Next Chicago speaker

Kevin Coval

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January 31, 8:30am • Gensler Chicago • part of a series on Roots

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We asked Billy Craven, owner and founder of Galerie F, a few more questions outside of May’s awesome event. Enjoy below, and get excited for June’s event with artist JC Rivera this coming Friday, June 23rd!

Define this month’s theme, Serendipity, in one sentence or less.
a happy accident.List three words that begin with the letter “F” to describe yourself/your personality.
1. Foundation
2. Forthright
3. Family

What are the top three places you find inspiration?
1. Walking the streets
2. Alleys, sidestreets…off of the beaten path
3. used book stores

Why did you decide to open Gallerie F? Why did you want to make it an open-door gallery?
the 2 primary reasons…
1. as an artist, I became aware that there was a great under-abundance of galleries that featured screen prints, affordable art [without being ‘crafty’] and that supported local street artists
2. as a consumer, I also realized that so many Chicago galleries were by appointment only, open once a month for 'neighborhood night’, etcWhat initially made you want to document street art and graffiti?
it might have originally been triggered by my shyness, sort of a social crutch in order to deal with being amongst vast numbers of bustling human beings in NYC! But really, while living in NYC, I became intrigued by the vast variety of art and artists, the ephemeral nature, the layers on layers, my growing awareness of graffiti and street art history while hunting for art, hunting for work by deceased artists and writers, the need to find something by someone that I felt was rare, the competition amongst artists, the competition for real estate by artists, the humor and wit and the realization that all of the little pieces of the puzzle that I was documenting were far more important the average person believed…I didn’t necessarily think of street art and graffiti as vandalization, but instead likened it to a type of folk art.Have you ever wanted to do street art or graffiti of your own?

Yes, I dabbled….but I stand by on the old cliche of 'those who can’t, document.’

Thank you to everyone who came out to Savage Smyth to hear from artist and Galerie F owner, Billy Craven! Missed May’s event? Check out some highlights below! 

Started my day off right @chicago_cm with @billycraven of @galerief #cmserendipity #cmchi

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Did you miss our April event with photographer and designer Elise Swopes? Check out what attendees shared during her presentation on Beyond (which took place on a boat on Lake Michigan!):

Get a professional headshot taken at our April event!

Thanks to our global partner, Shutterstock, we’ll be shooting headshots for our creative community.

Dress your best, and we’ll see you at the event!

This Friday we’re welcoming Elise Swopes to the CreativeMornings stage! For April’s theme of Beyond, who better to share with us than a Chicago photographer/designer who has built her massive Instagram following and career by combining photography and imaginative editing to create surreal dreamscapes, often centered on our own city?

Join us this Friday, April 21st, at Odyssey Chicago–or tune into the livestream on our Facebook page–and check out our Q&A with Elise below! 

Define this month’s theme, Beyond, in one sentence or less. There’s way too many tools available at our finger tips to not go above and beyond. List three words that begin with the letter “F” to describe your personality. Funny, faithful, and fearless List the top three places you find inspiration. helicopter, rooftop of a building & my mind Your presentation is going to be on a boat! I’m sure many of us will be snapping more pics than usual. What’s one tip you would give to the casual/amateur photographer to challenge or push their style (whether a photography tip, a fun tool/app, etc.)? Shoot as much as possible at every angle at every moment. You’ll look back and be happy you had more images to choose from when editing. Some fun apps are Filterstorm, Artstudio, Photoshop Mix and Mextures. What is your dream shoot location right now? My dream shoot location would be in Hong Kong.

If you missed Leah Ball discussing Taboo last week, catch up on some of the #CMTakeaways the community shared during her talk! And don’t forget- we’re now livestreaming CreativeMornings Chicago events on our Facebook page. If you can’t make it to an event, tune in online and share some #CMTakeaways of your own!

