Artist trading card inventor m. vanci stirnemann lists active trades on his website and I joined a 20:20 trade, sending in linocuts of a large edition I just completed. I took a quick camera phone photo of a cute vintage VW convertible last summer and saved it for a linocut. The ATC trade I joined, named “Sister Trading Cards”, is for women and the host put the details as:
project! for women! ladies! chicks! girls!
SISTER TRADING CARDS – the all-girl trading card set
make and send 20 ATCs – any theme – no deadline
you’ll get a set (including your own card) back
send 20 ATCs (20 different ones or 20 times the same)
size 2 ½ x 3 ½ inches (64 mm x 89 mm)
sign, number and date on the back of the card
no theme, all techniques
you will get a set back
send it to:
STC c/o Cat Schick
246 23rd Ave. NW
If you get another participant’s e-mail address, please don’t add it to your general address book as that person might not want to be on any mailing lists. Thank-you.
I have plenty more of this ATC to trade. Please send an email if you want to swap!
I did a few series of artist trading cards and wound up grouping them together in one .jpg for display. I like to put my work online but a series is a lot of images to scroll through one by one. Having them separate dos not demonstrate the series as a coherent group very well. I went back to the old art school trick where students put related works together on one slide, usually for PowerPoint. If the professor told you you could show 12 slides, we figured out that did not necessarily mean 12 works of art, only 12 images with whatever art we wanted put in each one. I usually go with some shade of gray for the background. White and black backgrounds are really stark and done too often. I just drop a layer in Photoshop and bucket tool the whole thing. I went with a bluish-red with the Dia de los Muertos series to make it more interesting. I cheated with that one and just put a red piece of paper behind the cards on the scanner, which is why the art in the other images are a lot straighter.
One big benefit of living in a major city is the random finds in alleys. I had found three older large format art history books and a damaged encyclopedia of mythology. I took the books for the interior color art prints but later realized the real value is in the volumes themselves. The heavy covers and thick archival cotton rag interior pages with the silk head-banding and sewn pages of the older art books at 9.25″ x 12.75″ are amazing. They were expensive books made in the 1960s, having the good, heavy papers and the color prints of paintings tipped in by hand.
I am trying out making my first altered art book out of a former volume on the works of Renoir. This is just a personal project for enjoyment and to explore mixed-media / multi-media art more. I tired the painted waxed paper collage technique again and went looser with the process, working it more rumpled and distressed with the wax paper. I painted reds and a dark metallic bronze color on the book page. I used a gold leafing pen, iridescent white paint, craft glitter paints, gold metallic and pearlized jewel tone paints on the wax paper, again painting in reverse. Some areas I painted very sheer on purpose. The creases and rumples come out fairly opaque; the waxed paper has to be smoothed down for lowers payers to show through. The layed wax paper effect is similar to an encaustic painting in that the translucence and gloss do not show well in an image and look a lot more interesting in person.
Hockey Players by Shellie Lewis, multi-media on wood, 4.25 x 5.125 x 0.75″
I recently learned that kitchen waxed paper will accept acrylic paint and can be collaged using a decoupage medium such as Modge Podge. I decided to try this process and it is really neat! Painting on the reverse of the waxed paper gives the images a diffuse, aged look. I added to the aged look by crumpling the paintings.
You need acrylic paints, waxed paper and Modge Podge to get started. You cannot thin the paint with water because the waxed paper repels any water; the paint has to be a totally acrylic medium. Here are all the steps I used:
- Draw or trace an image onto the waxed paper. I traced photos from some large scale sports cards. I did use an evil Sharpie marker which I know will degrade. I wanted fine lines and no other pen I owned, all having water-based inks, was working.
- Paint your image or background pattern. If you want the waxed paper for a background, you can collage paper bits, gold leaf or foils, mica, glitter, threads and a wide array of items in addition to acrylic paint. Items with dimension can be glued down with Modge Podge. I just stayed with paint and a small dash of glitter paint for my hockey guys, treating the wax paper the same as a reverse glass painting. I painted on the side that is going to be glued to the wood.
