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Street Art and Graffiti Get a Serious Read at Harold Washington Library

Wheatpaste street art by Nice-one. Photo by it’s tea on

Chicago street artists Brooks Golden and Nice–One have had a long and varied history producing artwork for display in the public arena.

An important figure in the Chicago street art/graffiti community, artist Brooks Golden explores our distinct American footprint by using acombination of folk, tribal–based and other visual symbolism to promote a sense of humor and allegory. In a 2011 interview with Sixty Inches From Center, Golden stated:

I don’t think there is a big distinction between actual graffiti and streetart—it is all the same. It is all a pure expression of whatever thoughts or ideas you want to express. There are different roads to that same kind of thinking, some people come to graffiti [the spray painting route] and some people come from the art making, wheat pasting, stencil artist, creative side of that and they meet in the middle and they are both doing something that is technically for the law’s sake, that is not acceptable… It is all just an extension of being an artist without parameters.

A 2009 graduate of Columbia College, Nice–One is a street artist whose humorous and satirical characters can be spotted flying or driving in unexpected places around our urban landscape. All are identifiable by his signature scuba goggles and many, many colors. The two artists collaborated to create this original installation for the Library.

The artists, with guest curator Oscar Arriola, will discuss the making of their large-scale installation as well as the meaning and method of street art as art without parameters in their Artist Talk. Arriola has been documenting graffiti and street art since the late 1980’s and worked as a photographer on Chicago Rocks magazine. Many of the magazines and artworks in this exhibition are from his personal collection. A lifelong Chicagoan, Arriola has been with the Chicago Public Library for 20 years. He curates art exhibitions in Chicago and shows his photographic work nationally.

Check out some Chicago Street Art.

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