If you bought a new townhome on the north side of Chicago in the 1980s or 90s, you may have first seen it through an illustration drawn by Rael Slutsky.
In the BS era – Before Slutsky – renderings of new residential developments in Chicago were typically formulaic, two-dimensional line drawings that did little to help buyers envision the finished product. Slutsky’s drawings were sharply different, and they quickly became ubiquitous as developers realized that his evocative perspectives were a powerful sales tool. Slutsky’s drawings were black and white and color portraits of a small world and the way people might live in it.
BS renderings typically showed a single elevation of a building along with two cars and a few people, who were always white. Slutsky drew scenes that you were drawn into, and filled them with fanciful yet realistic details, and a mix of people.
The Slutsky drawing, above, and the following photo illustrate the Tuxedo Park townhomes in a part of River North that was virtually uninhabited in the late 90s when the project was built. I chanced upon the drawing in our files yesterday, and it summoned memories of many more works by Slutsky.
Rael Slutsky is currently a senior architectural designer for Epstein, an architectural and engineering firm. His award-winning work has been exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago and other venues.