From Studio to CTA: Behind the Scenes with 3 Blondes and a Bald Guy

August 18th, 2010

Art on Track is an incredibly ambitious project. Not only does it involve installing a variety of art exhibits in a CTA train, it also has the potential to reach people who might not otherwise visit an art exhibit by bringing the art to them. Any project of this magnitude takes a huge amount of planning and preparation, from both the project organizers like Tristan Hummel, and the artists who participate as well.

Enter 3 Blondes and a Bald Guy, the winning Art on Track group, composed of artists Jackie Capozzoli, Erin Cramer, and Haley Nagy, as well as curator Stephen DeSantis. Fear No Art first filmed them in their studios in Columbia College’s basement, where they were fully engaged in this process of Art on Track prep work. For the second time around, we travelled to the secret bunker at Midway housing the orange line train that would become the Art on Track exhibition. The group was knee-deep in the process of installing a living room, kitchen, and bathroom in their car, complete with a molded paper toilet and encaustic curtains. As they worked, we took the time to film an intro, a rather difficult task considering all the artists, photographers, and the second film crew that was running back and forth. To give you sense of the controlled chaos in which we were trying to film, imagine a group of artists all around you preparing for battle, only their weapons are wood, paint, and foam core.

Elysabeth interviewed 3 Blondes and a Bald Guy in their installation, Encroachment, once it was nearly complete. It was incredible to see materials that they had been working on just weeks before completely transform their CTA car into a “home” in just a few short hours. As 4:30 rolled around, we got to ride the Art on Track train into the station. One of the highlights of the day was to see the stunned faces on commuters as this mobile art exhibit passed them by. Once we got to Adams and Wabash, we captured people’s reactions as they came off the train. If filming in the middle of the installation process was tough, filming with CTA trains constantly going by in the background was nearly impossible. Our hard work was rewarded at the end of the day when we got to take our own ride on Art on Track and experience the installations we had seen coming together all afternoon. Encroachment in its final state, complete with performers and Jackie Capozzoli as the elegant housewife handing out “cookies,” was the wonderful culmination of an intriguing concept and hours of hard work.

Art on Track may only be seen in its full glory for a few short hours as the train circles the Loop, but there is a flurry of activity in the weeks, days, and hours before the train leaves Midway to ensure Art on Track gives a viewer the most unique L ride of their life. As long as there are secret bunkers and artists doing incredible things, Art Scene and Fear No Art will be there to show you all that goes on behind the scenes, from plan to finished product.

-Nicole Nelson

Nicole Nelson is a second-year graduate student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, going for her Masters in New Arts Journalism. She is currently the marketing intern at Fear No Art Chicago. When not writing or studying, she enjoys taking pictures, reading historical fiction, and finding art in unexpected places.

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