North Lake Shore Drive

Wesley Willis, North Lake Shore Drive
Softcover, 16 pp., offset 4/4, 19.5 x 25.5 cm
Edition of 500
Published by Nieves

out of print

Wesley Willis (Chicago, 1963–2003) began his artistic career singing on the street, accompanied by his Technics KN 2000 keyboard. He was soon playing opening slots for local bands, and later recording songs as an homage to these performances (i.e. “Urge Overkill”, “Swervedriver”, “Foo Fighters”, “The Frogs”). In 1989, Willis was diagnosed as schizophrenic; he explains that writing, performing, and recording help quiet the voices in his head. Most of his exposure came as an internet phenomenon during the early days of peer-to-peer file sharing.

Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen is the first institution to present an extensive show of Willis’ artwork, focusing on its fascination for Chicago’s architecture and the throbbing activity of the Midwest metropolis: the characteristic skyline, the lakeside, the freeways as well as the uniform fast food chains. His interest for urban sceneries came from it being his natural habitat, which was then translated into thousands of magnificently detailed ballpoint/felt-tip renderings of the city and riding around on the bus. North Lake Shore Drive has been edited by Urs Lehni and Linus Bill of Our Magazine.