Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly identified a work that was created by Ron Copeland. The lighted piece was stated to be by Mosher, but Copeland created the work. The article had been corrected.
Noel Duckworth stood flipping through local Chicago screen prints, surrounded by chattering people on all sides. The showroom’s worth of art for sale filled the center of Galerie F. There was even more colorful graffiti and printed art displayed on the gallery wall for onlookers to view.
Galerie F had their grand re-opening exhibition, 7: Galerie F Trail Blazers, last Friday evening, Jan. 13, opening a new location across the street from the previous, 5-year-old location. The “7” stands for the seven featured artists with Galerie F on display at this exhibition.
Duckworth, having never been to Galerie F’s previous location just across Fullerton Avenue, came for the first time to see artwork by JC Rivera, a local favorite of his whom he follows on Instagram. After having seen the gallery’s new space, he feels he’ll certainly return.
Along with the move, Galerie F gained double the space for less rent by picking up and moving across Fullerton to their new location, 2415 N Milwaukee Ave., which provides gallery owner Billy Craven with a sub-level gallery as well as a larger workspace for framing.
“The divide is to be more like it’s your bedroom or your living room. It’s your special place,” Craven said. “On the main floor it tends to be bigger, broader, louder, noisier, and downstairs can be stuff that you would just step up to and stare at for a long time, and you would be permitted to flip through some records and put on whatever you wanna hear. If you wanna listen to Anita Baker and get sassy while you’re looking at the same drawing downstairs, then knock yourself out.”
Craven hopes to open the sub-level gallery, still in the process of preparation, sometime next month. With the help of Mosher, a featured and exclusive artist for Galerie F, the two will have designed a unique and intimate space to hang out, view local art and listen to music.
Mosher’s art, featured in the grand re-opening exhibition, takes inspiration from street art and murals. The two actually met through the Chicago street art scene, and they quickly became friends and partners. Mosher was responsible for helping Craven move his entire gallery and workspace across the street.
“It’s not just moving a big box and randomly willy-nilly taking stuff across the street,” Craven said. “He has an understanding of what pieces do not have a physical need to be in our space right now and then move over the important stuff. It’d be easier to rent Two Men and a Truck, but it’d probably be harder to figure out where the hell everything is.”
A full-time artist, Mosher has been living in Logan Square ever since he’s been living in Chicago. In the grand re-opening exhibition, he displayed three original paintings over old maps.
As a featured artist with Galerie F, Mosher has a contract stating he only exhibits with this gallery. Other featured artists in the exhibition share this contract. As Craven and the space move forward into a new future for the gallery, Mosher plans to stay along for the ride.
“I’ll probably stay with Galerie F as long as I’m in Chicago, they treat me good,” Mosher said. “They push my work for me, they seem to care about their artists, ‘cause I like to do a lot of murals, and they work hard trying to get mural space.”
Craven, a screen printer himself, also considers himself a documenter of street art and graffiti for well over 15 years. He opened Galerie F in Logan Square because of a love for the art community around him, and a passion for local involvement and neighborhood conversation.
“I like to meet people and find out where they’re from and what’s going on. I love answering questions about work or about artists,” Craven said. “People come in and ask me, I’m a good resource, just being involved in the community…I like to use whatever resources I can to figure out who artists are. It’s part of my personal mission.”
Gaslight Coffee Roasters sits across the street at the corner of Fullerton and Milwaukee Avenues, and on the bathroom wall hangs a screen print by Billy Craven himself, proving that Craven’s mission to stay involved in the Logan Square arts community seems to have worked out well for him.