- Paint the surface to adhere the waxed paper to if you want another layer of color. I painted a gun metal metallic gray onto gessoed pieces of wood, added some snowflakes and called it done for the background. The rest of the painted images was on the waxed paper. If you are painting and/or collaging a background field of color that the waxed paper is to be made into, you may want to skip this step, because you can completely cover the waxed paper. I planned to have flecks of and underlying color sow through the finished art work.
- Crumple the painting. I did two crumples, one horizontally and one vertically, to give the waxed paper an aged look. Some of the paint will flake off when the paper is balled up. If you crumple gently, paint loss is minimal compared to really crushing the waxed paper hard. Smooth the painting back out. Also, you can skip this step if you like.
- Modge Podge! I used the glossy kind. I used one layer on the wood and smoothed the wax paper onto the wood, put a second coat of Modge Podge on top and left it to dry. Do this step quickly as the waxed paper gets damp and will tear. After the wroks dried I did one more coat of Modge Podge and let it dry again. I trimmed the excess waxed paper off from around the edges, since the art works were bigger than the pieces of wood. Some Modge Podge medium ran down the sides so I sanded them clean.
- Seal the artwork. Modge Podge is sticky and I have run into problems if it gets wet again. I used two coats of a liquid clear acrylic brush-on varnish / sealer. There are many brands of clear sealers in spray cans that will also work well.
I’m happy with how the project came out considering the materials were really simple. I was able to use some gesso coated scrap wood pieces from a discard bin and make something nice out of a recycled material. The translucence of the waxed paper invite you to stack layers and think about layering more than one piece of waxed paper.
I took a few hundred photographs of the Chicago Blackhawks Training Camp Festival game in 2013. I’ve been shooting classes and games for my HBBF [hockey blogger boyfriend] since the COHL photos at Soldier Field and have gotten better at following the puck and framing a shot based on where the puck travels to. I have also been learning how to play ice hockey, am enrolled in a Hockey 101 class and have been contributing to The Hockey Noob blog on ChicagoNow. (Wow, sorry, that previous sentence sounds like a lame content for a resumé cover letter.) Anyway, hitting the gym has been boring and hitting the ice has been fun.
The Training Camp Festival focal point is a scrimmage of the current team and guys on the minor league team called up to play that day. This was a unique opportunity for me to get close to a live NHL game because seating on this one day is on a first come basis. Sal was in line really early and we took the back row of the 100 Level (also known as “seats we have never been able to afford in our lives”.) This allowed me to shoot over the glass, avoid a lot of the safety nets behind the goals and stand up without interrupting anyone else’s view of the game.
To be sure, the NHL players whip around a whole lot faster than Sal and his team-mates. Here are my favorite shots from the event. Click the drop down for a few shots of popular players that came out kind of nice. Here’s is the PuckJunk write up for “What you missed at the 2013 Blackhawks Training Camp Festival”. Anyone want to buy a Toews bobblehead? I’m a starving artist, I need my five bucks back to spend on food.
Artist’s Reflection: Street Art Sales and the Peddling Laws in Chicago
I started working with Chris Drew on the Art Patch Project through the Uptown MultiCultural Art Center (UMCAC) in September of 2011 until his death from cancer on 5/7/2012. I was the last artist to work with him, the last person to show up on a regular basis and the only person to create new art in that time span. We met for four hours on Sundays, except for a brief hospital stay that took Chris out of circulation for two weeks in 2011 and the final weeks leading to his death. The UMCAC / Art Patch Project and related Free Speech Artist’s Movement (SAM) were a collective invention by Chris Drew, a shoe-string enterprise coming out of our own pockets and small cash donations. I bought sheets at thrift stores, washed them and cut them into patches with a rotary cutter and bought a few jars of Speedball. Chris really watered down his silkscreen inks; although also he preferred work with really fluid inks, this was also a money saver. Operating in borrowed space in the crumbling sections of the American Indian Center on Wilson Avenue without running water or plumbing, using the crudest equipment possible, we silkscreened fabric art patches to bring awareness to the lack of street culture in Chicago, including the absence of street artists. With selling art on the streets being effectively illegal, Chris gave the art patches away for free in protest. Money could be given in return if people wished to donate. This kept the activist Art Patch Project effort within the laws of the First Amendment and outside of the definition of commerce.
