Tech(u)nique, a new video series produced by React Presents and Robotoaster, highlights the intimate side of the artistic process. Viewers are invited to witness a snapshot of what makes these artists (u)nique as we showcase the many talents that define Chicago culture.
In our first installment, we picked three very different artists from Chicago, an iconic drag queen, a rising street artist, and a US Champion scratch dj…check it out..
Down the rabbit-hole leads to a loft at the Flat Iron Building, unwrapping the beautiful and whimsical life story of the king (or queen) of Wicker Park, Jojo Baby—Chicago’s queerest doll maker and one, if not the best-known, drag queen of the late-night, underground club scene. He combines his ceramics, painting, anatomy, and fashion skills to sculpt porcelain dolls. Inspired by his mom who was a Playboy bunny in the 1960s, se also does hair, makeup, and costumes—putting a dash of drag into the mix. He believes in the beauty of everything.
When he decided not to attend Quigley Preparatory Seminary, after considering the priesthood—“they said I was too theatrical and I should go into show business,” he laughed—Jojo turned to beauty school, to experiment with different forms of art and his sexuality. The latter estranged him from his father and, at age 14, pushed him out of the house and into the underground club scene. With a homemade Medusa headdress, he made his debut in the world of three-foot platform shoes, flamboyant costumes, and outlandish make-up. “I moved in with a bunch of other club-kids,” he says, “it was funny, we made more money than all of our parents combined.”
Keith Smith, also known as Afrokilla, is a Chicago based artist currently jamming out public murals and creating pieces daily. His goal is to promote positive thinking and happiness while maintaining a groovy flow. Personal influences that impact this style are skateboarding, pop culture, psychedelic era, and urban culture that continue to develop synchronized moments. Afrokilla says, “Art will forever tell stories and I want to invite everyone to learn and grow organically together.” He’s currently working out of The Pilsen Art & Design center on commissions while also movin’ and groovin’ around local communities, taking positive action on how art is impacting this world.
[SONG: Kong by Aztek]
RTST (pronounced “Artist”), is a DJ/Turntablist from Chicago, IL. He is known for utilizing the turntables as an instrument thru scratching and mixing. He is a founding member of DMC US Champion DJ crew, Chicago Turntablist Authority (CTA) and a member of the DJs Are Not Jukeboxes collective. Growing up, he was influenced by the likes of DJ Qbert, D-Styles, DJ Shadow, and The Beat Junkies. Since then, he has followed in their footsteps by playing sets and participating in DJ battles around the world.
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