Art is Alive and All Around North Coast

For today’s discerning music festival attendees, art has become just as important as music. Bold installations and innovative designs help make festival experiences unforgettable. Like brilliant flowers blooming in a magical garden, playful sculptures, graffiti art and geodesic domes rise out of Union Park’s vast green space. Even if we can’t get Mother Nature to cooperate this weekend, the ambience created by art is unbeatable. We stopped to talk with some of the artists who have been working around the clock this week to get ready for their festival performance at Summer’s Last Stand.

Dub Hub Collective:  Connecting Culture and Community across Chicago

Meet Bardo, Infinite and Metra. Three Chicagoans from three different neighborhoods that would never have crossed paths. That is, until art connected them. Together they make up the Dub Hub Collective. And this weekend, they’re putting their passion for art on display at North Coast. Hailing from Pilsen, Chicago’s West Side and Humboldt Park respectively, these artists found their way to each other through art, hip-hop and skateboarding.

“We’re all different. We have our own stories. But we’re connected by art,” said Bardo, whose North Coast neon graffiti installation, Stoned Ape, captures Terence McKenna’s theory that as early humans, we ate our way to higher consciousness. Bardo, also a musician, performance artist and avid skateboarder, gets inspired when he rides to explore different parts of the city.

Like Bardo, Infinite dabbles in many art forms. His passion is rap—alongside Daughter of a King, he creates music as Heavy-Phlo—and hopes to return to North Coast on a different stage one day.

Named for surviving what could have been a tragic train accident, Metra credits art for helping him find his best friends. “We get together and make good things happen,” said Metra, who is proud of Dub Hub’s inviting West Town art gallery and performance community. “We’ll rap for hours on end. We’ll invite you in. And we’ll continue to try to make this world a better place by doing what we love.”

SynerGeo Domes:  Raising the Roof on Music Festival Experiences

For today’s hottest music festivals, plain white tents have become a thing of the past. Especially since Chicago-based SynerGeo hit the music festival scene. With their breathtaking geodesic domes and stunning art installations that marry LED lighting with the latest laser technology, SynerGeo has created a totally new way of bringing people together by enlivening their senses.

A featured artist at music festivals around the country, SynerGeo co-founder John Schroeder began collaborating with Chicago artist Afrokilla last summer to come up with an exciting new art installation exclusively for this year’s North Coast Music Festival.

“I wanted to create a geometric canvas for Afrokilla to paint that could take us from day into night with beautiful colors and light,” said Schroeder. The result—SynerGeo’s Teardrop Dodeca Hedron, a magnificent wood structure featuring intricate cutouts that John designed and made himself using his CNC router.

John and the SynerGeo team placed the Teardrop on the North Coast grounds Friday afternoon. Then Afrokilla went to work painting rich hues to bring the structure to life. And after the sun went down, the Teardrop began to glow, creating a totally different look and feel thanks to a network of brilliant LED lights on the inside.

“The Teardrop is the result of a great collaboration between artists, combined with functional design that helps us create something that awakens the senses,” said Schroeder, who paused to talk about what’s on everyone’s minds. “Beyond creating these unique experiences, we’re also practical. We know music festivals have no control over Mother Nature. We definitely treated the Teardrop for the elements, so rain or shine, it will be on display at North Coast for everyone to enjoy.”

By: Cathy DeRonne

Photos: @Clarkstcollective