I began my independent research and peddler’s license application process to try and legally sell art on the streets of Chicago on 5/22/2013 . Due to poverty, there had not been a funeral for Chris in 2012. After going to his memorial service held on 4/28/2013, I learned there was no ongoing effort to challenge the current system of laws and make street sales accessible to artists and the people of Chicago. There were people exchanging contact information about an effort to march to City Hall and protest the barriers to street sales but so far nothing has happened in that regard since April 2013.
To be honest, protesting in and of itself is useless. Without divulging proprietary training on tactics from The Yes Men, one of the first things I was taught is that protesting does not do anything. Scream all you want, protest your heads off and the larger system and authority figures do not care -and even want you to protest- because protesting is an illusion of power that does not actually change anything. Protesting can be used as a tool, as a step in a series of steps for a plan towards a greater goal; on its own, protesting is useless without a larger plan that includes other tools as an effort to bring actual social or political change. Real power lies in positions of authority and who can control money. Real power lies in the laws which govern our towns, counties, cities and nation.
My goal was to get a peddler’s license and to document all aspects of negotiating the Chicago bureaucracy. My efforts were spent on a slew of phone calls, long distance phone calls, emails, reading websites, calls to Springfield looking for paperwork misdirected by the state, applications to state and city entities, in-person visits to City Hall, and an in-person meeting and follow up email with my Ward Alderman to get both a peddler’s license and learn the rules surrounding the license. The regulations are neither given in person nor published online by the Business Administration & Consumer Protection department in City Hall. BACP is the entity that issues peddler licenses. I made a further visit to City Hall and a third application to gain a permit to sell downtown via the Speech Peddler’s Permit (being the third permit acquired) and a separate trip to the 1st District Central Police Department to inform the police of my permits and intentions on 7/12/2013. That took two train rides, two bus trips and the entire day.
Actually getting a peddler’s license and acquiring the rules for the license took a total of 49 days of continual effort beginning 5/22/2013 and ending 7/09/2013 resulting in 11 pages of documentation. Gaining a permit to sell downtown ups the total to 51 days of effort. I’m a white, college educated person that still found the bureaucracy daunting and time consuming. In addition to approaching the government system from a position of privilege, I also had access to a civil rights attorney that was willing to meet with me in person and take my calls to answer questions for free. All of the steps I had to go through to apply for a simple business license and learn its regulations, the amount of time it took to accomplish this task -a month and a half of persistent inquiries and action- is appalling.
Here are my findings from my effort at social and legal change from working within the legal system:
1. The Chicago Municipal Code including the Peddlers Licence laws and restrictions are not hosted on any Chicago website. The Chicago Municipal Code is externally published through the American Legal Publishing Corporation at:
Peddling and street performers are covered under Chapter 4-244 of the Municipal Code of Chicago:
I archived the laws as they were in effect in 2013 here.
2. The eight pages of banned areas rules out all lucrative areas for peddling, including all of downtown, which makes the peddling license useless for myself and others since this is the prime location sell items to people visiting for local attractions, tourism and recreation. The entire 47th Ward, the entire 50th Ward, all of downtown, the whole Magnificent Mile shopping district, all sports arena neighborhoods, all city sponsored events, Millennium Park and more are banned areas. I was able to find a legal loophole and applied for and received a Political Speech Permit that allowed for sales of items and this permit allowed me to sell from one single location downtown. I was strictly allowed to only be on the northwest corner of Washington Street at the intersection of Washington Street and Michigan Avenue for access to downtown via this particular, location specific Political Speech Permit.
The days I was downtown, I watched hoards of people streaming across Michigan Avenue to go see “The Bean” – the Cloudgate sculpture by Anish Kapoor in Millennium Park. If I could have crossed the street to the other side of Michigan Avenue, I would have had quadruple (or more) the number of pedestrians pass in front of me. As it was, I sat in front of the Chicago Cultural Center separated by law from the dominant flow of foot traffic and watched people, children and adults alike, climb all over the bronze cow statue.
