Art Nerd City Guides: New York · Los Angeles


Artist: Labrona; Image Courtesy of Pawn Works

Artist: Labrona; Image Courtesy of Pawn Works

Founded by Nick Marzullo and Seth Mooney in Chicago, Pawn Works  is an organization generated by the love of street art. With its origins as a “brick and mortar gallery space,” Pawn Works has relinquished the traditional gallery approach and just like their projects, are operating directly from the urbanscape all across the mid-west. In Nick’s words, “we went rogue and haven’t looked back since.”

The street art group has worked its way into Chicago’s colloquia when speaking about street art. Nick and Seth work alongside some of the most prolific proponents of street art community in Chicago. Local business owners such as Hedrich Blessing Photography and Mark Thomas from The Alley   initially supported the vision of installing art in public places. With the encouragement from the local community, Pawn Works acknowledged the need to take their project to the next level. Naturally, they approached Lauren Pacheco from Chicago Urban Arts Society (CUAS)  and the neighborhood of Pilsen via 25th ward Alderman Danny Solis  to collaborate and establish Art in Public Places (AIPP).Art In Public Places is an award winning, on going mural project in Pilsen that focuses on the curation and facilitation of large-scale public artwork. Local and international artists have found their way into Pilsen making Chicago a mid-western destination to see the work of some of the worlds most distinguished street artists. Nick and Seth have lured staple street artists such as ROA , Gabriel SPECTER , RAE , GAIA , REYES 78, OverUnder , Labrona, Other , Jon Burgerman, The Yok and Sheryo, Mr. Penfold , Cannon Dill, Feral Child and EVER  into Chicago to share their work and leave their legacy impressed along the walls.


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Artist: RAE in Cleveland;  Image Courtesy of Pawn Works


In addition to their Chicago mission, Pawn Works has recently completed a project in their hometown of Cleveland, Ohio in the East Cleveland neighborhood of Collinwood. Pawn Works is working with  Amy Callahan from initiative  Arts Collinwood  on a “visual arts based urban renewal project.” Over the span of three weeks, LNY (Lunar New Year), GAIA, EVER, RAE and Nanook, participated in this “truly organic community arts effort that was aimed at sparking any sort of dialogue within the community and was a thrill to work so closely with the residents.”

Street art transcends all art forms by creating something that is accessible for all audiences. The artists and viewer alike have to surrender ownership and leave the fate of the work in the hands of the community and environment. Stated by Jane Jacobs, urban advocate,  “Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.”

Next on their list, Pawn Works moves into Sheboygan, Wisconsin to continue mural projects as well as activate their pedagogical mandate by teaching educational workshops on the sticker medium and it’s history from Punk Rock and Skate Culture to Contemporary.




Artist: EVER in Cleveland;  Image Courtesy of Pawn Works


Who: Pawn Works

What : Street Art in the Mid-West

Where : Pilsen, Chicago; Cleveland, Ohio


  1. Bryan says:

    I built and just released an iOS app for chicago street art. It called “My-streetArt Chicago”. I was out photographing and a friend drove me by your establishment. It sounds like something g I want to be a part of. Perhaps we could find some common ground and work on a project which is mutually beneficial. I have a store built into the app where artists can sell accessories This platform has many uses and could potentially be of interest to you. I have some stickers I want to get printed up anyhow. Plus I would love to hear about the whole operation. Ultimately I want to put together an organization that has ability to hand out commission. I wouldlove to meet and hear more about how it works. 847.626.5466 name is Bryan or peace

  2. I bought the app over the weekend!! Thanks for the tip – I will email you!

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