U-High Midway

A treasure hunt for local art

Artist ‘Crave’ creates art influenced by stories and people

STOLEN+STREET+ART.+Street+artist+Crave+leaves+his+art+around+the+Hyde+Park+neighborhood+in+hopes+that+people+will+take+it+home.+Pictured+above+is+cardboard+Hyland+Terrier+made+by+Crave+in+Sophomore+Amanda+Cassel%E2%80%99s+home%2C+found+around+the+neighborhood.
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A treasure hunt for local art

STOLEN STREET ART. Street artist Crave leaves his art around the Hyde Park neighborhood in hopes that people will take it home. Pictured above is cardboard Hyland Terrier made by Crave in Sophomore Amanda Cassel’s home, found around the neighborhood.

STOLEN STREET ART. Street artist Crave leaves his art around the Hyde Park neighborhood in hopes that people will take it home. Pictured above is cardboard Hyland Terrier made by Crave in Sophomore Amanda Cassel’s home, found around the neighborhood.

Amanda Cassel

STOLEN STREET ART. Street artist Crave leaves his art around the Hyde Park neighborhood in hopes that people will take it home. Pictured above is cardboard Hyland Terrier made by Crave in Sophomore Amanda Cassel’s home, found around the neighborhood.

Amanda Cassel

Amanda Cassel

STOLEN STREET ART. Street artist Crave leaves his art around the Hyde Park neighborhood in hopes that people will take it home. Pictured above is cardboard Hyland Terrier made by Crave in Sophomore Amanda Cassel’s home, found around the neighborhood.

Amanda Cassel, Assistant Editor

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Nestled into a corner or pinned up on a wall, the artwork of the street artist known as Crave is scattered across Chicago from Hyde Park to downtown to Wicker Park.

His signature silver and black bees made of plastic and metal are located throughout the city. Originally, he put up more than 100 bees, but now, fewer than half remain intact.

“I’m leaving my art on the street and I hope someone takes it,” Crave, whose real name is Joël Maximé Jr., said, “but it is very possible that it is taken to the trash or weather just takes it out.”

Another signature collection are his 19 dog sculptures. He created the cardboard sculptures in just two weeks when inspiration hit him and then wandered the neighborhood looking for the perfect place for his dogs.

“Each dog had a different style,” Crave said. “I looked for inspiration and passion and when the spirit moved me.”

The spirit and inspiration began when he was very young, Crave explained.

“When I was a kid, my dad did art and I just went along with it,” Crave said. “Middle school and high school I felt passion and developed skill and realized this was where I wanted to take my life.”

After high school, Crave went to Columbia College in Chicago. He graduated from both Columbia and the University of Illinois at Chicago with an arts advertising degree.

“Honestly, I could have been a history major or a philosophy major, it was just a matter of making a decision,” Crave said, “but really I think all of that shows in my artwork.”

But Crave’s artwork is not limited to the small, often cardboard, structures he decorates the neighborhood with. He also writes comic books and creates large sculptures.

“My comic books follow social justice heroes,” Crave said. “Well, I make them, but they become heroes through the story.”

He explained how most of his inspiration comes from the stories that upset him in the news or the inspirational people he meets in his life. His passion for history also floats into the narrative. His characters are based off of complex people he meets and historical figures.

“Sometimes I just have too many ideas, but it’s amazing when I find a way to get them all to fit,” Crave said.

He worked on both the text and the illustration for his published graphic novel called “Hoody #1: A Hip Hop Graphic Novel.” When creating graphic novels, he starts with writing a manuscript and then transforms it into images.

Crave is also passionate about his sculptures.

“I make these 300-, 400-pound sculptures and want to go put them up,” Crave explained, “and, well, sometimes I overestimate my strength and get myself into a sticky situation, but someone always wooshes in and saves the day.”

Crave’s many adventures and the risks that come with them have not turned him away from art. He explained how since high school, it has been about inspiration and hard work.

“If you want to make it, you gotta put the time in and do the work,” Crave said. “No one is just an amazing artist. Learn from you teachers and embrace their knowledge. Then, success is in your reach.”

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A treasure hunt for local art