Bonus Saves at Crawford Steel in Chicago

By - Monday, March 23rd, 2015

Crawford Steel is a building on the south side of Chicago that resembles the Chicago version of New York City’s 5PTZ (the recently whitewashed graffiti staple). The area typically houses an event called the “Meeting of the Styles,” during which, artists and their respective crews come together and paint for the day.

In the photos above, Bonus Saves paints alongside his friend Busto. Small cubicles run along the underside of the train tracks, directly next to Crawford metal graffiti. It’s a colorful collection of different styles and crews. I asked Bonus Saves a few questions about his work.

How does technology influence your decisions about your current works and how you paint?

I come from a background in photography, so I’m constantly thinking about how a surface is going to look after it’s completed and flicked. Then the worry kicks in about how it will look on in Instagram square format and down the list of other social media platforms. Social media is how artists maintain visibility in this age. Do I make art for art’s sake? All the time. The internet plays a crucial part in curating those creations.

How much does personality determine the success of an artist?

I think for me, a lot of my emotion and personality comes out in my characters. I really enjoy working with others and having a good time while I paint. 

Have you ever painted with your mentor? Who is your mentor? Can you tell me about that experience?

I’ve only recently (within the past two years) started painting with spray paint. It was helpful to learn technique from some of the graffiti guys I hung with, but it’s been a challenge for me. I come from a brush-heavy art background. Painting with Amuse 126 recently in Chicago was like adding 10,000 bonus experience points. Just watching his method gave me a lot of potential creative paths to explore this year.

Does your mom know what you do?

Absolutely. Both my folks are really supportive. Sometimes they get worried about some of the circumstances I find myself in. We have a pretty honest relationship. Maybe I should edit some things I share when the circumstance is a little sketch.

If you could turn back time, which of your murals would you destroy?

Every. Single. One. No, maybe not every one. I did this chicken mural in Chicago a few years back that every time I drive by, I have the urge to toss a 5 gallon bucket of paint at. The others I’ll just fret over internally.

He’s an artist to watch. I can’t wait to see what he has in store for future works.

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