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Own Chicago’s Beautiful Buildings on Bold Handmade Prints

The founders of Design Slinger Studio share the city’s great architecture with ink, paper, and carved linoleum blocks.

Photograph Courtesy of Design Slinger Studio

Jim Nedza and Mitch Sutton found a new calling with Design Slinger Studio, a print-making venture that grew out of a simple curiousity about Chicago architecture.

Three years ago, they left the movie business behind in L.A. and moved to Chicago, where Nedza grew up and attended Illinois Institute of Technology (he majored in architecture). As they looked for new job opportunities, studying Chicago architectural history and taking photographs filled their spare time, and Sutton suggested they build a website to document the city as they settled in.

DesignSlinger.com, a website that shows photos of famous—and not-so-famous—Chicago buildings alongside their back stories, written by Nedza and Sutton, was born. (The site made the Reader’s Best of Chicago 2012 issue.)

But that was just the beginning.

While throwing himself into Chicago history, Nedza, a longtime art director, also learned how to make prints. And before long, another website, DesignSlingerStudio, joined its big brother. Nedza draws each building, transfers it onto a linoleum block (which he carves by hand), hand-mixes the inks, uses a brayer to roll the ink onto the block, then presses the paper, before letting it hang-dry. 

In March 2012, his three-print series of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Unity Temple in Oak Park caught the eye of the church’s restoration committee; the Temple now carries the prints in its shop. (They can also be purchased on DesignSlingerStudio.com, along with black silhouetted chair prints $50, and other architecture prints, $75-$125.)

The Unity Temple connection goes beyond the church gift shop. Catch Sutton and Nedza when they give a photography tour at the Temple (875 Lake St., Oak Park) on June 22. Tickets are $45.

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