By Abby Glogower
As a student at New York’s School of Visual Arts, Michelle Smutney-Hyde ran with a loose collective of friends and passionate screen printers. Eager to share their artistic apparel with the public, the group peddled their wares to Manhattan boutiques and resale shops, but with minimal results. “We wanted to create a way for retailers to come to us rather than us having to go them, but at the time we couldn’t make it happen” Michelle recalls. Returning to hometown Chicago, Michelle still collaborates with her printing team, whose members have since dispersed as far as Boston, L.A., Milwaukee, and New Orleans. Realizing eventually that “in order to get the respect we wanted from retailers we had to present ourselves both as artists and business people,” Michelle is curating an expo of original screenprinted useables and wearables at the Diamonds on Archer Gallery on December 4.
The event, entitled In Print, aims to bridge the local artisan and retail communities. “People wear screen-printed clothing ever day without giving much thought to the degree of work that goes into their design and production,” says Michelle. “We want to showcase our work both as high art and accessible product.” This duality doesn’t bother Michelle and the In Print crew at all. The group has consciously decided to hang their designs gallery-style and in a stretched canvas format. A young and accomplished artist, Michelle’s ambitious blend of pragmatism and enthusiasm is inspiring. “We see this as the beginning of new relationships between area printers, designers and retailers. We want to grow as a collective both by garnering attention and attracting new artists.”
The In Print pre-sale is from 12-5 p.m. and the opening reception is from 6-10 on December 4 at Diamonds on Archer Gallery, 3012 S. Archer, 1st floor. The show will be open for viewing every Sunday in December from 12-4 in conjunction with the space’s weekly Black-Out Brunches. Please visit www.youngarcher.com for directions and more information.