Exclusive Studio Visit With Artist Claire Burke Dain

Exclusive Studio Visit With Artist Claire Burke Dain

Upcoming solo exhibition at Rubberneck Gallery.
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Sneak a peek at her upcoming solo exhibition at Rubberneck Gallery.

The multimedia artist, Claire Burke Dain has two main styles she will exhibit at her solo show, "Do You Love Me Now?" opening Friday, December 15th at Rubberneck Gallery. Dain calls into question, through her unique body of work, the ways in which people establish their identity.

She looks, in particular, at the way people decorate themselves and 'perform' for others. The intention behind her collection of drawings and paintings is to illustrate the invisible and intuitive self. As well as expose the identity and personality of the objects we wear. Her pieces argue, by honoring imagination anyone can transform the mundane into something magical.

Claire Burke Dain is the 2017 recipient of the Thomas Hart Benton Painting Scholarship. She received first place in the Lester Goldman 9th Biennial Drawing Competition and was a Yale/Norfolk Summer Program Nominee. Dain received a Full Merit Scholarship at the Kansas City Art Institute.

Dain grew up in the city of Chicago and is very much influenced by the buildings that surrounded her. Most all of the buildings are covered in windows, which she describes as a type of authentic glowing comic. She describes her walks through the city as simultaneous narratives which play out and in one way this is magical but like most magical things they can feel isolating and unattainable.

This article offers a sneak peek at Dain's studio practice and some of the works that will be exhibited in her upcoming solo exhibition at Rubberneck Gallery in West Town, Chicago. Claire was gracious enough to open her studio doors to show how the magic is made in her unique process.



As one can see in the photographs from our studio visit, Dain works out many of her ideas on paper, using multimedia processes. She drafts works in ink, pencil, and paint, creating layers of organic shapes built into grids and mechanized forms. Each detail seems to be assigned a function for the viewer to determine, bringing to life these futuristic abstractions.



Another body of work focuses on identity through the creation and customization of personal belongings. This series includes painted leather jackets, sweaters, shirts, jean jackets, suede jackets and panel paintings depicting these art objects. Many of these custom painted articles of clothing feature portraits of individual faces in resting position, not expressing a clear emotion, but depicting a natural reflection of the face most individuals wear as they go about their day.

One could argue the paintings reflect people at their least and most vulnerable state when they are not actively thinking of how they are being portrayed (whether out walking on the street, or home in private). Thus when the individual chooses to wear these portraits, they are making a statement about themselves through the art, as if to say "this is me, take it or leave it."




Dain shared some of the themes she focuses on in her works:

"A big theme in my artwork is the personalities and communities of different types of living things from mermaid communities to plant life to normal family dynamics. I try to look at people and depict them as if they, their habitat and habits are of an unknown species being observed from an outside species. All people fascinate me and I think they are all unique, unknown creatures inhabiting the sea of life."

Her focus on community and systems of living are one of the most interesting aspects of her work.

The transition from the studio to the gallery creates a transfer of energy, from potential to fulfillment. The obvious hand of the maker and the systems of creation are veiled in the gallery, where a grid of paper works, framed paintings, and panels hold an energy of their own. The art is ready for contemplation, providing an individual experience for the viewer.

We invite you to take part in this experience with Dain's work at the opening reception for her solo exhibition "Do You Love Me Now?", taking place Friday, December 15th from 6-10 pm at Rubberneck Gallery located at 2058 W Chicago Ave.

To RSVP for the event, please visit Rubberneck's Facebook event page!


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Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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A Playlist From The iPod Of A Middle Schooler In 2007

I will always love you, Akon.
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Something happened today that I never thought in a million years would happen. I opened up a drawer at my parents' house and I found my pink, 4th generation iPod Nano. I had not seen this thing since I graduated from the 8th grade, and the headphones have not left my ears since I pulled it out of that drawer. It's funny to me how music can take you back. You listen to a song and suddenly you're wearing a pair of gauchos, sitting on the bleachers in a gym somewhere, avoiding boys at all cost at your seventh grade dance. So if you were around in 2007 and feel like reminiscing, here is a playlist straight from the iPod of a middle schooler in 2007.

