Did you know ? Hide & Seek mural
Located in the bustling Lakeview East neighborhood in Chicago, our flagship store is housed in a majestic brick building. As soon as the shop opened, Wear Moi founders Elisabeth and Christophe were approached by the Executive Director of Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce. The chamber's members wanted to team up with Wear Moi. Their goal was to co-develop a dance-related project to honor our core business, while having a positive impact on the local neighborhood. The idea was to embellish the wall adjacent to the store, on the corner of Broadway and Roscoe, with a painted mural.
The Wear Moi team loved the concept and agreed to work with Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce to bring the mural to life. Knowing the kind of cultural and artistic impact such a work could have on the neighborhood, we were all eager to launch the project. We would like to thank the team at Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce, without whom none of this would have been possible.
After securing the approval of the building's owner, who was instantly won over by the idea, we had to choose the artist who would liven up the street and decide on the nature of the work. We had been following the work of the very talented Eric Lee for a few years. This full-time artist, better known as E.LEE, lives in Chicago. His work is an eclectic inquiry into the signifiers of value and the paradoxes of Western pop culture. He is widely admired for his immersive installations and trompe-l'oeil art that combines humor and narrative. We fell in love with the works he created in 2018 with the Hubbard Street Dance Company that depicted the dancers emerging from elaborate golden frames. So, we reached out to E.LEE to ask if he would be interested in producing something similar to those 2018 works, which are in sync with our universe: the world of dance. Together, we settled on a large-scale re-creation of his "Hide & Seek" featuring the dancer Jacqueline Burnett.
Eric arrived on the scene in mid-April to begin designing the mural. He started with special outdoor paint to create a base layer that would ensure good cohesion. Then he created a doodle grid consisting of an array of symbols. These doodles stand in for the traditional grid technique used to scale up art and allow the artist to transfer a reference work to a bigger "canvas" with accurate proportions. Finally, he employed 13 shades of spray paint to complete the mural.
Now that you know about the project's background, it is time to meet Eric Lee, who chatted with us about his career, his artistic vision and his thoughts on "Hide & Seek".
Could you tell us about your career?
I received my Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting from Millikin University (IL, USA) in 2002. After graduating I painted in my free time and coached youth soccer for 14 years. In 2013, I showed in my first Chicago gallery: the Vertical Gallery. I did my first street art piece in 2015, and I went full time as an artist in 2016.
Since then I've exhibited work in Chicago, NYC, Miami, Paris, Brisbane and created murals throughout the United States and around the world, including: London, Bristol, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Nagoya, and Osaka.
In a few words, how would you define your art?
I’m exploring how art moves us emotionally, creates status, and how we assign value to it. Simplification, humor, and the viewer’s point of view are driving forces in my work.
What are your inspiration sources in the creation of your artworks?
I'm inspired by a great deal of other artist's work, dead and alive. I enjoy artists that create immersive experiences for viewers, such as Nicolas Party and Rone. I like artists that use humor and pop culture to tell a story like Lichtenstein, Kaws, and Banksy. And I love artists that can create something profound through subtraction rather than addition, such as Aakash Nihalani, Rothko, Frank Stella's early work.
Among all your creations, what was your biggest project that required the most work?
In 2019, I created a show called "And Smell the Roses" with choreographer Jenna Pollack and over 40 dancers from Hubbard Street Dance Company's Professional Program. It entailed creating a gallery show for an audience that was a part of a 1.5 hour show with dance and music by Tyler Catanella. The audience members thought they were just going to see fine art and dance, with no idea how they were connected. Toward the end of the show they realized the whole piece was a story and they were characters inside a play. This took months of planning and was the most ambitious show to date.
What can you tell us about your latest work "Hide & Seek" at Lake View East?
I started the piece mid-April 2022, it took a total of 9 days of painting over a 2-week period. "Hide & Seek" is the most detailed large mural I've created to date. At 18.5 ft tall and 22 ft wide, the piece was created mostly with 13 colors of spray paint.
It depicts dancer Jacqueline Burnett of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, coming through the ornate gold frame. It was an honor to work with Wear Moi and Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce to make this piece a reality.
Watch a time-lapse of the piece from start to finish (cut and edited by Ben Hood) :
Wear Moi would like to thank Eric Lee for his “Hide & Seek” artwork which adorn the side of our brick building! To learn more about the artist Eric Lee and follow his news and latest works, here’s all the useful links:
Photos by Peter Hinsdale