My Alderman Ameya Pawar was going to look into the peddling laws and their origins and get back to me in a month after a face-to-face meeting 7/10/2013 and a follow up email 7/11/2013, but he never contacted me with any response.
3. The current peddling laws and extreme restrictions set by the laws crush micro-business at its smallest level by making peddling impossible. I’m a white, college educated person that still found the bureaucracy daunting and time consuming, how much worse would these barriers be for someone who struggles with legal verbiage or is afraid to be discriminated against due to ethnicity? The $100 fee for the peddler’s license and the fact that there are no exceptions to waive the fee for the poor or indigent makes begging and panhandling the most economically viable legal method to making money on the streets. The $100 fee for the peddler’s license does cover two years, but how many people living in poverty can come up with $100?
The counts I kept on the street economy (illustrated in the pie chart above) reflect the days I was downtown and covers the path I traveled from the El train to and from my authorized sales location and the time spent there. I only counted each person once, not duplicating anyone. People asking for money for activist, social, political or religious causes were not counted as they were representatives of a larger non-profit, activist or parochial entity and were not panhandling in the sense of the definition of asking people for money for their own personal needs. A 69% majority of street commerce was panhandling but if you count illegal, unlicensed street sales as a form of panhandling that total is 86% of people making unlicensed monetary solicitations versus the 14% of legally licensed street performers such as musicians. To clarify, panhandling is legal in Chicago. If I beg for money on State Street or in front of the Art Institute, that is legal. If I sell you a painting or a t-shirt in the same location, I have broken the law.
The irony of the current system of laws is that it goes against what Americans love to teach children about enterprise. Many a child is sent out to a sidewalk or street corner in summer to start their first business: a lemonade stand. The basic lesson of the childhood lemonade stand is that the public is accessed, something is offered for sale and money is earned through the exchange. The reality is that government has unlimited power to regulate commerce, and commerce is legally defined not as earning money; commerce is defined as any good or tangible item that is exchanged for money. Commerce on the streets of Chicago is taking place on a daily basis; the majority of the street commerce is extra-legal. The lemonade stand is an ideal not reflected by the reality of our laws. People are barred from beginning a micro-business, a legally run small scale sales business, on the most elementary level by being denied economic access to the public. The high cost of the license and the complexity of the laws, the vast banned areas and the up to $200 penalty fines for making a mistake crush innovation. The current laws bar people with only a small amount of start up money or very little investment capital from legally engaging in new enterprises because the cost of the peddling license is high, the risks of being punished are high and the benefits of having a legal license is low.
My total intake from fine art sales was $28 over the summer. Weekdays had no people approach me so I focused on being in place on Saturdays. All of the homeless people I hired for $5 for 10 -15 minutes of work to watch my merchandise showed up for the paid job except for one. I was pleased and surprised that the homeless / panhandlers I hired and paid were both grateful and responsible when presented an opportunity to earn money. Overall, I did not gain financial benefit from my art sales enterprise. My total costs including the cost of the peddler’s license, hiring the homeless and buying hardware for the display for merchandise left me at -$97. To be fair, if I were selling soft drinks, ice cream or t-shirts, peddling would have probably been profitable. The Peddlers License and subsequent Speech Peddler’s Permit are specific to allowed categories of declared retail goods, the second license requires exemplars to be shown as a part of the application process, and neither can be used to sell a flexible range of goods.
Being trapped on one corner with low foot traffic and not being able to move around crippled my efforts to find customers. Customers had to find me as I was totally restricted in mobility in addition to being restricted in salable wares. The current peddling laws perfectly sabotage peddling. The current system guarantees failure. Enterprise, innovation and the potential for a small business is blocked for the poorest of citizens.
4. My in-person and online petition garnered less than 100 signatures. Explained simply to people, I told everyone I wanted the regional bans removed from the Municipal Code of Chicago and the laws be changed so that if a person pays the $100 dollars for a two year peddler’s license, the person peddling should be able to legally operate throughout city limits. The American public is very complacent; they strongly avoid political complexity, did not want to make an effort to understand the peddling licensing issue and are predominantly too apathetic to care about anything that does not directly involve themselves. They assume just because something is a law, then it should be a law and changing or removing laws is automatically suspicious. Encountering this mentality has lead me to feel I have some insight on how travesties like the Jim Crow laws were able to endure for decades.
