UP' Spotlight: Thomas Billings 'TV Skull'

'STUCK-UP' Spotlight: Thomas Billings 'TV Skull'


Back in the early 1990s there was no internet, photographs were shot on film that had to be developed, MTV showed nothing but videos, and Thomas Billings' tv skull owned Wicker Park.  It was everywhere and on everything.  You couldn't get a beer or take a piss in that Chicago neighborhood without seeing the tv skull staring back multiple times over the course of your evening.  And the skull's reach extended well beyond the Bucktown / Wicker Park art hipster scene.  You were as likely to stumble across the image in a Wrigleyville sports bar or a downtown museum as you were in an underground gallery or a coffee shop.

Fast forward to 2012.  Thomas Billings has returned to Chicago, and with him has returned that tv skull.  The image, currently reconstituted as a sticker, was included in Maxwell Colette Gallery's show 'STUCK-UP: A Selected History of Alternative and Popular Culture Curated By DB Burkeman.' where it was featured in a site specific installation.  Recently we sat down with Billings and asked him about the origins of the tv skull image.


So lets get straight to it. When did you start doing the television skeletons? 

In the 80s when I was living in Chicago. The idea for the television skeletons came from Gunter Resse, a tattoo artist who did time in prison. He had a bunch of prison tattoos that I thought were really amazing. All of his tattoos were done by using makeshift tattoo gun constructed from a Sony Walkman – these were common ways to give tattoos in prison back then. So I asked him to give me a tattoo and I just came up with that design. 

How did you meet Gunther Reese? 

I was in an art show in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and we were both staying with the same friend. That is when I became intrigued by his brut tattoos. 

That tattoo that Gunter gave you is the source of the image you are known for putting all over Chicago.  The versions I remember seeing were done with a custom made rubber stamp, but initially you did them with a black crayon? 

Yes... everything I did then was hand written, which evolved into the stamp. I drew the television freehand from 1985 to 1995 and put it on practically every parking meter in Chicago and places you wouldn’t normally see like underneath toilet bowls. In 1995 it became my signature stamp on other artwork I created. 

Besides being your personal signature for your fine art, it also was incorporated into graphics that graced the cover of publications like New City and was later used by  Burkhardt Leitner Constructiv in Germany as part of their 'ART-stamps' program.  Before these sanctioned projects appeared, where would one have found your skull tags?

Edges of doors, cop cars, bars – everywhere really...  I think Ed Pachke’s studio still has a stamp. You might also be able to find some still at the MCA in NYC and the MET. 

So way before Bansky decided it would be fun to put a guerilla installation in a museum you were already doing it.  And you’ve seen how everything has changed through the years. There is definitely a larger community routing for street art – unsanctioned specifically.   

Street art and graffiti art evolved in a way because now people want it more, they accept it and it is recognized. Back then I think street art had more of an impact because less people were doing it. My work [then] was never about being a pioneer for graffiti or street art yet people used to cut the dry wall around my stamps [to remove them] from public spaces. 

So it had basically become a sentiment of their own nostalgia? 

Yes. This kind of art is just like any other. It becomes a timeline for people... 

'STUCK-UP' Spotlight: Sticker Collages by Chris Mendoza

'STUCK-UP' Spotlight: Sticker Collages by Chris Mendoza


" ... By drawing, visualizing, and composing abstract concepts in my mind, and on paper I am reminded of my daily habits, a common thread of the human condition."

New York-based artist Chris Mendoza's is fascinated with architecture and physical structures. If you are an art history guru you'll notice strong influences by artists such as Kandinsky, Miro and Frank Lloyd Wright. Mendoza's sticker collages are on display at Maxwell Colette Gallery and are part of the current exhibition entitled, STUCK UP: A Selected History of Alternative and Popular Culture Told Though Stickers. Curated by DB Burkeman.

Mendoza's collage-work repurposes stickers that are cut up, fragmented and placed into layers. They layer work looks almost mosaic-like and each panel is arranged slightly different with subtle references to landscape and unknown figuration. Rich color and texture is incorporated into his work through the use of materials including everything from mixed media, acrylic paint, sumi inks, enamel, watercolor paints and other various inks.

He incorporates such a graceful progression of movement with each layer of fragmented sticker and this alone allows your imagination to run wild – you could spend hours pondering the abstraction. But the biggest take away from Chris Mendoza's collage-work is that there is an underlying history being preserved. Between the vintage-like quality of the paper and the reverence that Mendoza gives to his own cultural influences, these works have a seemingly righteous nature about them.


View more of Mendoza's art on his website: Go to to view these and other sticker collage works by Chris Mendoza, or to inquire about pricing and availability.