Thanks for the Twister game @chicago_cm ! #cmtakeaways

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Did you miss Cheryl Pope at Savage Smyth last month? Check out some of the highlights and thoughts fellow CreativeMornings folks shared on Instagram and Twitter during her talk on Moments!

Creative Mornings Chi (@chicago_cm) was phenomenal this month. Thank you, @cherylpope, for listening, for seeing, for acting. Thank you, @savagesmyth for hosting us. . “The role of the artist is to make the invisible felt. To help a people understand their experience. To document this search and understanding. To challenge, question, and ask. To shed light in dark places. To listen. … I believe listening to be the most political act. Listening with the body, with all the senses, keenly, and acutely for the individual and obtuse for a group, a community, a society. . The act of listening is the foundation of my practice. It is listening to language, body language, relationships, histories, objects that contain meaning, that speak power, that tell lies, or hide truths, noticing, asking, and interpreting the poetics, the mapping, and remembering… But this lens of listening isn’t a garment to take on or off but rather it is my skin, permanent, attentive, in time, asking, listening, feeling, holding, and performing.” . #cmtakeaways

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It’s CreativeMornings time again! Registration opens at 11am today to hear Leah Ball weigh in on this month’s theme, Taboo!

Leah, an artist and community organizer, uses art to fiercely challenge the concept that female pleasure and other feminist ideas shouldn’t be discussed or celebrated.

Check out our Q&A with her below, and join us this Friday, March 31st, at Braintree!

Define this month’s theme, Taboo, in one sentence or less.

topics, actions, behavior that exists outside of societal norms and make us uncomfortable

List three words that begin with the letter “L” to describe your personality.




List the top three places you find inspiration.



sexual behavior

Do you have a favorite memory exhibiting your work? Or a favorite response to your work?

Summer open-air markets are really fun because my work elicits such a strong response. I like catching people’s initial reaction, whether joy, shock, repulsion.

I understand your work in ceramics developed out of a desire to make displays for your jewelry. Are there other media that you are interested in expanding your work into?

VIDEO! I have some exciting plans in the works.

What’s your favorite background sound (music, podcasts, etc.) when working in your studio?

Podcasts: Unscrewed, Invisibilia, The Heart

Love audio books, especially murder mysteries or sci-fi for the studio. LOTS of music. mostly music.

We all have ‘em. Emails that we’ve written but never sent; confessions of unspoken crushes, reconciliation with heartbreak, apologies you couldn’t bring yourself to send– with cursors hovering over and eventually retreating from the send button.

To celebrate this month’s theme of Taboo, MailChimp and CreativeMornings want to see those emails.

We’re collaborating on a campaign called The Inbox of Forgotten Emails and inviting you to share your most horrific, funny, weird, or embarrassing emails and drafts. We’ve built a site to collect and curate emails like love letters, “just following up,” rejections, and convos with old bosses. Names, of course, can be anonymous.

So dig to the bottom of your inbox or drafts folder, and hop on over to The Inbox of Forgotten Emails to submit yours today.

Just two more days until we hear Cheryl Pope weigh in on this month’s theme, Moments! In anticipation, we asked the visual artist, SAIC fashion professor, and boxer/boxing coach to answer a few questions to help you get to know her better. Check out the Q&A below, and join us this Friday, February 24th, at Savage Smyth!

Define this month’s theme, Moments, in one sentence or less.


How does Chicago influence you or your work?

Right now, Chicago is really at the root of my practice. My research is motivated by my direct experience. The most intense, relevant, and urgent issues are inflated here in Chicago and so these experiences, conversations, people, stories, are all woven into the work.

List three words that begin with the letter “B” to describe your personality(s).




List the top three places you find inspiration.



Being physical with others when language is minimally used or not used at all

When did you know you wanted to be an artist?

when i was a teenager, and i realized art was the only place one could ask confronting questions

As an artist who works in many formats, what inspires you to teach fashion design in particular?

politics of identity.

everything starts with the body

clothing is the most intimate object we know.