The Chicago public is so used to homeless people and other people begging downtown, religious preaching and political activists they are utterly hardened to any kind of in-person approach by any stranger. I went hours where I could not even get one person to look at me. My longest stretch of time with no human interaction was five hours. Oddly enough, most children would walk right up to my display to see the paintings closer. Adults treated me aggressively as if I were a threat, a beggar or doing something illegal. I always wore my photo ID badge and had my other city permit sticker on display. I was friendly and courteous. I brought non-controversial and highly decorative paintings and photography to display. The majority of people that approached were tourists who used me as an unpaid concierge to get directions to Macy’s, the train they needed, museums and other destinations.
Art Patch by Chris Drew
How do you change culture? Mahatma Gandhi taught that in order to change culture, you need to be the change you want to see occur. In that I was able to infiltrate the Iron Curtain of Chicago’s most powerful core and be the first in decades and the currently only artist to legally sell art downtown, I have succeeded. In that I was unable to reach out to people and create greater awareness of issues concerning the city’s control of street commerce, create momentum to reform a set of laws and hope for a more egalitarian economic system in the future, I have failed. One person cannot change culture. Emails, phone calls and speaking with others failed to garner other participants in this effort even though I reached out to everyone I could think of and as many of Chris Drew’s supporters and I was able to contact.
I feel these issues are an important matter and that I have demonstrated achieving the goal of street art sales can be accomplished. Making a greater cultural change to bring economic access to the public and street sales to Chicago on a wider scale would take a larger number of people and a longer time commitment. I feel street vending would benefit the Chicago as it does for New York since street vending would provide opportunities for visual artists, street sales of artisan hand crafts, access to public sales would offer singular items uniquely from Chicago residents and overall access to a reformed peddling system would give a legal alternative to panhandling and illegal vending. People desiring to start a micro-business could learn entrepreneurial skills and have potential for financial improvement.
Chronology of Prior Posts:
Short link this article: http://bit.ly/14yOyko
Today I continued with my street art and activism routine downtown. I passed eight panhandlers from the library stop at State & Van Buren to my corner at Washington & Michigan. One panhandler was actually on his knees on the sidewalk for close to an hour with a plastic cup in front of him, which was emotionally disturbing to watch. I also saw three street performers with permits who were out busking, including the violinist from day one. A friend and fellow hackerspace member also passed by and we briefly spoke. I am only in my allocated position once a week, usually on Saturday as weekdays have proven to have very slow foot traffic on that corner. I am getting to know the downtown street people better as time progresses.
I have been sticking to a policy of hiring a panhandler as part of my street art routine. Needing a bathroom break helps me stay out on the street corner for longer than a few hours. I was out for five hours today and hired a homeless woman named Trey. My standing offer is $5 for 15 minutes to watch my stuff; anyone hired only has to tell people I will be back soon and prevent theft. My HBBF feels this amount is too generous but I feel it is equitable payment as is at least enough money to buy some food. My hires thus far have voiced appreciation for the amount and requested to help again in the future if I should be available to hire them again. Only one person has ever ditched me out. To date an absolute majority of the homeless or people begging on the streets have proven to actually be willing to do work they are able to manage to earn pay.
A prior hire named Jackie has not been seen for weeks according to Trey; I asked because I have not seen Jackie either. I hope Jackie is in a better place. I drew a cartoony angel on Trey’s cardboard sign asking for money and she wanted me to sign it, so I did. With a few art schools in close proximity, it seems to be a bit of a thing where locals -either artists or students- paint and draw more elaborate signs for the homeless. I saw a cardboard sign made with an array of acrylic paints that was an illustration of the city skyline and the center text implored people to give money. About an hour was passed talking about art stuff with a young man named Brad who had a folder of drawings with him. Brad said he is currently homeless and expressed interest whether selling drawings could make him any money. I advised him I was not making money myself, having only made $1 thus far. I explained that this is a political action to show people what could be available to them from local creative people and that Chicago Municipal Code for peddling laws needs to be reformed. Also, that it is social because there are no street artists or peddlers downtown and many people assume I am either begging or doing something illegal. The majority of the public ignores me with a hardened aggression that has been honed by years to decades of unwanted approaches on the street. Curiosity or interest comes primarily from tourists and visitors. I had given Brad a zine as a demonstration of what zines are and as gift, artist to artist, yet he insisted I accept a dollar for it.
