Curator's Corner: Interview with Sara Dulkin of Chicago Truborn
“Once you’re a part of this city there’s an undeniable connection formed – a ride or die mentality. THAT is Chicago Truborn – you are Chicago Truborn.” – Sara Dulkin
Something you’ll feel out quickly about Chicago’s art scene is a collaborative, heartfelt support through and through. It’s something beating, pulsing strong like a heart of a city or maybe it’s a Midwestern vibe. A gallery that is a prime example of that supportive energy is the one and only Chicago Truborn in West Town, Chicago.
Some of the standout qualities of Chicago Truborn are the international and local solo and group artist shows featuring high caliber, engaging, and affordable artwork. The gallery’s name even goes beyond the front door weaving through Chicago like the CTA trains with the impactful role played with the public arts scene, murals, and community.
The unofficial motto of this street and graffiti artist focused gallery:
“You Don’t Have to Be from Chicago to be Chicago Truborn.” Continuing with, “once you’re a part of this city there’s an undeniable connection formed – a ride or die mentality. THAT is Chicago Truborn – you are Chicago Truborn.”
This is what led artist and muralist Birdcap to have his first solo show, Echo, at Chicago Truborn this month. “I do love Chicago. It feels comfortable for some reason, and people show me a lot of love and that means a lot to me,” Birdcap said.
Sara Dulkin, owner, curator, and all-around powerhouse badass of Chicago Truborn couldn’t agree more. “We have been working together for years and years - we both supported each other since the early days…His artistic voice is very pronounced - there’s no mistaking his work for anyone else’s and that to me is the first quality I look for in an artist,” said Sara.
I was able to interview Sara Dulkin on the new exhibit at Chicago Truborn, the gallery overall, and milestones.
“Enjoying and consuming artwork should not be an intimidating experience, or, one reserved for those with fat stacks of cash. Please come on in, ask questions, take pictures, and let us help you #BecomeACollector,”
GXM: What is something unique about Chicago Truborn?
SD: The most unique aspect of what we do is our nontraditional take on what it means to be a gallery. After feeling unwelcome and unworthy to even view shows in many high-end galleries…let alone buy the art…I knew it was time to break that mold. What sets us apart from all the rest is our approachable environment.
You’ll feel it the second you walk in.
Our price points are made for the average person - the intention is to make collecting art be affordable, accessible and FUN. And, on top of those affordable price points, we offer payment plans and work with our collectors to make it as stress free as possible…You are a unique individual and your home should reflect that. Ditch the target/home goods art and let us help you #BecomeACollector
GXM: How did it come about having Birdcap’s first solo show, Echo, at Chicago Truborn? How did you find out about his work? And what led to wanting to work with him? What would you say he’s most known for?
SD: Birdcap is a really special part of the CT story. We have been working together for years and years - we both supported each other since the early days…His artistic voice is very pronounced - there’s no mistaking his work for anyone elses and that to me is the first quality I look for in an artist.
Moreover, his work has a certain level of academic depth that can’t be overlooked. He puts a lot of time and effort into crafting the stories around his pieces. From ancient roman gods to Korean folklore and everything in between, Birdcaps work is laced with meaning and historical context.
GXM: Did you expect the artwork in the show to turn out as it did?
SD: He has completely blown me away with the variety in this show - from pottery to masks to wood cutouts to prints and canvas originals, Birdcap has proven that he takes his career, and his debut solo show, seriously. Chicago Truborn is beyond honored to showcase this high caliber of artwork.
GXM: What are some legendary shows or who are prolific artists that have displayed at the gallery?
SD: We have hit so many milestones and had so many special shows. I fall in love with each one. The Kashink solo show was a big milestone for me - she is/was one of my idols as an activist and artist. We’ve also been home to many artists FIRST solo shows Adam Fujita, Birdcap, Lauren Asta, Mr. Prvrt, StukOne, and LIE to name a few. And although it wasn’t their first show - we were the first to show EELCO, Persue, Ouizi, Ill DES and many more in the great city of Chicago.
Here are some photos from some of these shows:
GXM: What are some of your favorite exhibits from 2019 at the gallery?
SD: We had our 6-year anniversary show in Sept 2019. I selected 6 artists that meant a lot to me and the CT story (past, present, and future). All 6 of the artists happened to be women and seeing them celebrated in conjunction with the success of the gallery in its 6th year was very meaningful for me.
Also - it’d be remiss of me to not mention the immense success of our first year attending Moniker art fair in NYC. I was there representing “Fatherless” and seeing them get such a warm reception in New York was amazing and so deserved.
Fatherless are some of the first artists to ever work with me - dating back to 2012 I’d say and At this years Moniker art fair, they were named the #1 MUST SEE booth at the fair (By Sold Magazine thank you very much). I’m so proud of them and the work they put out - don’t forget their name!
GXM: What’s coming up next for Chicago Truborn?
SD: This is our last show for 2019. However, towards the Holidays we will be bringing in a TON of new inventory and will be focused on clearing out ALL of our older inventory to make room for 2020. So, please, we urge to you to SHOP SMALL for the holidays and consider giving the gift the art.
From plush dolls, to children books, artisan jewelry, prints and originals - we can promise you will have the best gifts to give this year if you shop with us!!! Keep your eyes open for Holiday shopping incentives and please head to our Instagram for updates.
GXM: What is a dream exhibit, artist, or project you have in mind?
SD: I’m always looking to expand our roster of female and international artists while also trying to stay dedicated to the local scene in Chicago.
We continue to be leaders in the public art arena as well - and though MANY are now throwing their hat in the ring, I take great pride in knowing how much CT has changed the public’s perception of public/graffiti art as well as what it can do for a community.
So, I’m already fulfilling my dream and I plan to continue on the path I’m on -keep breaking boundaries and setting trends as a female business owner.
Thank you to Sara Dulkin for the interview!
Chicago Truborn is located at:
1741 W Chicago Ave Chicago, IL 60622 (773) 420-9764