Chicago-based urban artist Asend has won a competition between street muralists at Hotel Chicago West Loop – the three-year-old independent that is reimagining the boutique hotel experience with its immersive “Annex” art program. As an award, Asend will receive a $20,000 stipend and a massive 4-story mural project on the hotel’s outside wall to be completed in spring 2020.
The dual-purpose gallery/hotel hosted an opening reception for its Annex | Murals exhibit in late November where the public and a juried panel voted on their favorite street murals (inside guestrooms) created by 10 leading Chicago urban artists.
“Having my work inside guestrooms allows the public to connect with my art on a personal level, away from distractions of large crowds,” said Asend, who has also previously painted two other street mural guestrooms at Hotel Chicago West Loop. “It can be appreciated during a quiet and comfortable alone time during a stay. Likewise, my goal with the exterior mural in 2020 is to continue to welcome guests by giving them a window into our city through art.”
Asend’s focus for his winning mural was to create an experience. Tourists usually see images of Chicago’s skyline from afar, but he wanted to give hotel guests the feeling of what it’s like to be inside Chicago’s vibrant downtown streets, especially at night. When a visitor walks into the room they are transplanted onto State Street staring at the legendary Chicago Theatre and the orange city lights that blanket the city. The rest of the walls are painted in a similar tone that bring out the rich colors of an inner-city nightscape. The composition is key: the point of view comes from the middle of the street, between the hustle and bustle of buses, taxi cabs, and nightlife goers. The bed placed in the middle of the oil painting gives a sense of immersion and inclusiveness.
“Asend’s newest contribution to the Annex is nothing less than mesmerizing,” said Hotel Chicago West Loop General Manager Jean-Luc Laramie. “His spin on the iconic State Street cityscape will give guests an out-of-body experience without ever leaving their hotel room! We are honored to next have Asend adorn our 40-foot outside wall with his ingenuity and further elevate the hotel’s position in Chicago’s art community.”
The groundbreaking Annex | Murals exhibit adds a unique element to the typical “art hotel” theme by pulling visitors beyond the public space and into the guestrooms for viewing floor-to-ceiling wall murals. When not in use, the featured street mural rooms (14 total and counting) are open and on public display – as is the rest of The Annex in effort to produce an alternative gallery experience for visitors. Besides the exterior, Hotel Chicago West Loop plans to eventually decorate the majority of its 116 guestrooms with original street mural artwork.
More About Asend:
Asend is as multi-disciplinary artist whose works capture awe-inspiring cityscapes and portraiture. Known for his bold yet subtle painting approach, Asend’s work portrays a studied balance between classical painting and urban art through the use of different mediums. Asend’s career began in Chicago as a graffiti artist during the 1990’s and brings an extensive mastery of color theory and composition to each body work by means of oil paint, spray paint, latex, and or airbrush. Inspiration from his background in urban art can be seen in his large-scale murals as well as smaller studio paintings. His wide range of subjects include realistic portraiture, paintings of trains and transportation, cityscapes, and letter studies. Asend’s work can be seen throughout Chicago and internationally as part of private collections and public art in Art Basel (Miami), Tahiti, Mongolia, and China. His works have been featured on NBC, ABC, FOX, The Chicago Tribune, and is commissioned by corporate giants such as Chevy, Pepsi, Pandora Music, Google, Chicago White Sox, and the Chicago Bears.
More About Hotel Chicago West Loop:
Hotel Chicago West Loop is a stylish boutique property that has been called one of the Top 10 budget-friendly hotels by USA Today. A stay here includes cultural immersion, as the dual-purpose “neighborhood hotel” doubles as a full-functioning art gallery. The Annex at Hotel Chicago West Loop encompasses the lobby, all four levels of guest hallway spaces, and select guestrooms with over 100 pieces of 2-D media, both permanent works and rotating exhibits. To further support the local arts community, Hotel Chicago West Loop donates 10% of all regular room rates (when booked using promo code “ANNEX”) to designated local non-profit organizations that promote artistry such as Shirley Ryan AbilityLab.