Late-night drunchies receive an eccentric touch the weekend of August 28, when the touring Pancakes & Booze Art Show, now in its sixth year, returns to Chicago.
Featuring more than 100 emerging local creative practitioners, Pancakes & Booze seeks to leave behind the high-brow, exclusive trappings of many art shows and offer a more informal showcase. Five dollars gives guests access to the gallery, a cash bar, live music, an “art battle”—wherein two artists compete in a timed trial to create interesting improvised works—and as many pancakes as they can shove in their pie holes. It’s not a traditional art show by any means, but according to founder and curator Tom Kirklin, 36, that’s exactly the point.
“A lot of the galleries and events out there are just really stuffy and pretentious,” he says. “A lot of artists are intimidated by that. That’s the void we fill. It’s not about criticizing everyone’s work; it’s just about getting your work on a wall.”
Locals at Pancakes & Booze include pen-and-ink specialist Dave Carling, digital artist Matthew Coglianese, and fantasy-inspired watercolor painter Holly Morningstar of ArchaicSmiles Artwork.
Of course, if your main draws are the carbs and libations, you’re in good company: Kirklin was a late-night pancake guy himself. He’d frequent the IHOP near his alma mater, the University of Arizona, after long nights out with friends. This became the inspiration for Pancakes & Booze.
“It just made sense to sober up on some pancakes before going home,” he says. “I need[ed] to find a way to get people here aside from just the art. It’s just as enjoyable for the patrons as it is for the artists.”