The police finally dropped on me today. A female officer was hovering and then approached when a second female office came in behind her. She started off with saying “you are not allowed to be selling here” and I told I was allowed and had all the proper permits. The first officer reviewed all of the documents. I was splitting my attention between Brad, we had been in a conversation before the officers interrupted, and also trying to keep a level tone since the police were making Brad nervous. Chicago police have a long track record of harrying, harassing, arresting and generally kicking around homeless people. Being in that vulnerable of a position does not make uniformed officers a welcome sight to any homeless person I ever met. I explained that what I was doing was new and all of my paperwork was in order. I also had the name and phone number of the sergeant these officers answer to written across the top of my paper permit. You know, it’s handy in case I need it. The officers gave me my paperwork back, turned and left, but one made some sort of impolite dismissive hand gesture which Brad rebuked her for with a comment I cannot remember. Having now been tested, my permits and licenses have held up and I was not dislodged from my space on the street or arrested.
My primary fun was watching people in their various get ups heading to Lollapalooza. Some seem to dress in a strangely 1990s imaginary version of 1970s Woodstock attire: flowing tops, long skirts and flowers in their hair. One guy was either Steampunk or really retro in a black top hat, a black waistcoat with slacks, a grey vest and silver metal watch chain. Two young men with Guy Fawkes masks on were strolling along with a friend in a large plushy Scooby Doo costume. Some concert goers told others about the petition I wanted signatures for and a few people traveled from Lolla to where I was to sign it, which had me thrilled.
I ended out the day at -$3.00 in cash, a new batch of petition signatures and a bump in optimism that will help for my next day out on the street. Being nailed down in the one -and only one- location is a huge disadvantage. If I could legally move closer to where people were milling around for Lollapalooza, I would have had a more advantageous position. A kind Latino man who signed my petition asked me if I knew how much it cost for a street sales permit in London. I told him I did not. He said it was €25 for a whole year and that people were mobile throughout London. How I wish the laws were the same in Chicago.
Please sign this petition and please forward to others to sign. Let city government know people want change:
Panhandling was made illegal in Chicago until the A.C.L.U. sued the city and won on the basis of those laws being a restriction on Free Speech. The A.C.L.U. lawsuit only covered panhandling and left out artists, musicians and street merchants. This has led to the current laws which radically restrict peddling. What is worse for the city’s economy and image: someone offering to sell you something or someone panhandling? The current laws make paying for a Peddler’s License less beneficial than begging. Begging costs nothing to begin as it requires no investment in goods, it offers no revenue to the city in licensing fees, is outside of the systems of state and city taxation and is a deterrent to visitors. Ongoing reform to the Peddler’s License, starting with removing the regional bans, will offer a legal alternative through micro-business start ups that wish to vend merchandise to the public.
Welcome to Chicago’s tiniest art gallery.
I legally sold a painting on the streets of Chicago yesterday. I still almost can’t believe that actually happened. I decided to pick up where Chris Drew and I left off. Instead of protesting city laws from the outside like Chris was, I wanted to attempt to follow proper procedures and look for reform from within the system I started navigating the state and city business licensing process back on May 22, 2013 and achieved success on June 13, 2013. All of the research, contacts and communication I have done took hour after hour to complete going from from lead or from one piece of information to the next. The Chicago Peddler’s License is currently $100 for two years, but unlike the busking permit for musicians, people selling items are banned from a majority of the city – really any place that a person, especially an artist, could expect to make any money. Dealing with the regulations and bureaucracy in all of that time has made me feel like I have been beating my head against a brick wall. Dealing with City of Chicago authority figures is so much like being in a live action version of a Sara Paretsky novel that is is bizarre! I finally figured out how to get where I wanted without breaking the law: hello loophole.
