New Evanston art studio features tattoo artists, painters at first exhibit

Tori Latham, Reporter

A new art studio and gallery will hold its grand opening and present its inaugural exhibit Saturday, adding to Evanston’s fine art scene by displaying work from painters and tattoo artists.

“Endless Days, Sleepless Nights” will be the first show staged at Sidetracked Studio, 707 Chicago Ave. It will feature work by artists David Allen, Mat Hurtado and Daniel Maidman.

Allen and Hurtado are both tattoo artists and painters. Allen has performed tattoo work on studio owner Lauren Levato Coyne’s husband, Rory Coyne, who co-owns the studio with his wife, Levato Coyne said.

The couple initially only knew Hurtado through Instagram, but they had enjoyed the pictures of his work and decided to reach out to him to be part of the exhibit, she said. Maidman, who paints, is a personal friend of the couple and Levato Coyne said she thought he would also be a good fit for the show.

“These are artists we have always wanted to work with,” Levato Coyne said. “We have been following their work and they were some of the first people we thought of.”

Levato Coyne and her husband have had the idea of opening Sidetracked Studio for about four years. Once they were able to raise enough money for the studio, the project came together quickly, she said. The couple decided to open in Evanston, where they live.

The studio officially opened Oct. 11, but “Endless Days, Sleepless Nights,” which is opening Saturday, is its first exhibit, according to a news release.

The couple brought on art collector Michele Mahon Jahelka as a consultant to help with the studio and upcoming exhibits. Mahon Jahelka said she hopes the current exhibit will allow the studio to gain a lot of attention in these first few months, she said.

“We decided to make a broad sweep and include artists from all over the country,” Mahon Jahelka said. “Mat (Hurtado) is from Los Angeles, Daniel (Maidman) is from New York and David (Allen) is from Chicago, right in the middle. We’re hoping that this will introduce the gallery across the country. ”

Mark Muenzer, the city’s community development director, said he thinks the studio will draw people to Evanston.

“It’s great to see commercial spaces filling up in that part of the city,” he said. “It will definitely draw people to the Chicago-Main area and add to the success of that part of the community.”

Levato Coyne said she hopes Sidetracked Studio will be able to fill a gap in the Chicago art world, in which she said she does not see a lot of the work she personally would like to.

“We want to show more stuff that you might see in Los Angeles, a lot from artists that are emerging,” she said. “We’re trying to be engaging and relevant in contemporary life. You won’t see pictures of vases, but you will see people who are telling stories.”

Mahon Jahelka agreed with Levato Coyne and said she hopes that the gallery will be able to expose artists and make them more well-known, rather than just highlight their work.

“It’s more about the artist and their method and the finished product, which should be beautiful and touch your soul,” she said. “We want to give artists who do this a place to get a start in the art world and boost interesting art into Chicago.”

“Endless Days, Sleepless Night” will continue through Feb. 28, 2015.

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