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Chicago's Loop Jams to Color –Erik Cagle

September 2012
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The good folks of Chicago have been going about their business this summer with an added splash of color in their lives, thanks to the vision of a multimedia artist realized through a local Signs By Tomorrow franchise.

The artist, Jessica Stockholder, unleashed a wealth of colors for the intersection of Adams and State streets—in the heart of the Loop—including orange red, sky blue and leaf green. The result: Color Jam 2012, a 3-D multimedia endeavor that became Chicago's largest-ever public art installation. The installation will be on display through the end of this month; unfortunately, leaving Graph Expo attendees in early October out of the (color) loop, so to speak.

Having the honor of implementing more than 70,000 square feet of substrate, of which there were four different types, was Bloomingdale Signs By Tomorrow. This was hardly the firm's first major undertaking, having been in charge of sign and graphic projects including the Vancouver Olympics and numerous displays at professional football stadiums and convention centers. And, the company has wrapped more than its share of cars, vans and semi-trailers in brand imagery.

Bloomingdale Signs By Tomorrow answered the bell once more, needing just two weeks to handle enough colored vinyl to cover one-and-a-half football fields. Stockholder was more than pleased with the realization of her vision, which went "live" in early June.

"As the installers of this project, Bloomingdale Signs By Tomorrow was really enthusiastic the entire time," Stockholder notes. "To them, it was never just a job. They took some care to make this happen in a fantastic way."

Stockholder worked with the Chicago Loop Alliance (CLA) to find a suitable location for the installation—which carried a $500,000 budget—and followed in the footsteps of previous public art productions from Kay Rosen and Tony Tasset. State and Adams was chosen because of the buildings' aesthetics (two are glass structures, one concrete and another stone). And, given its drab and dreary appearance, it was most in need of a temporary makeover.

Streets, sidewalks and buildings were among the elements adorned by Stockholder's shining substrates. The four vinyls used were a foil-backed adhesive for the streets and sidewalks; a perforated vinyl for glass surfaces; a third for wrapping around traffic lights; and the final a scrim to hang over various materials such as masonry and concrete.

 

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