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Gallery Tripping: bring your own canvas

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Artist Chris Peldo was temporarily without a studio and looking for a place to paint when art dealer David Leonardis offered him a sanctuary of sorts for the weekend. Peldo plans to set up shop in Leonardis's Wicker Park gallery and work almost continuously Friday through Sunday. Visitors are invited to bring items for Peldo to paint on.

"We're just going to rope off an area and go to town, paint all kinds of stuff," says Peldo. "It'll be like looking in on a private space. If somebody brings a T-shirt, I'll do a screen on it. Or I'll paint on posters, cardboard, and album covers." He says prices will vary, but notes the cost will be higher "if it's a huge refrigerator door or something."

An advertising designer by day, Peldo chucks predictability when he starts to paint. His densely layered works--made by painting on top of silk-screened images--are a riot of junk culture and mass media references. Familiar cartoon characters, for example, get buried in an expressionistic blitz of acrylic paint and logos from cereal boxes and candy-bar wrappers.

"In my job I have to use advertising images in a proper way," Peldo says. "But when I use them in my work, I can blow them up. They collide and become part of the language of the painting. It's like pop meets abstraction head-on."

Peldo's "performance" is only one part of this weekend's DLG Extravaganza: Three Days of Art, Poetry, and Music. Street artist and musician Wesley Willis performs Friday night at 10, followed by the band Solar Tribe at 11. Poet Daniel X. O'Neil will read from his new book, Memo to All Employees, Saturday night at 10, and there'll be music by the Edseys at 11. The gallery is also touting a "surprise visit from Fisto the Clown."

Peldo says he won't be bothered by the noise and nonstop action. "I always have music on in my studio anyway," he says.

The DLG Extravaganza takes place from noon to midnight Friday and Saturday and noon to 10 Sunday at the David Leonardis Gallery, 1352 N. Paulina; it's free, but there's a $5 cover charge after 8. Call 278-3058 for more.

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