If you know Adams Morgan well, there's a good chance you know Cita Sadeli, or at least the art she does under the moniker Chelove. She's the DC artist behind the phenomenal mural located at Kalorama and Champlain St., NW. (That's just off the main drag of 18th St., NW, in case you want to check it out.) Completed as part of the MuralsDC program, she gave Washington City Paper the full rundown of everything it's meant to portray. Clearly, Chelove loves DC music, and DC music loves her, which is how she most recently hooked up with the brains behind this weekend's TRILLECTRO festival to handle its poster art. What emerged wasn't just awesome art, but innovative ideas. Combining her well-known artistic skills with her in-depth knowledge of all-things-Internet, Chelove created poster art that's meme worthy. She made it a gif.
We told you Chelove was cool. And so we caught up with her via email (she's currently in France) to pick her brain a bit more. Here's what we found out:
SCOUT: Hope you've settled into France by now. PS: The whole of DC is jealous.
CHELOVE: Thanks! Just got here about a day ago... I'm still jet-lagged but I'll be alright ;) All of this great food certainly helps!
SCOUT: That reminds us: we need to eat more baguettes. Anyway, how did you get into design?
CHELOVE: I'm one of those kids who began drawing as early as i could hold a pencil. But I come from a long line of creatives/artists, so my fate was fairly predictable. My partner Arijit Das was the first person to really nudge me toward the more cutting edge European and Asian modern design work though. He always carried around a bunch of obscure design magazines under his arm.
SCOUT: A lot of your work is super innovative, incorporating gifs and such: what gave you the idea? Do you have a technology background?
CHELOVE: Thank you. Animated gifs are enjoying popularity again these days. (Remember the spinning animated globes and logos on those old websites from the late '90s?) I'm especially fixated on the motion work of Matthew DiVito. Ignacio Torres' animated photography is pretty rad too. I haven't seen so many animated graphics being used for event promotion and such in this country, but I think that's changing rapidly. I do have a tech background, beginning with web design and development in the late '90s and later bridging into 2D animation and interactive design.
SCOUT: We know this is probably the most cliché question we could ask but... what inspires you?
CHELOVE: To be honest? Making stuff inspires me. I just get this momentum going and the biggest rush is finishing a project and not letting my natural tendency toward inertia weigh me down. I try to get onto something else straight away. Unfortunately, for the professional creative, having something inspire the creation of a piece of work isn't always possible. Often there's just no time to chase after that elusive spark of inspiration. You've just got to somehow get the project done and make it work, and with practice it somehow gets easier.
SCOUT: Can you walk us through the idea for how the Trillectro poster came about?
CHELOVE: Since this is the most ambitious event being brought to DC by Modi Oyewole and his crew at DCtoBC, we knew it had to capture the spirit of a really fun 12-hour party featuring two distinct music genres at a brand new outdoor venue. What better way to grab folks' attention than with a bunch of weird characters bouncing off of a trippy animated .gif? It's all about the summertime vibe: rollerskates, boom boxes, skateboards and pool time with friends. Hell yeah.
SCOUT: Hell yeah, indeed. Thinking of the future... or actually possibly bending the time/space continuum entirely, if you could design a poster for anyone (musician/event/etc; dead or alive), who/what would you choose?
CHELOVE: How about a poster for a cross-cultural '80s-style drag ball featuring Japanese Butoh dancer Kazuo Ohno, vogue/ball legends Willi Ninja & Pepper Labeija, and black tap pioneers the Nicholas Brothers... Scored by early Rasaan Roland Kirk & Yusef Lateef, with beats by Wu Tang Clan, remixed by Larry Levan and Kieran Hebden a.k.a. Four Tet. Yeah.
SCOUT: And boom. Mind exploded, which brings us to the penultimate question. Rumor has it that DC is going to vie for the 2024 Olympics, how would you design the mascot?
CHELOVE: Hmmm... I'd have to vote for something depicting taxation without representation in Congress. Probably too much of a buzzkill to have Founding Fathers characters running around muzzled with their hands tied behind their backs. I'd love to see a good ad agency tackle that one...
SCOUT: Finally, what's next for you?
CHELOVE: I've got another mural going up through the MuralsDC program in mid-September. It's going to be centered around dance and movement and be located on the exterior of longtime DC cultural arts/performance center Dance Place in Brookland in Northeast.
Which means, we know what we'll be checking out in September. But why wait? Thanks to social media, we can keep up with Chelove now by checking out her company Protein Media's website, which is currently undergoing a complete overhaul, as well as follow her and her projects on Twitter @ProteinMedia. In the meantime, you got your tickets to TRILLECTRO, right?