In Chicago, I produce films, television, commercials, advertiser-supported free compilation CDs and DVDs, and other items of political and artistic interest. Thank you for tuning in, and be sure to check out my website

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Chicago 'El Trains Decorated for Graffitti Art Contest

In the same manner that the Chicago Transit Authority allows corporate sponsors like Target and McDonald’s to wrap CTA train cars with their advertisements, this proposal details how the CTA could host an “Urban Art” contest using the same latex wraps. This mobile exhibit would be paid for through national sponsors and it would generate non-traditional revenue for the CTA.

Step 1. Announce the contest through banner ads placed on the insides of CTA busses and trains. The banners would list the rules, eligibility requirements and contest website. Target timeline: They would run for two months from Feb 1 to March 30.

Step 2. Artists would have until April 1 to submit their full-color sketches. Release forms, rules of participation, and a template of a CTA train would be provided on the website for downloading and printing out. Artists would then create their submissions by coloring on printouts of these templates.

Step 3. Submissions would be reviewed by a panel of noteworthy Chicago artists and CTA officials. Six finalists would be selected. Each would design ½ of a latex wrap, or, in other words, one side of a train car. At least three train cars would therefore be needed, one designated for the Blue Line, Red Line, and Green Line. Or, if it is cost effective, have all six finalists roll on each of the three lines. In this scenario, you would sting six cars together, for instance: Graffiti car #1, sponsorship car #1, graffiti car #2, sponsorship car #2, graffiti car #3, sponsorship car #3. This would be an impressive site to behold.

Step 4. Hopefully, by May 1st the artwork would be installed on the trains. To accompany this mobile exhibit, a second round of banner ads would be placed inside of CTA busses and trains. They would feature miniature photos of all six finalists. People would then be invited to visit the CTA website to vote for their favorite piece.

Step 5. The exhibit would run from May 1st to September 1st. The winner from the CTA website would be announced at the MCA’s (The Museum for Contemporary Art) “First Friday” event for the month of September.

Step 6. The winners would receive cash prizes. Consider this breakdown: $2000 for first. $1500 for second. $1000 for third. $750 for fourth. $500 for fifth. And $350 for sixth. Also, all finalists would receive a scaled-down scholarship of free art classes at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Partners would be needed for this project:
1. The City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and the Dept. of Tourism. They could be consulted in helping develop a theme for the submissions that might tie-in with other themes and exhibits they are already producing for summer, 2005.
2. The Art Institute of Chicago. They could offer small art class ‘scholarship’ to the finalists.
3. The Museum for Contemporary Art. They would lend their “First Friday” event for the month of September as an event through which to organize the awards ceremony.
4. The “Fly Paper”, a publication dedicated to Chicago’s Urban Art scene They would be helpful in promoting the contest on the street level – in giving it credibility – and in being judges of the submissions.
5. Rich Seng of Cherry Bomb, creator and producer of this project.
6. Three corporate sponsors from non-competitive categories. They would provide the funding for the prizes and the production/installation of the latex wraps. In exchange, they would receive their logo on all banner ads placed inside of the busses and trains. Furthermore, their trains wrapped in advertisements would be coupled side-by-side with those wrapped in artwork. McDonalds and Target are already involved with wrapping CTA trains with their advertisements and would be a good starting point. Other corporations of possible interest are Nike, Apple Computers, GAP, Coca-Cola.

Sponsorship fees would depend on the number of sponsors and the related costs for producing and installing the wraps. Decisions and research would need to be made in this regard, but, fees would be priced so that the CTA develops an additional stream of non-traditional revenue.

To conclude, I think Chicagoans would enjoy seeing a traveling exhibit of urban art. Urban Art painting is not only finely crafted (at its best), but it emerges from hip-hop culture, which speaks to a large portion of our society. Furthermore, I believe this contest would please many city aldermen who are dealing with graffiti in their wards. It would be a constructive and alternate outlet for urban artists who often ‘tag’ public edifices as a means of self-expression.

Finally, I believe securing sponsors is feasible. Target and McDonald’s already associate their marketing with elements of hip-hop culture. Their very act of paying the CTA to wrap trains with their advertisements is an example of this. Other corporations are also borrowing from hip-hop culture and certainly many would be quick to realize how this contest would add value to their advertising dollars. Furthermore, this contest would likely generate buzz and publicity which would benefit everyone, especially the CTA.

If there are any questions or suggestions please feel free to contact me, but also please feel free to review the bio and press sections of my website for more information on my productions and personal background.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

goobly goobly gobbledy goo - that's what I say, Rich. You and I both know the Bird's the Word, brah.


10:01 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Still looking for your brother, Roberto C.


10:02 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Richie email me at

I have some writings of yours...found on the bottom of a stack of papers.

8:35 PM


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