Archive for the ‘Legal & Copyright’ Category

Free Print: Shark Zine

I made a full color painted + digital zine that you can print for free. Sharks are amazing and many of them are dangerously close to becoming extinct. Any animal population that is under 1,000 individuals is in great danger. Humans are the main thing killing sharks and we need to care about their survival.

Shark Dreams is a one-page mini zine that follows the folding and cutting instructions posted here. I plan to do some full-color, full bleed, professionally printed laser copies. I recommend last prints for their superior color and clarity. Color printing gets expensive quickly, so that I why I am letting people to print their own copy. I could never afford to print as many as I want to send to mail art pen pals and traders.

This zine is available for education and personal enjoyment. I retain the copyright; please contact me if you want to use this zine for mass printing or fundraising purposes. Please donate to an ocean conservation group, even if it is as little as $1 or $5. We need to stop our fellow humans from wiping out more species.

PDF print copy:
Sharks Zine

PNG 600 dpi print copy:
Sharks Zine




Free Zine Pattern & Tutorial

October 11, 2013 2 comments

This is a basic eight page zine that is made from one sheet of paper. Print the template below for a practice copy. The orientation of the page numbers shows which way is up for each page. Accordion fold the zine to get your eight pages. Right click and open in a new tab in your browser if you are having trouble downloading the full size image. This is sized to 8.5″ x 11″ paper.


Here is a quarter fold zine pattern for 8 pages from one page. The differences are: you need to cut across the whole center dashed line, you need something to bind the pages together (like a needle and heavy thread or staples), and you need to print two-sided on one piece of paper. I marked how to flip the paper around in your printer or copier if the system you use is not automatic. I like using 110# cardstock paper for this pattern so inks do not bleed through the pages. Open and download this PDF for the pattern.  I placed the .jpg versions below.

Free Quarter Fold Zine Pattern



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Artist’s Reflection: Street Art Sales and the Peddling Laws in Chicago

September 8, 2013 2 comments

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 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:$fn=default.htm$3.0$vid=amlegal:chicago_il$anc=JD_4-244-140

Peddling and street performers are covered under Chapter 4-244 of the Municipal Code of Chicago:$fn=default.htm$3.0$vid=amlegal:chicago_il$anc=JD_4-244-140

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 are 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

In conclusion:

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 as 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 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.

Shellie Lewis

Chicago 2013


Chronology of Prior Posts:

Why No Artists Vend Work in Public Here in Chicago

Beyond the Impossible

Petition to Remove the Location Restrictions for the Peddler’s License

Street Artist Diary: August 3, 2013

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Street Artist Diary: August 3, 2013



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.

New Mail Art Category

November 19, 2012 2 comments

I am adding a new Mail Art category to the blog for non-artist trading card items.  The mail art community is so huge and diverse with a wide array of gifted and traded items including inchies, twinchies, rinchies, altered Rolodex art, journal pages, artist post cards and more.  I greatly enjoyed my collage trade and will be a small painting trade later this month.  Meanwhile, a broad request is being sent out for a hurricane loss of a post card collection:

Can you help a friend of a friend out who lives in Brant Beach? One of the things that she lost, which can never truly be replaced but had a lot of meaning to her, was her extensive postcard collection from all over the world. Here is her message… For all of you who have asked me: “what can I do?” I finally thought of something! It may seem silly in the face of so much devastation and believe me, I count my blessings over and over. One of the things I lost was an extensive collection of postcards sent to me over a lifetime from every continent (including Antarctica!) maybe no monetary value, but they were written with love, some by people who have passed on that I will never hear from again. In the spirit of starting over and rebuilding, I ask that you send me a postcard (please no virtual ones, I’m talking with a stamp and postmark) my address is Laura Maschal 4603 Long Beach Blvd, Brant Beach, NJ 08008. Eventually there will be postal service again and I will receive it. Thank you! Feel free to share this post 🙂

Please spare a minute and a stamp to send a post card.

