Chicago Tree Project
The Chicago Tree Project is a collaborative project between Chicago Sculpture International and the Chicago Parks District, centered on transforming sick or dying trees into public works of art. As one of the original ten artists that accepted to take on this exciting project in the Spring of 2014, I was partnered with an Elm tree that stands in the North East corner of Washington Park (near 51st and Cottage Grove on Chicago’s South Side). Due to the tree being sick, it had already lost 90 percent of its bark upon my arrival. This allowed me to easily treat the tree trunk as a blank matrix for my proposed drawn and carved textile-inspired pattern. I completed my tree over the course of two months, spanning from May to July 2014. These two months were not without trial and error, taking into account the erratic Chicago weather, travel times from the North Side to the South Side, and frequent visits from bees, spiders, and other critters that called the tree their home. The experience was life changing for me in that I had never stepped outside of the typical studio environment to create work. Fostering daily connections with local residents allowed me to reach an audience that would have been void in a conventional gallery setting. Many passers-by would visit my tree on a weekly basis to view my progress. This direct engagement while working, proved to be a critical part in the completion of the project. I hope that my tree will stand strong and inspire others for many years to come. Only time will tell!