A lot has changed in the life of South Side, Chicago artist Roger J. Carter. Back in April of 2020 he began experimenting with the use of chess pieces, records and toy soldiers to create his art. Little did he know that this would lead to a massive transition in his career as an artist. Just one month after posting pieces from his toy solider collection, art enthusiasts and the media began to take notice. The racial justice movement and the Covid-19 pandemic became catalysts to his newfound style which has been extremely well received.
"When I started out on this journey it wasn't about getting attention. It was about exploring new ideas. It was shocking, in a good way, with how much people have connected to this style of work. It's motivated me to keep creating."
Tucked away in the Bronzeville neighborhood of Chicago, he began shipping pieces weekly to different states. The request for commission work grew so rapidly that he had to hire a small team to assist with such components as sourcing materials, building frames and crating shipments. This allowed him to keep up with burgeoning demand as interest in his work expanded in Europe and Australia.
With so many requests for his art coming from around the world, the Chicago native has been unable to display a full range of his creations. Now, after leaving his day job, moving into a new studio and building a small team, Roger plans to feature a complete collection of three dimensional work. And he isn't doing it at a gallery.
Prior to making its debut to the Chicago dining scene, Pilsen Yards commissioned the artist to create a 7ft tall portrait of James Baldwin out of Toy Soldiers. Once the venue opened, the artwork became a signature piece of the restaurants aesthetic. Located on 18th st, the space offers an enclosed patio with a heated floor. Local Dj's are featured weekly, which have welcomed both foodies and artists alike.
While not everyone frequents art galleries on a regular basis, it's safe to say that most enjoy the ambience a restaurant has to offer. And with a style that's created a snowball effect of intrigue, an art show inside a large welcoming venue seems to be more than fitting. Not to mention it's become one of Rogers favorite hangout spots.
"I tend to like to do things in a non-traditional way, so having this exhibition in a non-traditional setting is unapologetically me. It makes it accessible to everyone rather than to just people who like to go to galleries."
UNAPOLOGETIC - a solo exhibition by Roger J. Carter, opens to the public on Tuesday, March 9th at Pilsen Yards. Opening day will be solely focused on the artwork and feature a variety of new creations available for sale. The exhibition will run for one month concurrently with the restaurants dining schedule.
RSVP online via Pilsen Yards to secure a viewing time. Punctual arrival is strongly suggested for this highly anticipated show.