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‘Raw Artists’ showcase coming to Chicago May 18

RAW Artist event Nov 2011
RAW Artist Portland event from November 2011. PHOTO/ Courtesy RAW Artists Media

Walking into a Raw Artists: Indianapolis event was like diving into another world.

Models with strange makeup seemed to float across the floor. A girl with a neon lighted hula-hoop that changed colors to the music astounded the audience. Each artist’s presentation booth promised something different–sometimes serene, sometimes bizarre–to the viewers.

Raw Artists hosts a gallery in locations around the country to feature local artists. Raw Artists is bringing its showcase to Chicago on May 18. The event draws in all sorts of people, from experienced artists who have owned their own studio for years to young talents just venturing into the art world.

You’ll see expressionist paintings and sculptures, tattoo design, fashion and jewelry design, comic book art, and even embroidery. Raw Artists not only strives to bring a huge variety of styles but also to be a space where artists can network.

“It’s always good for artists, especially young artists, to see that what others are working on,” said Lola LaVacious, 37, a third-year emcee for the Indianapolis event from March 31. “Many artists spend time working on their own craft and here they’re able to network and sort of collaborate. Like a painter might collaborate with a sculpturist to create something amazing. I’ve seen singers find models and actors to be in their music videos here.”

Networking and experience seemed to be what attracted most artists to the event.

“Artists are getting exposure and practice from this event–it can be a low-risk thing to practice for shows,” said Callie Berndt, 21, an illustrator and second-time featured artist at the event.

The costs of attending conventions and shows, Berndt said, can be a heavy financial burden on new artists who aren’t sure how well their art will sell at the event, or who don’t know how to successfully market their brand. “This event is great for discovering and supporting local artists,” Brandon Lytle, 35 said.

“It just seems like a great opportunity for new artists to network. Actually, my dad is thinking of doing this next year,” Lytle said with a laugh.

Whether it’s fresh faces looking to break into the Indy art scene, graduate fine art students, or professionals who’ve been in the business for years, Raw Artists has a place for everyone.


If you go:

  • RAW: Chicago
  • 7 p.m., Wednesday May 18, Metro/Smart Bar, 3730 N. Clark St.
  • More Raw Artists events and information available at the community’s website

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