Not Just another pretty face: Masood Zaman and Brad Blankenship

Created by the Hyde Park Art Center, Not Just Another Pretty Face allows the Art Center to play matchmaker for artists and potential art buyers, facilitating a fun, accessible commissioning process that builds lasting relationships between artists and patrons, creates a new base of support for artists, and invests in the vitality of Chicago’s cultural community.

Brad and Masood came to my studio after looking at my portfolio. Each of them connected to my work on a different level. Masood, a doctor, originally from the Asian subcontinent- could related to my work as it essentially evoked sentiments of nostalgia. Brad, an educator- connected with the text and the literacy being the most vital transforming force that elevates a life from abject poverty.

My work is a comment upon resilience in the face of urban deprivation. The irony of the bookseller who cannot read resonated with both of them and I knew that that is what I wanted the work to be about. I wanted illegible text to be an important part of the work and wrote a poem for the painting. As both of them would probably be the ones sitting in that car, while the bookseller comes up to them, I played with different vantage points and perspectives and finally settled on the reflection of the bookseller in the car.

Being from India and working as a volunteer in the education space- I could relate to both of them very easily. We discussed broad ideas and themes and the final execution was completely at my discretion.

Yesterday was the unveiling of the show- with each work covered with a white sheet till all the artists and patrons arrived at 7pm. After 45 minutes and a short introduction by Kate Lorenz, the work was uncovered and each patron got a chance to look at and discuss the work with the artist. Each artist and patron received a beautiful catalogue and everyone enjoyed an amazing evening at the art center. The show received some wonderful press from Chicago Gallery News and The Atlantic and I personally could not have been happier that I was chosen to be part of this incredible endeavor.


In and Out, 2013 | 36x24in | Acrylic on Canvas

In and Out, 2013 | 36x24in | Acrylic on Canvas