The Blog: News, Works in Progress, Reflections
We wanted to have a name and look that felt equal to our evolution. "Illustration" didn't tell the whole story. "Cape Horn" didn't either. Katie's ceramics are now a key pillar of our studio. And we wanted a more focused mission, more polished look, a fresh start. We felt especially energized to make this change as we've built our new physical studio space.
About the name and logo
"Wonder City" is a little-used nickname for Chicago. We think its origins date to a book written to be released for the World's Fair in 1893, kind of a boosterist book filled with big stories and facts about the then-up-and-coming city. We bought the first edition on eBay, and that's pictured below.
We thought that "Wonder City" was a perfect way to describe what we do. We get a sense of wonder of the architecture and history of the city around us, and we want to inspire others to feel the same way about their own city, neighborhood, home.
The bottom line: We create artwork that honors the architecture and history of places worth preserving, with a special love for Chicago. We help our clients honor cherished homes, buildings, neighborhoods, cities; and we partner with organizations with similar missions.
The logo makes a few references:
- The iconic three towers of the 1933 World's Fair, the Century of Progress.
- Looking overhead at the tops of cottage roofs, which you can see in so many neighborhoods.
- The tips of ink pens. A nod to our origins in ink but more generally, to our arts-based focus.
Many thanks to Steve Shanabruch for creating this logo! We loved working with him.
We've given our website a fresh look and are changing things top to bottom, from postcards to the sign on our door. It's amazing just how many things there are to change, and you will probably see signs of "Cape Horn Illustration" for some time to come, but eventually it'll be all Wonder City Studio.
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Here is a look at some of our recently released ceramics collection. Our bungalow snack plates:
Our handmade ceramic plates are crafted from white stoneware, finished with a matte blue-gray glaze, and feature Phil’s pen and ink drawings.
Perfect for fans of classic Chicago bungalows, these plates are great for snacks, desserts, or simply for decoration.
- Approximate size is 5.75” wide by 1" tall.
- Dishwasher safe. Oven and microwave use is not recommended.
- Because these are handmade, sizes and surfaces will vary slightly.
The Chicago River carves the city like a canyon, it's got moods, it turns blue, teal, sometimes bright green, it's been around longer than the city. It's a natural beauty in the middle of epic architecture. It's no wonder so many visitors make the river cruise their first intro to Chicago.
This is made for anyone who loves the Riverwalk, gawking at the buildings on the riverfront, taking in St Paddy's Day--or who just loves the river, period.
I thought it would be fun to do a self-referential "home styles" guide of the American suburbs--or at least, the worst of the American suburbs. I've always enjoyed the writing of Kate Wagner of McMansion Hell, who hilariously breaks down exactly why some of the suburban home designs (McMansions!) just don't sit well, on many levels. So, taking inspiration from her writing, I made this little grid of homes from a fictional development called "Crest Ridge Country Land Reserve," and here it is.
Here are the shows I did in 2019. If you stopped by, thank you. See you in 2020.
Renegade Craft Fair (Holiday!) - Dec 7-8 at Bridgeport Art Center
One of a Kind Holiday Show - Dec 5-8 at Merchandise Mart
Printers Row Lit Fest (Booth M-West) - June 8-9 on Printers Row
One of a Kind Spring Show (Booth 1081) - April 27-29 at Merchandise Mart
Renegade Craft Fair (Booth 114) - May 10-11 in Pilsen
Because the neighborhood-focused "Home Styles of Chicago" needed a companion piece: This new print celebrate the variety of classic Chicago architectural styles that you can see in and around the loop. These buildings are representative of certain styles, some of which first flourished in Chicago itself. The first skyscrapers of the "Chicago School," the soaring and organic Sullivan-designed (or mimicked) buildings, the Mies-made modernist highrises.
Click the image below to purchase!
- Sacred Art - 4619 N Lincoln Ave | (773) 728-2803
- Neighborly - 1909 W Division St | (773) 840-2456
- The Great Frame-Up - 8305 W Golf Rd (Niles, IL) | (847) 966-8400
- Transistor - 5224 N Clark St | (872) 208-5877
- Galerie F - 2415 N Milwaukee Ave | (872) 817-7067
- Artists Frame Service - 1867 N Clybourn | 433 N Wells St | (773) 248-2800
- Foxtrot Market - 1722 W. Division St | Four other locations | (773) 661-9232
- Foursided - 2939 N Broadway St | (773) 248-1960
- Smitten Boutique - 1047 W Madison St | (312) 226-7777
- 1850 House Museum store - 523 Saint Ann St (Carrying the New Orleans Home Styles print) | (504) 524-9118