The Big Reveal in pictures

Candids and Reveals

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Step-and-go photos

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Patrons commission over $25,000 in art work

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The first part of Project Fusion, Patron + Artist was a success: Thanks to our generous patrons, 18 artists received a total $25,000 in commissions for custom art work AND helped to raise funds for Water Street Studios. We can’t wait to see the works when they are revealed to the patrons and guests at Project Fusion | The Big Reveal, Nov. 11.

Here’s more good news: You may still commission artists. Several artists are still accepting commisions and will do so through June. 1. This is a great opportunity to have art created just for you, support Water Street Studios, and be a special part of The Big Reveal party.

If you are interested in commissioning an artist, please fill out the contact form on the artists profile pages and the artist will contact you.

Thank you to all the patrons, artists, volunteers and sponsors who made this event a great kick-off to The Big Reveal!

Featured Artist: Jesse Howard

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Born on Chicago’s West Side, Jesse Howard has returned to his old neighborhood to record images of the people there. The objective of his portraits is not simply to create a likeness, but to show the stress and pressure in the physical makeup of his subjects.

Howard received a Bachelor’s degree from Ball State University, with a major in commercial art and a minor in business administration. His work is featured in permanent collections such as the Evanston Art Center, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Rutgers University, and Chicago State University.

He has exhibited at numerous galleries and colleges throughout the Chicagoland area – to include the Elmhurst Art Museum Biennial and the Chicago Cultural Center. Recently, his work was awarded first place in the Beloit Vicinity Exhibition.

Project Fusion commission range: $1,000 to $10,000


Interested in commissioning Jesse Howard? Contact him:

Featured Artist: Mario Gonzalez Jr.

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Born 1970 and raised in the city of Chicago, graffiti writer “ZORE” Mario Gonzalez Jr. has witnessed the beautiful murals and the vast dead land of inner city decay while playing as a child under bridges and abandoned buildings from Lincoln Park to South Chicago steel mills. At age f 11, exposed to urban art forms such as the custom lowrider culture, DJs and breakbeats, he picked up a marker and started scrawling on any surface available to him.

Gonzalez’s father and the neighborhood were instrumental for the learning of the “styles” as he began to comprehend the art of the letterform which came natural to him. Soon, the new and improved artform of the subways became the only natural venue for him to express his “styles”.

At the age of 17, Mario received a full scholarship to attend the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He has utilized various art forms and genres to create, destruct and push himself not only in the graffiti and fine art but in life itself. He traveled the globe painting subways, murals, performing, teaching and showing works in galleries and museums “searching for the perfect beat” which he had always carried all along.

In 2002, he started painting smaller works that he called “Graffpop” because graffiti was a mainstream art phenomenon. It was then that Gonzalez began painting in larger scale while opening a studio at the Zhou B Art Center in Chicago. In his new studio and surrounded by a vibrant art community, Mario fused all the elements that he had experienced over the years such as pouring, dripping, drawing and using non-traditional techniques and processes. These new approach culminated into a style of urban abstract graffiti and expressionism that is now highly acclaimed by local and international galleries and museums.

Project Fusion commission rates: Beginning at $5,000

Interested in commissioning Mario Gonzalez? Contact him:

Featured Artist: Christopher Cudworth

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Christopher Cudworth is an artist who has completed over 500 commissioned paintings. His 2016 solo exhibition at the Kane County Chronicle gallery at Water Street Studios, Urban Wilds,  featured his acrylic paintings of scenes and abstractions in which nature reclaims a presence amongst the glory and decay of city environments. His knowledge of nature is fueled by more than 40 years of study and citizen science, but his perspective on human culture and the abstraction of thought is based on his work as a prodigious writer and author. Thus many of his paintings have a narrative; a worn flag that has endured all kinds of weather, or the chaos of invasive plants inside an abandoned warehouse capture the emotion of moments as well as the passage of time. Cudworth works primarily in acrylic and watercolor, and his pieces have appeared in the Brookfield Zoological Society “Animals In Art” exhibition as well as group and solo shows around the Midwest. He is a resident artist at Water Street Studios.

Project Fusion commission range: $1,000 to $3,000

Interested in commissioning Christopher Cudworth? Contact him:

Featured Artist: Angela Wilson

Angela Wilson was born in Iowa City, Iowa. She received an MFA in painting from Northern Illinois University in 2007, and a Bachelors of Fine Art from St. Ambrose University in 2000. From 2008-2015, she taught painting, drawing, and design at St.
Ambrose University, in Davenport, Iowa. Her expressive, figurative drawings and paintings, narrate her family history, and explore fragility/poignancy of our temporal experiences, as well as, larger themes of power: imbalances, hidden sources, and
abuses. She lives in the Chicago area with her husband, and three children. Wilson is a Water Street Studios galleries committee member and resident artist at Water Street Studios.

Project Fusion commision range: $200-$2,000

Angela Wilson

Interested in commissioning Angela Wilson? Contact her: