Artists create slightly insulting posters for Chicago neighborhoods
By Dave Hoekstra firstname.lastname@example.org August 31, 2012 12:38PM
RC Jones, Lauren Schroer and Jeni Brendemuehl ink Chicago neighborhood posters. The trio display their work at slightlyinsultingposters.tumblr.com and sell them on etsy.com. | Brian Jackson~Sun Times
Updated: October 6, 2012 6:03AM
Signs pointed to success when three young Chicago advertising folks started inking Slightly Insulting Chicago Posters.
A fierce Midwestern pride shapes Chicago neighbohoods, so it is not surprising people are passionate about dramatic black and white typographic posters that read: “Streeterville: Proof you don’t have to move to the suburbs to find a cultureless neighborhood” or “Garfield Park — a beautiful park surrounded by streets so dangerous you shouldn’t even go there on Google maps.”
And even, “Evanston: A training bra for North Shore living.”
Slightly Insulting Chicago Posters are the brainchild of writer RC Jones and designers Jeni Brendemuehl and Lauren Schroer.
Thetrio work together at Wunderman Chicago, an agency on North Michigan Avenue, south of Streeterville. During their work days, they pen work for Burger King and other food-related accounts. During their off hours, the team creates posters — a side gig they started in July.
“One day Jeni and I were talking about Logan Square, and we spit out a little thing for that neighborhood,” Jones explained. “She said, ‘Why don’t I do a type poster for that?’ We got such a chuckle out of it we decided to try and do one for each neighborhood, since they all have such a distinct feel.”
Jones, 30, lives in Ravenswood. Schroer, 23, resides in Lincoln Park and Brendemuehl, 23, lives in Ukranian Village.
A few weeks ago they uploaded their first few posters to slightlyinsultingchicagoposters.tumblr.com and got a slight response. Within a week, others began tweeting and blogging about Slightly Insulting Posters to the degree they opened an etsy.com shop, slightlyinsultingChi. Silk-screen posters are 11x14 and sell for $18 each on the a site. The top seller is “Rogers Park: Perfect if you like Epcot’s diversity but hate how clean & safe it is at night.”
They’ve now designed 35 neighborhood posters. “We never anticipated this,” Jones said.
Some could be more than slightly insulting: “Pilsen: where you can’t swing a pinata stick without hitting someone with a mustache.”
Jones said, “About 90 percent of the people take it in good fun and see it as satire. The others are very vocal about it and say, ‘This doesn’t represent my neighborhood.’ When we started we made a joke referencing gunshots in Logan Square. That’s come back to bite me with the violence in the city. I’d revise that one. People who live in Pilsen think that is hilarious. You’ve got hipsters and Mexicans, and there’s tons of mustaches. And it’s a spinoff of everybody trying to claim the neighborhood.”
What makes the posters funny?
“We don’t have to put it in front of a focus group,” Jones quipped. “It can’t be killed by committee”
Brendemuehl added, “All of our posters have a sense of truth in them. You have to laugh.”