university of oregon

I had the pleasure of spending a few days documenting the beautiful campus of University of Oregon earlier this summer for 160over90. They used some of my assets to put together beautiful new branding, some of which you can find here. The experience was fantastic and the entire time in Eugene, Oregon was inspiring and made me wish I was younger and could spend my days wandering such a beautiful campus. A huge thanks goes to all the students and faculty who let us into their lives and to David Levy and the entire crew at 160over90 for having me along on this trip.

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the arts initiative

During the summer of 2013, I spent many hours wandering the floor of an under-construction fashion outlet mall on Chicago’s outskirts. While the Forever 21, Hot Topic, etc were being constructed, cleaned and filled with Asian-made merchandise, a collection of 11 talented artists were dodging construction crews and creating original art pieces throughout the complex. Developer Arthur Weiner and Arts Initiative curators BooksIIII Bischof, Typoe and Cristina Gonzalez of Primary Projects kindly hired me to document the process, while artists Daniel Arsham, FriendsWithYou, Andrew Nigon, Jen Stark, Bhakti Baxter, Cody Hudson, Kenton Parker, Austyn Weiner, Jim Drain, Alvaro Ilizarbe and Bert Rodriguez lined the halls with their visions. It was an inspiring and exhausting endeavour, which is partly why it took me a few years to get these images on my blog (I got busy!). A huge thanks goes to everyone involved for letting me invade their workspaces. I still can’t get over the time and energy that went into it: Andrew’s hundreds of hand-crafted artificial balloons hanging from the rafters; Jen’s insanely colorful hand-drawn escalator design and elaborate sculpture; Alvaro’s weeks of laying atop a 30-foot tall scaffold while painting an entire ceiling and large foyer in super detail; Bert’s boxes and boxes of clocks, each needing adjustments; Jim’s snakes and colors that made my camera sensor give up; Bhakti’s hand-painted hypnotic foyer; FriendsWithYou’s trademark pseudo amusement park dangling from the sky; Cody’s super heavy panels secured expertly from the walls; Austyn and Kenton’s smartly prefabricated wall cover pieces; Daniel’s clever visions blended seamlessly into their surroundings, subtle and unexpected enough to make you do a double take and remember life is strange and it’s easy to forget this, especially while shopping for discounted shirts and new socks.

You can find more info about the project on the official website. Next time you’re in the food court enjoying one of Auntie Anne’s pretzels between clearance sales, you’ll have a bit of a better understanding of the countless hours that went into making an otherwise ordinary mall a little bit magical.

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vic mensa for the guardian

I got an email from The Guardian asking if I wanted to photograph Vic Mensa for an upcoming feature. Of course I did! I didn’t even know it but I’d shot Vic a few times while in his previous band Kids These Days. I hadn’t realized they had disbanded and the Vic I’d seen on SNL and rapping with Kanye, on his way to becoming the next big star out of Chicago, was the same kid, just a bit more grown up.

Our shoot was short and the mid-day harsh sunlight was a challenge, but I found a fun little flower-filled spot with a well-placed DETOUR sign down the street from his studio and we made some fun images.

Looking forward to his upcoming album and whatever else Vic Mensa has in store for us. Be sure to check out The Guardian feature.

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introducing haywood tavern

It’s been an awesome experience watching Haywood Tavern transform from an empty storefront on the corner of Augusta & California into a bustling restaurant and bar with really great food and drink list, both the creations of two dudes I’ve known for so long that I wasn’t even a photographer when I met them but ended up shooting both of their weddings and now their tavern. Chef Rodney Staton fills the menu with simple yet elevated dishes, Spanish-inspired pintxos, and a constantly-changing Weekly Offerings selection that has me coming back just so I don’t miss something great (a riff on Arby’s roast beef sandwich, beef belly pastrami, faux pho carpaccio, and rhubarb-doused cornmeal cake to name a few). Jason Baluton might get annoyed by my constant beer inventory suggestions and detail nitpicking, but he’s put together a welcoming space that more or less checks off every aspect of what I think a good tavern should be.

When I first moved to Humboldt Park roughly twelve years back, just down the street, the refined food offerings were nonexistent. Since then, many new establishments have opened and the neighborhood has changed in many ways. Some say the change is burdensome gentrification that’s ruining the neighborhood, however, I feel strongly that good neighborhood establishments with a sense of care and attention to the products they offer are vital components to any good neighborhood, and while the trend towards higher quality food continues, Haywood Tavern is a welcome addition and one that puts pride in me just knowing I had a tiny hand in it’s creation.

Go check it out and let me know if you agree. You can find more info on their website, which I also designed!

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Maxine - The food was AMAZING. The atmosphere was hip, but relaxed. I’ll be back to this cozy town tavern.

choose chicago

Over the course of many months spanning from late last summer until this spring (with a break during the winter hibernation months), I was assigned to shoot an enormous image library covering all things cool in Chicago for the city’s official tourism arm, Choose Chicago. Having just returned from a trip out west, I got back home just as summer set in and was immediately reminded why I love this place so much. These images only touch on the great things Chicago has to offer and are only a sampling of what we shot. It was an incredible experience; from shooting Wrigley Field at sunrise, to photographing airplanes from the runway at O’Hare, each shoot reminded me a little more about all the fantastic things Chicago has to offer.

A huge thanks goes to all of the locations for hosting us and all the people who let me photograph them. Thanks of course to everyone at FCB (Myra! Chase!) and Choose Chicago (Mina! Michael!) for the help. The job spanned so many days that I can’t possibly name everyone individually here. People involved at the start of the project moved on to different jobs (Nikki! Shana!).

Rumor has it you may start to see some of the images around town. You should also check out the #EpicChicago video that was shot as part of this project.

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Crysta - Mad Skills!

Robert Galvin - What a great Chicago portfolio, Clayton! So alive! Terrific color! Wonderful compositions!

Jenny - Sooooo good. Can I get a print of the 2 punks kissing and one of that handsome guy with Lyric? :D