sweet home chicago
gold leaf, vellum, blood, and watercolor on paper. 22" x 36"  

Like many Chicagoans, the murder rate of the city in 2012 had its impact on me. I knew I wanted to represent this number through design – to try and create something beautiful from a negative statistic. Many ideas around the aesthetics came and went, but a couple of things never left: A.) I had to visually show the numbers; B.) There was something about the phrase "Sweet Home Chicago" that felt like a good fit…probably the name of the song and the label of "murder capital of the country” conflicting with each other. After a couple of months painstakingly drawing the grid of Chicago in Illustrator, I had the central portion of the city laser-cut into watercolor paper. I designed an old-Chicago style logo of the phrase "Sweet Home Chicago" to mimic the look of hand-lettering and ornate shapes found on old firehouses and Louis Sullivan facades throughout the city, then hand-painted it in gold leaf. Vellum paper was used to cover up a portion of the grid, leaving only the amount of murders per year, (514, 419 and 407 for the years 2012, 2013 and 2014), as exposed city blocks in bright red. Thanks to Columbian Model & Exhibit Works, Ltd. for laser-cutting this grid for me. 

final design, early 2015

final design, early 2015

 
 
 
 
 
logo exploration, 2013

logo exploration, 2013

 
logo exploration, 2013

logo exploration, 2013

 
concept sketch, 2013

concept sketch, 2013