LIGHTBOX is a collaboration between 40 North and Dixon Graphics Screen Printing that rotates site-specific installation art in Dixon’s highly visible retail window space facing Neil Street. This program seeks to provide an opportunity for Champaign County artists to transform the space for a period of three months. 

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After attending college in NYC and Paris, EKAH worked as a graphic designer, art director, and in broadcast animation and video games, and has worked with clients such as Jim Henson Productions and Mattel Interactive.  EKAH has lived and worked in France, San Francisco, Orlando, & Montreal.  She currently lives in Champaign-Urbana with her supportive spouse and two cats.

Subsurface is one of half dozen ideas I had specifically for LIGHTBOX. It began as a sketch on a newsprint pad, then as an 18″ x 12″ ink and watercolor illustration. I love mural art and street art, and I wanted to create a mural that was inspired by street art for Champaign, which seemed to lack any large-scale street art. Subsurface belongs to one of my worlds and themes, The City of lost Animals, which I spoke about during my last Pechakucha Night.  I was intrigued by the idea of one’s life spent on an inordinate amount of time underground, commuting to work, and the idea that there’s an entire world with its wheels turning below the surface 24/7.  Many lifeforms do exactly that, and I saw the parallel between the subterranean lifeforms and underground commuters. Some of the animal characters in the piece are composites of the weary commuters and “subway musicians” that I have witnessed while growing up in NYC. Others are somewhat autobiographical although I prefer not say which. My wish for the piece is for the passersby, commuting to and from work, will see the mural and smile.”

Tifani Vancil
Tifani has a passion for art, design and making people smile. As a creative, her goal is to merge those as much as possible. She wants her ideas to be simple and whimsical, leaving the viewer brighter than before! All the pieces were hand painted, either on the glass, backdrop or foam board. The idea is the closer you look, the more fun details to the narrative you see. She wanted a display that was fun, bright and happy!

Matt Wiley
Matt Wiley studied graphic design and video at Illinois State University, and currently is a Design Specialist at University of Illinois Extension.  He’s owned and operated his own design business, providing freelance graphic design, illustrations and multimedia services for over 11 years. This Skydiver LIGHTBOX piece reflects the clever and quirkiness of Matt Wiley’s unique and often funny style.

Preetika Rajgariah
Born in New Delhi, India, Preetika Rajgariah is a Houston-based artist who is currently pursuing her MFA at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. She received a BFA in Art from Trinity University in San Antonio, TX in 2008 and has completed residencies at the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, VT (2014) and the School of Visual Arts in New York, NY (2010).

Preetika is a visual artist whose work explores themes of migration, diaspora, and cultural identity in the form of multilayered watercolor paintings of masses to installations that use traditional Indian textiles. By utilizing varying degrees of transparency, she investigates the layered result of an increasingly globalized world and the multifaceted experience of populations.

Jenna Richards
Jenna Richards earned her BFA in Ceramics and Fibers from Hite Art Institute at University of Louisville in Kentucky, and currently resides and creates art here in Champaign-Urbana. Jenna’s work stems from a desire to immortalize, and make tangible, textile processes. She has exhibited in nine states all over the midwest and nationally, and has participated in many local and out of state residencies, including Figure One Gallery. The installation is comprised of repurposed fabric remnants from craft stores locally in Champaign and regionally in central Illinois. 

Angelo Ray Martinez
Within his paintings, Angelo Ray Martínez (b. 1981 in Boulder, CO) combines a playful variety of images, exploring the construction of personal and cultural identities. 8-bit video game graphics, tattoos, and items of clothing are some of the elements that are utilized to explore themes of appropriation, assimilation, and hybridity. His work questions the role of objects and images in the construction of self-identification while highlighting the increasing fluidity of identity in the post-internet age.

Melonie Mulkey
Melonie’s practice is based in photography and sculpture. In this installation, she has used fabric, furniture, and origami to create a surreal domestic environment that uses repetition and pattern to reference time and memory. Melonie has a degree from the University of Colorado Denver and has exhibited nationally. She lives here in Champaign, IL.

Laura Wennstrom
Laura Wennstrom holds an MFA in New Media from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2015). She received her undergraduate degree in Studio Art from North Park University in Chicago in 2009.

Laura has worked with children in underserved neighborhoods across the Midwest and in rural Ecuador teaching art, reading, and special education. She has developed and implemented art curriculum for after school programs for students in pre-kindergarten through high school seniors. In addition, Laura has created several public murals in collaboration with children and adults from local communities.

“In the process of making art, I am interested in gathering those materials and objects – the cast off, the forgotten, the incidental, the profound – and through combining and layering, I find new ways to tell stories. My work represents the intersection of my life with the people I encounter while honoring their experiences and trying to make sense of my own.”