Commission Accomplished: Chicago Offices


Chicago Theater by Matthew Olyphant
Chicago Theater by Matthew Olyphant, spray paint, oil, oil paint stick, and charcoal on canvas. Commissioned for private office, Chicago, IL.

Matthew Olyphant recently received the red carpet treatment from a Chicago client, who flew him in from California to paint two enormous canvases inspired by the Windy City. Working on-site served two purposes: the client wanted him to really experience Chicago, and their art consultant, Blythe Lee of Corporate Artworks, knew that shipping such huge paintings would be both difficult and expensive. We asked Blythe to tell us how the project unfolded.

“Blythe Lee and my clients arranged and paid for all my travel and accommodations. They also found a large warehouse space for me to paint in, and even had the canvases ready to go before my arrival. All I had to do was arrive safely in Chicago and paint. And what a city Chicago is! It was so fun and so inspiring from an artist’s perspective, full of energy and art and architecture. It was beyond my imagination, a dream come true.”–Matthew Olyphant, artist

“Our clients loved the edgy rawness of Matthew’s work, and wanted to have him paint Chicago-themed pieces for their Chicago office. They like that Matthew’s passion comes through in his work, and felt that would happen even more if he were in Chicago capturing the energy of the city while painting the pieces.

My role was to negotiate the terms and direct the commission, from the beginning mock-up sketches through to the final works. I needed to find a downtown studio large enough for Matthew to paint in and available to him 24 hours a day. I was able to find him a huge warehouse space with running water. I also had to have very large canvases stretched, gessoed, delivered, and hung in the warehouse at an appropriate height so Matthew could begin painting as soon as he arrived.

I asked Matthew to order all his supplies ahead of time and have them waiting at the art supply store in Chicago. However, he discovered that spray paint is illegal in Chicago, and not sold in the city.  Matthew had to make arrangements with the manager at his local art store in Berkeley to have his spray paint delivered to our office. We referred to it as contraband!

The client is more than happy with the paintings, and they get numerous compliments on the work. They are now considering Matthew’s work for two of their other offices.”

Chicago Warehouse Matthew Olyphant
Matthew Olyphant had to “import” spray paint into Chicago, where he created these two commission pieces for a local business.