The Roscoe Village–based artists Nick Butcher, 34, and Nadine Nakanishi, 38, who formed Sonnenzimmer (“sunroom” in German), were mentored by Jay Ryan, Chicago’s concert poster king. And over the past decade, they have churned out brilliant designs for scores of local and touring acts—including Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Kraftwerk, the Sea and Cake, and Deerhoof—that blur the line between paintings and prints. The casual observer could easily mistake Sonnenzimmer’s broadsheets, which use as many as 13 layers of saturated silk-screen color, for abstract expressionist paintings.
Now the two are bounding into new projects, most of which, says Butcher, “don’t fit within a neat little box.” This summer alone, Sonnenzimmer debuted a track of house music called “Round with Flat with Sound,” printed on quilts, and produced book layouts for a gallery and a local publishing house. They also make art objects that you can buy, including limited-edition prints ($30 to $120) and incredible abstract quilts ($850 to $2,800).