Cup & Spoon – WOW District: Chicago

Cup & Spoon interior. Photo courtesy of Facebook.com/CupandSpoonChicago
Cup & Spoon interior.
Photo courtesy of Facebook.com/CupandSpoonChicago

I recently visited my close friend from Portfolio School (Creative Circus), Rose Quasarano, in Chicago, where she now lives. Like many people I graduated the Circus with, Rosie made a huge leap from being an advertising creative in as an Associate Creative Director at a well-respected agency, to being an entrepreneur diving headfirst into the unknown of owning and running her own coffee shop. Ironically, though, the industry she left to pioneer her entrepreneurial dream, armed her with an arsenal of resources and connections to help her get started.

What began as a life long dream turned into a pop-up shop (at NOSH in Wicker Park/Logan Square Farmer’s Market), then a Kickstarter campaign and finally a brick and mortar business called Cup & Spoon, which now stands at 2415 W North Ave in the WOW district (West Of Western) of Chicago. I was honored when Rosie asked me to design her logo, and in doing so  joined a few other Circus alumni whose talent and admiration for Rosie helped nurture her ambition to open this shop (Designer Kiki Karpus and writer RC Jones both generously donated their talent to offer perks for C&S’s Kickstarter campaign). Like many small businesses, Cup & Spoon strongly believes in supporting the community in which it’s based, and sources their brew and sweet treats locally. But what really makes them special is Rosie’s continued connection to artists. Cup & Spoon shares a building with Dreambox Gallery, a contemporary art venue based in Chicago since 2003. Together they formed WOW Frequency, which showcases emerging and established artists in Chicago right inside the coffee shop.

If you’re ever in the area (next to Humboldt Park) and are in the mood for coffee or tea, or if you just want to taste one of Chicago’s best pop tarts (Interurban Cafe & Pastry Shop’s pop tarts, which are sold at C&S, were dubbed by Chicago Magazine as one of the best pop tarts in the city), I guarantee you’ll be happy you stopped here.

Cup & Spoon WOW Frequency Launch Party.
Cup & Spoon WOW Frequency Launch Party. Photo courtesy of Facebook.com/CupandSpoonChicago
Today Ennis set up his easel at Cup & Spoon to work on his latest painting. It's awesome to watch him create. Photo courtesy of Facebook.com/CupandSpoonChicago.
Today Ennis set up his easel at Cup & Spoon to work on his latest painting. It’s awesome to watch him create. Photo courtesy of Facebook.com/CupandSpoonChicago.
Pop Tarts sold at Cup & Spoon. Flavors: Apple Cinnamon, Plum Caramel, Strawberry Vanilla & Blueberry Orange. Photo courtesy of Facebook.com/CupandSpoonChicago
Pop Tarts sold at Cup & Spoon. Flavors: Apple Cinnamon, Plum Caramel, Strawberry Vanilla & Blueberry Orange. Photo courtesy of Facebook.com/CupandSpoonChicago
Me at Logan Square Farmer's Market, holding a cardboard cutout of the logo.
Me at Logan Square Farmer’s Market, holding a cardboard cutout of the logo.

Jen Stark

Whenever I see a package of colored construction paper, it reminds me of elementary school. The colors were always vibrant, and the paper was thick and sturdy. A pair of scissors, crayons, and glue were all you needed to create a ‘masterpiece.’

Jen Stark takes the basic skill of cutting paper and combines it with the passion and instinct of making art. When I saw her work it immediately transported me back to my old house where we used to have this draw full of art supplies. I just wanted to pull a bunch of paper out, grab a pair of scissors, clear the table and start cutting. Her art is one of those few types that could impress a bunch of adults just as much as a classroom full of kids.

MOMA: Tim Burton

I found out about this through a message someone posted on my company’s Yammer site. I take the train to and from Manhattan everyday and this is the first I heard about MOMA’s Tim Burton exhibition going on since November 2009 (ending in April 2010). Most of the museums in Manhattan, including MOMA, advertise on the trains, so I was surprised that I hadn’t seen this anywhere. Mackinnon and Saunders, long-time collaborators of Tim Burton, created a cute :30 spot for the exhibition (I must have missed that too.)

If you’re a Tim Burton fan, or just someone who appreciates self-expression, this is definitely worth going to see. The microsite which totally captures Tim Burton and his work, features sketches from Burton’s private collections, interviews with Burton and a behind the scenes look at the exhibition.

Textually.org

Textually.org A blog that talks about the latest texting/MMS/SMS innovations. One that I found interesting was about a new Nokia site created for their E71 phone. It allows you to view beautifully designed text messages, and create and share your own. Generative artist, Marius Watz, created a downloadable app that allows you to type your message and watch it morph into his art.