Guerilla Truck Show

This week, after a long day of sanding redwood and making desktops out of doors (and door jambs), I hustled over the Fulton Street Market for the eighth annual Guerilla Truck Show, a loading-dock party thrown by the Morlen Sinoway Atelier.  I was covered in sawdust, and reeked of turpentine, but hey, a sucker for all things guerilla, I got there right as it opened at 5:30. The timing was a little unfortunate; many of the food trucks had yet to show up, a number of the booths were still pulling up, and the low, hard sun had my camera messing up.  So, I will apologize at the top here for some of the photography, which, even by my own mediocre standards, suffered due to the time of day, the dim trucks, the crowds, and the inability to step back and get a full shot of nearly anything.

West Fulton Market Street is a mix of old, industrial Chicago and newer, cultural manufacturing.  Right down the street from hip design-firm lofts, art galleries, and mid-century modern antique stores are truck repair shops, meatpacking plants, and empty silos formerly full of wheat.  A mix of gastropubs and fancy sit-down restaurants are slotted into soaring-ceilinged spaces, facing a street that is largely uninhabited after dark.  The El and industrial train tracks provide a steady background grumble of rattling steel.

At times, the street is lined on both sides with high loading docks.  Taking advantage of the loading docks, the Guerilla Truck Show uses 16' rental box trucks as show booths.  This makes a lot of sense -- cheap, fast, light, and easy to set-up and break down, with minimal investment by the backers.  The show runs only one night each year, during the week, which cuts down on interrupting traffic and costs.  

The following is a selection of my favorites, as far as my brief visit allowed.  The selection is somewhat limited by time, and booths that weren't set up yet.  My choices, and the show itself, is mostly about furniture, but there were art booths, theater booths, and food trucks.  

I really don't want to be a part of the unfortunate conflation of "guerilla" and "gorilla", but hey, here we are.

West Fulton, rental trucks in the distance.
Beautiful handmade steel bikes by a friend of mine and the lady's, Levi Borreson.  He shared a truck with Po Campo, locally made bicycle bags.  

These photos don't do the bikes justice; Legacy Frameworks bikes are smooth, sleek, and sophisticated, identified just by a nice head badge, no downtube graphics or other extraneous BS.  The lines are clean, and they come ready for the city with fenders and racks.  

The next truck to strike my fancy was Modern Farm, simple flat-pack stools and tables that rely on legs that mortise through the tops for structural stability.  Seems familiar . . . 
Some handsome little jams, for sure.

It seems everything is CNC-ed, and they took the computer-aided opportunity to make a clever glue/sanding kit.  Cheeky.

Designer Karl Merkl of Merkled Design specialized in cut and bent aluminum forms (much slicker than my own road sign experiments) including these sexy, faceted stools, which trap felt inside riveted aluminum layers.

Nice faceted cardboard form at the back of the truck.

I had to highlight the best-designed truck in the food truck court, 5411 Empanadas, even though I had a duck taco from Duck n' Roll that was amazing.

The School of the Art Institute had an interesting booth, populated with an unfortunately over-designed, overly-conceptual student projects.  One standout was this vertical credenza by Ji Young Yang, which used back-lighting and venetian blinds to nice effect.

The Guerilla Truck Show truck. Che Gueburgera.

The New Breed Furniture Network brought a nice display of process to their truck, and a conceptually coherent body of work.  That said, I have to question the huge gaps in their tabletops, a design move that undercuts the practicality of their pieces.  

While I found the furniture and jewelry less than compelling, this sculpture by Relevant Reuse was stunningly beautiful.

The Packer Schopf Gallery brought this amazing drawing machine.  I couldn't get a better photograph due to the crowd, but all these bottles, weighted with water and tipped with graphite, were suspended from a grid of nylon webbing.  The vibration of the crowd and wind, acting on the truck's shocks, translated into these shaky drawings.  

And, lastly, this gem, from a truck whose name unfortunately escaped my camera . . .