Meanwhile, I had been thinking about the loss of my antique post card collection.  Many years ago, I was feeding this teenage crack head who lived in the apartment above me.  She was not old enough to drive, had pale skin bordering on translucent, badly dyed blonde hair and pale cornflower blue eyes.  She would have looked pretty if it weren’t for the dark circles under her eyes and her gaunt frame.  I checked in with a patrol officer for my ‘hood and he told me the gang member that pimped her out was the real deal and would put a bullet through my head if I interfered.  I held out some hope for her and fed her a skeletal self good number of sandwiches and leftovers.  She was headed for a real cold place in the morgue and no one was looking out for her well-being.  No good deed goes unpunished, and I suspect it was she who robbed my place.  I lost all my gold jewelry and my antique post cards.  They were probably fenced on Water Street in Wilmington, Illinois.  I found the above post card, the century old Halloween greeting, in between the pages of a large art book.  It had been my last purchase before the crackhead girl robbed me and I used it as a temporary book mark.  My current apartment storage unit was robbed this October and I lost all my tables, chairs, steel cooler and tent foot tent for outdoor art fairs.  It was a terrible loss.

I was sad and angry over the recent robbery and was further reminded of the lost antique post cards from the prior robbery.  Those items were unique and irreplaceable.  Close to a decade has gone by since the post card loss and I stuck my nose into an antiques shop to learn that the tanked economy and lack of interest has rock bottomed the price of post cards.  I feel a lot better about these two hardships because I started a new collection this month.  Instead of just mourning the loss, I have moved on and made some great buys.

This also will be your benefit, since I am going to drop high resolution scans of the antique post cards I buy in this new category.  I cannot assure everything or anything is Public Domain; use them at your own discretion.  Please download them for digital designs, print them out and use them in collage art or make new post cards to send to someone.

Henry Rollins on Gay Marriage

October 24, 2012 Leave a comment

Gotta love me some Henry explaining the financial benefits of bigotry. Thanks, Henry!

Categories: Legal & Copyright, Video

The Last Two Art Patch Project Designs

October 13, 2012 4 comments

October 9th would have been the birthday for Chicago street artist and activist Chris Drew had he not died May 7, 2012.  No one took down his Facebook feed, so the stupid social media software was reminding me to wish him a happy birthday.  That was creepy, and sad.  I found the number of people writing not a memorial or commemoration for his former Facebook wall but wrote instead “Happy Birthday!!” bizarre.  I feel that the dead do not have birthdays; they are dead and had a birth date.  Birthdays are for the living.  If some factoid advises that today is Mozart’s 256th birthday, that is even more illogical.  No one lives that long so we should say it is the anniversary of the person’s birthday or something more sensible.

I never got to print these last two creations for the Art Patch Project.  Chris was in the hospital with the keys to the studio space.  We were out of photo-emulsion to burn silkscreens and he went into rapid decline.  The art works and greater action largely supported his cause in fighting his protest arrest for street vending art and the felony eavesdropping charge of audio recording his own arrest by the police on the sidewalk in public.

As is the case with all of the other Art Patch contributions I created from August 2011 through May 2012, these are open source, Copyleft and may be used in the public domain barring any appropriation, interpretation or extrapolation that promotes oppression toward others and attacks, insults or hate rhetoric toward any group, sexual orientation, gender, race or ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation. 

I had been shopping out thrift stores for the sheets I liked to use for fabric patches and was looking for a nice floral pattern to print behind this art patch.  I liked working with the patterns fabric like here and here.  They were fun and this method was an easy way o print fast and get color in the work.

This is a Chicago thing.  There is a decades old folk song called “Lincoln Pirates” because the Lincoln Towing Company will haul your car off, even if it is not illegal parked or broken down somewhere.  They are notorious car thieves and were even caught stripping stolen cars in a police sting, yet strangely are still in business.  The time they got me, I stepped into a 7/11 store for about five minutes and the car was gone that fast.