Chelsie Tamms is living life here in Peoria one day at a time...and no, it’s not part of a twelve step program (not that there’s anything wrong with that) it’s all part of her travels in typography around Peoria. Chelsie is a hand-lettering artist and graphic designer who has started her own marketing/typography business called, Lettering Works and one of her current projects is called: “100 Days of Peoria,” where she’s designing 100 images in 100 days that celebrate unique places, people and happenings here in Peoria. She’s currently an artist in residence at The Prairie Center of the Arts, where she has a show running until February 24th called: “One City, Six Ways.” I’ve seen her work and it’s really a unique celebration of all things local right here in Peoria. So I decided to go and meet Chelsie at Prairie Center of the Arts and you’re invited too, let’s go take a trip in typography via Chelsie Tamms.
Here we are at the Prairie Center of the Arts. This place is a little off the beaten path, but it’s worth tracking down. It’s on Washington Street right down from the MacArthur Bridge exit. There’s not a big sign out, but as you can see, the name is displayed there on the cornerstone of the building. The building has two sections to it, a studio side and a gallery side. We’ll go to the studio side first and meet Chelsie over there. Check it out, the heart marks the spot, so let’s go in and take a look around!
The front room here is really cool. It’s got printing machines where the artists in residence can print up their works right here in the studios. This room is a treasure trove of vintage metal type fonts and other printing accessories. You can read more about The Prairie Center of the Arts by clicking here.
Here’s some of the printing equipment housed in the studio space. Below that are some works of art printed by the artists here.
Okay, we came to see Chelsie in her studio and it’s right beyond the door there. There she is working away on some lettering designs at her desk, it's Peoria’s very own letter head, Chelsie Tamms!
Chelsie is originally from the suburbs of Chicago. She came to Peoria via Bradley University and graduated with a dual-degree in Graphic Design and Spanish with a minor in Marketing. She’s decided to stay here in Peoria and has started her own business, Lettering Works. Chelsie’s been working out of The Prairie Center of the Arts after being granted a six-month residency here. She authored and designed a book called, Just My Type Of Lettering and the book won the prestigious Student Silver Award from the American Advertising Federation.
Chelsie’s studio space is loaded with her hand-lettering and design work celebrating local business and culture here in Peoria. As you can see there’s prints, buttons, stickers and postcards, all about Peoria.
Recently Chelsie had an interactive display where people could answer questions to her hand-lettered signs in the studio and this led to her current art show here at the Prairie Center of the Arts called, One City, Six Ways. The show is currently on display until the 24th of this month in the gallery section of the building.
So we took a stroll over there and here’s the show which is a series of half a dozen posters hand-lettered and designed by Chelsie.
The series combines Chelsie's hand-lettered style with an exploration of what sets Peoria apart from other communities and some of the unique businesses and cultural offerings happening in Peoria. The poster series is fun to look at and informative as well.
Here’s just some of the many hand-lettered logos incorporated into the poster series in the show.
The idea behind One City, Six Ways has been expanded as Chelsie had an idea for a companion piece called, 100 Days of Peoria which is an ongoing Instagram page devoted to businesses and cultural events and places here in Peoria.
She’s updating the page every day and you can follow it by clicking right here.
This month’s exhibition also includes a display from Michael Gilbert, another artist in residency at the Prairie Center of the Arts. His exhibit is called, The ALZ Set and you can read more about that right here.
The Gallery here is open to the public from 10am to 3pm Monday through Friday if you’d like to stop by and take a look at this wonderful local art. Tomorrow (Friday, February 17th) at 6:30pm is an Artist Talk event which will feature Chelsie and Michael talking and discussing this show and the gallery is open from 6 to 8pm tomorrow night for this special event. Thanks to Chelsie for showing me around and sharing her art for the MBIP blog! We’ll see you all tomorrow!
One City, Six Ways (show runs till February 24th)
1506 SW Washington Street