1. "Bad Day" — Daniel Powter

2. "Hips Don't Lie" — Shakira ft. Wyclef Jean

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3. "Unwritten" — Natasha Bedingfield

4. "Run It!" — Chris Brown

5. "Girlfriend" — Avril Lavigne

6. "Move Along" — All-American Rejects

7. "Fergalicious" — Fergie

8. "Every Time We Touch" — Cascada

9. "Ms. New Booty" — Bubba Sparxxx

10. "Chain Hang Low" — Jibbs

11. "Smack That" — Akon ft. Eminem

12. "Waiting on the World to Change" — John Mayer

13. "Stupid Girls" — Pink

14. "Irreplaceable" — Beyonce

15. "Umbrella" — Rihanna ft. Jay-Z

16. "Don't Matter" — Akon

17. "Party Like A Rockstar" — Shop Boyz

18. "This Is Why I'm Hot" — Mims

19. "Beautiful Girls" — Sean Kingston

20. "Bartender" — T-Pain

21. "Pop, Lock and Drop It" — Huey

22. "Wait For You" — Elliot Yamin

23. "Lips Of An Angel" — Hinder

24. "Face Down" — Red Jumpsuit Apparatus

25. "Chasing Cars" — Snow Patrol

26. "No One" — Alicia Keys

27. "Cyclone" — Baby Bash ft. T-Pain

28. "Crank That" — Soulja Boy

29. "Kiss Kiss" — Chris Brown

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30. "Lip Gloss" — Lil' Mama

Cover Image Credit: http://nd01.jxs.cz/368/634/c6501cc7f9_18850334_o2.jpg

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My AP Environmental Science Class' Cookie Mining Experiment Shows Why Capitalism Is Destroying The Planet

Who cares about the environment with profits this high?

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With the AP exams in May approaching quickly, my AP Environmental Science class has wasted no time in jumping right into labs. To demonstrate the damage to the environment done by strip mining, we were instructed to remove the chocolate chips from cookies.

The experiment in itself was rather simple. We profited from fully or partially extracted chips ($8 for a full piece and $4 for a partial) and lost from buying tools, using time and area and incurring fines.

This might seem simplistic, but it showcased the nature of disastrous fossil fuel companies.

We were fined a $1 per minute we spent mining. It cost $4 per tool we bought (either tweezers or paper clips) and 50 cents for every square centimeter of cookie we mined.

Despite the seemingly overbearing charges compared to the sole way to profit, it was actually really easy to profit.

If we found even a partial chocolate chip per minute, that's $3 profit or utilization elsewhere. Tools were an investment that could be made up each with a partial chip, and clearly we were able to find much, much more than just one partial chip per tool.

Perhaps the most disproportionally easiest thing to get around were the fines. We were liable to be fined for habitat destruction, dangerous mining conditions with faulty tools, clutter, mess and noise level. No one in the class got fined for noise level nor faulty tools, but we got hit with habitat destruction and clutter, both of which added up to a mere $6.

We managed to avoid higher fines by deceiving our teacher by pushing together the broken cookie landscapes and swiping away the majority of our mess before being examined for fining purposes. This was amidst all of our cookies being broken into at least three portions.

After finding many, many chips, despite the costs of mining, we profited over $100. We earned a Franklin for destroying our sugary environment.

We weren't even the worst group.

It was kind of funny the situations other groups simulated to their cookies. We were meant to represent strip mining, but one group decided to represent mountaintop removal. Mountaintop removal is where companies go to extract resources from the tops of mountains via explosions to literally blow the tops off. This group did this by literally pulverizing their cookies to bits and pieces with their fists.

They incurred the maximum fine of $45. They didn't profit $100, however.

They profited over $500 dollars.

In the context of our environmental science class, these situations were anywhere from funny to satisfying. In the context of the real world, however, the consequences are devastating our environment.

Without even mentioning the current trajectory we're on approaching a near irreversible global temperature increase even if we took drastic measures this moment, mining and fracking is literally destroying ecosystems.



We think of earthquakes as creating mass amounts of sudden movement and unholy deep trenches as they fracture our crust. With dangerous mining habits, we do this ourselves.

Bigger companies not even related to mining end up destroying the planet and even hundreds of thousands of lives. ExxonMobil, BP? Still thriving in business after serial oil spills over the course of their operation. Purdue Pharma, the company who has misled the medical community for decades about the effects of OxyContin and its potential for abuse, is still running and ruining multitudes more lives every single day.

Did these companies receive fines? Yes.

But their business model is too profitable to make the fines have just about any effect upon their operation.

In our cookie mining simulation, we found that completely obliterating the landscape was much more profitable than being careful and walking on eggshells around the laws. Large, too-big-to-fail companies have held the future of our planet in their greedy paws and have likewise pulverized our environment, soon enough to be unable to return from.

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