Ten x Ten

The relationship between visual and audio art has never been a subtle one. When paired together, one never fails to inform the other and that's exactly what the producers behind Chicago's Ten x Ten series are hoping for. 

Entering its fourth year, the nearly year-long project pairs local artists and muscians together to create dual-media collaborative works. Inspired by Colin Palombi of Homeroom and Spudnik Press's constant requests to create screenprints for bands' concerts, he decided to flip the switch and let music inspire screenprints. 

In addition to the history and relationship between art and music, this year's series will also focus on improvisational music. Many of the city's best jazz players have been recruited to highlight the complex and spontaneous style.

So, here's how it works: Four public events will make up the Ten x Ten series, starting with a free Graphic Notation 101 lecture on this Sunday, Feb. 8, at Spudnik Press's headquarters (1822 W. Hubbard St.). In addition to the lecture it's at this kick-off event that the 10 local musicians and 10 local artists invited to participate in this year's project will pair up. The pairs are based off surveys filled out prior to the event. 

Less than two weeks later, the pairs will come together again for their working performance, held at Constellation (3111 N. Western Ave.). Musicians can choose to perform solo or select an ensemble from the other nine participating players. When the music starts, the lead msucian's respective artist begins drawing. His work is projected onto a nearby screen so the improve players are able to view the creation. As the musical and visual compositions progress, both types of artists are able to play off of the other's work. 

Artists and musicians are given a month to hone their collaboration before they come together again on March 19 for the recording performance. This event, held at Elastic Arts (3429 W. Diversey Ave. #208), takes the same structure as the previous working performance only this time the music will go on record. 

From there, everything goes to print! A vinyl pressing of each musician's work is made along with its corresponding artist print. In the past, the prints have been 10-inch squares (hence the series' name) but this year things are getting bigger and 17-inch squares will be available along with a bound book that will contain all 10 teams' vinyl/print pairings. The release will be celebrated later this year, Sept. 12, at Constellation where you can also hear the final compositions performed live. There are a lot of moving parts to Ten x Ten but the completely original and unrepeatable product is worth it. 

Three great Chicago entities have come together to make Ten x Ten a success again in 2015. Elastic Arts is a 13-year-old performance arts collective that hosts musical, theatrical, literary and film events. Homeroom seeks to encourage collaboration and conversation amongst Chicago's wide variety of artistic figures. And Spudnik Press Cooperative is a well respected print shop that has both hosued the work of established artists and fostered young talents.   

For more information on the artists and musicians particpating in this year's events as well as more details about the performances, click here