I have three month’s access to the northwest corner of Michigan Avenue at Washington Street using the Speech Peddler’s Permit which is an additional permit applied for on top of the Peddler’s Permit that allows me downtown but restricts me solely to that one location with the permission of the Business Affairs and Consumer Protection department in Chicago City Hall. This puts me in the unique situation of being the one and only artist legally street vending work downtown. As much as I wanted to celebrate it as a personal coup: no high costs of art fairs or street festivals, a prime location and heavy foot traffic; my real feelings are that I need to reach down and bring up other people. The primary legal purpose of the Speech Peddler’s purpose is for what they city legally construes in the Municipal Code 4-244-141 as:
(a) Definitions. For purposes of this section, “speech peddling” shall mean where a licensed peddler sells or exchanges for value anything containing words, printing or pictures that predominantly communicates a non-commercial message.
For purposes of this section, a “non-commercial message” may include, without limitation, a message relating to political, religious, artistic, and/or any other non-commercial idea(s). Where the words, printing and/or pictures do nothing more than identify a product, such as a brand name or logo, or identify the peddled item’s origin or place of manufacture, or otherwise do nothing more than advertise or promote the product itself, the item shall be not be deemed to communicate a “non-commercial message”.
For purposes of this section, “predominately communicates” shall mean that the non-commercial message is the primary purpose of the item which is being sold. Factors that should be considered in determining whether an item predominantly communicates a non-commercial message include: (i) the percentage of the item containing non-commercial printing and/or pictures, (ii) the size of the lettering or pictures, and (iii) any other factor otherwise indicating that the primary purpose of the item being sold is to communicate a non-commercial message. In no event may there be any commercial message which occupies more space on the item than does the non-commercial message.
For purposes of this section, items that may, under the relevant criteria, predominantly communicate a non-commercial message may include T-shirts, books, audiotapes, videotapes, compact disks, posters, flags, banners, signs, buttons, toys, balloons or any other item.
What this more or less breaks down to in plain English is that people can get get a permit to legally hawk things for political or religious purposes. Just because I feel my artistic expression and sales is protected free speech does not have much practical backing or legal precedent, even though corporate donations of millions to billions of dollars to political campaigns is protected “free speech”. Begging is legally protected free speech; selling things is not. I went to art school and am not a good candidate to debate the convoluted warping of logic and the English language for legal uses. What I am bright enough to have figured out is that sales of my art are now politicized as a) examples of unique items specifically made here in Chicago, and more importantly b) to bring awareness to the bans of the Peddler’s License and to direct people to a petition to remove the bans, making the entire city accessible to people who buy the proper license. Also, having had people in art school to tell me to be less political, here is the ironic reversal where any personal political art I have laying around now has an outlet.
Samuel Savoirfaire Williams provided me with hours of live music while he was in the same location.
It looks like getting signatures for my petition and communicating with the public about reforming the restrictions on the Peddler’s Permit will yield slow progress. About 98% of the passing public studiously ignored me although yelling out like a sports stadium beer seller actually works. I wrung the most of out the day. I got my first page of signatures, sold one small painting and a zine for a total of $21 and mooched free live music from a violinist who was my street neighbor for the day. I hired a panhandler to give me a break which enabled me to be out for five hours; I told her she would get $5 for 15 minutes if she would just watch my stuff and tell anyone I would be back soon. This enabled me to sprint to a restroom and run a comb through my hair. The breeze and wind downtown is constant. This dropped my take down to $16 or a total of $3.20 an hour for five hours. Then I realized that this grand income did not account for either the time or cost of materials invested in making the art sold and contemplated on how thoroughly Wal-Mart is kicking my ass. On the other hand, I employed a panhandler and she earned money from a small job and probably got a greater amount than she would have gotten from begging. Good Karma: priceless.
Members at Pumping Station: One are building a kitchen and I helped hang drywall today. We got to talking about NYC construction culture and how people there and in general will write, draw and place objects in between walls being built. Also, I was hot, dusty and a teeny bit bored. I drew a cutesy mermaid cartoon in one section and drew a suspended bat in another. Maybe some day some one will find them unexpectedly! A time capsule would have been cooler though, but no one thought of that and planned for it. Next time… Next time…