CUSP Magazine: Winter Issue 2014


CUSP Magazine is a Chicago based publication focused on helping up and coming creatives gain exposure for their brand and products. Our company is a collective of highly motivated individuals who work together to bring a new voice to the creative community.

was anything but juvenile. Subtle variations in facial expression and hand gestures really animated

his characters, speaking to the real complexities of the community he was depicting through his art.

When I asked him about it, he replied, “The figures all represent community. When their fists are

raised up, that’s power. When they’re raising their hands like that, it’s an offering.” “And what about these

guys?” I asked, gesturing towards a few ghostly characters interspersed with the rest of the community.

“Those guys are tombstones,” Barrett said. “Whoa, morbid,” I replied. “Listen,” he told me. “Death is

not something to be afraid of. Death is not a bad thing. Those tombstones also represent rebirth. I grew

up on the South Side in the 100s, literally on the wrong side of the tracks and look at me now.”

I kept in mind the hard realness of Barrett’s work and words while I traversed the other galleries.

Not only did the themes vary; there were galleries that we explored in October that had mysteriously

disappeared in November. A house that we went into the month before was closed to the public in


The last time that we went in there, we ran into acclaimed Chicago artist Allen Vandever serving

up corn and hot dogs to hungry art fans. Allen took me into the basement of the house and showed me

a few pieces he had been working on. They were composed of varying layers of transparencies, overlaid

on top of one another in a collage. Some of the layers had the same image, giving each image a depth

that it wouldn’t have otherwise.

Each piece had a realism to it that was evocative of what you might see in a dream. It turns out

dreams are what motivate Allen. “I paint my dreams,” he told me when we went back upstairs, gesturing

to a gorgeous painting of a woman underwater. “I sketch out the dream on Photoshop and then paint

over it. Sometimes I repeat this process multiple times.” The other two artists who were showing at that

house, Jason Davis and Vincent Vittorini, evoke similar dreamlike aesthetics with their work. Vincent’s



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