Behind the Scenes of the WNDR x Clue Collab

May 24, 2024

WNDR is excited to celebrate spring with a new artist collab with Chicago street artist Clue! The collection, “Life Grows Here,” features a range of items with Clue’s signature character and designs inspired by the spring season.

Artist Emmanuel Gomez, AKA Clue (Photo: Sinai Saldana)

Emmanuel Gomez, also known as Clue, is a Mexican-American artist born and raised in the Little Village neighborhood of Chicago. Using his art as a form of communication and expression, under his art alias he portrays positive messages and relives his experiences of growing up in Little Village through his art.

Clue’s signature character, a green alien with sharp ears and the main feature being its question mark for eyes, is constantly used across his work, often put in environments which tell stories of his shared lived experience in Little Village through the lens of community members and personal experience growing up. The hope with this artwork is to bring light to struggles and systemic barriers people face in his community and the work needed to uplift people who come across his work. He uses question mark eyes to resemble the many questions that arose when observing the struggles within his community at an early age.

WNDR spoke with Clue about his art, his inspirations, and his community. This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.

Tell us about your inspirations. What inspired you to become an artist? How does your community in Chicago, and Little Village specifically, inspire your work?

At an early age, I would always see my grandma being creative in many ways. From drawing to knitting, she would often tell me to replicate her drawings and teach me how to knit. I was exposed at an early age, and as I got older I started discovering different art forms. One of them being graffiti – my friend introduced me to graffiti and I eventually started doing it. I felt like my voice was heard and acknowledged through that art form so I feel like that’s where the artist in me was born.

I eventually found out about artists who’ve developed characters to tell their own story, one of them being Sentrock. I found out about him through joining Yollocalli‘s street art class; he was the teaching artist at that time. When he told us his story and what he did with his art, my eyes were opened to a whole new world. I eventually developed my character, which I currently use across most of my works. I use my character to tell the stories I’ve lived through and stories from people in my community. I hope to shine light on Little Village and the many talents it has to offer through my art form. I feel like there’s a little bit of Little Village in every work I create. The whole reason I developed my character was to tell my stories of growing up in Little Village. 

What drew you to WNDR as a collaborator?

When WNDR first reached out to me about doing a collaboration I didn’t know what to think. I wasn’t sure how much creative freedom I would have and if you all would be open to the ideas I had in mind. After meeting the team and how open you all were, I knew this collaboration would work. I feel like artists should have most of the creative freedom when collaborating with establishments like you all and you all did just that. 

Clue’s exclusive design, available for purchase on t-shirts, hats, water bottles, and stickers at the WNDR Shop.

What does wonder mean to you? What do you wonder about?

To me wonder means imagining a perfect world through my eyes. Kind of like a utopian world where everything is perfect. Any time I wonder about something I often imagine the best outcomes. Like this collaboration with WNDR, when the idea was first brought to me I was wondering how it would look like. But I imagined it being perfect in my eyes, so far everything has been going that way. 

Could you walk us through the meaning behind this piece? What themes or concepts do you explore in your work broadly?

When thinking of what to base the collection off of, the phrase “Life Grows Here” came to mind. So, I started exploring that idea and creating sketches inspired by it. When I think of spring, I think of flowers blooming, friendships nurturing, and love growing. I also thought of Chicago summer/spring nights. We don’t realize that life is made through the moments we spend together with one another, and I represent this through the design.

My staple character is placed in between two other characters (symbolizing friendship) having a small hangout outside. Their surroundings are made up of elements you find in your everyday life. From the houses in the back representing home, to the fencing representing struggles we are able to overcome together. The flowers are a representation of life growing anywhere no matter the circumstance. I feel like I explore this a lot in my works, finding beauty in anything. 

Describe your perfect spring day in Chicago.

My perfect spring day would consist of spending time outdoors with it being somewhere between 60-65 degrees outside, with some clouds, while me and my homies enjoy some elotes and raspados from the local elotero.

Who are some other Chicago artists our guests should know about?

To name a few: Aome artists who’s worked I’ve admired are SentrockBelMr.Pintamuro, and Roco Drilo.

Want to check out Clue’s designs for yourself? Join us at WNDR Chicago on May 19 from 12:00 – 3:00 PM for the launch of “Life Grows Here.” Enjoy a variety of special free activations including autographs and meet-and-greets with Clue and a live set from DJ Eva María. Pilsen-based clothing production company Jus Studios will also be on-site providing free screen-printing of Clue’s designs on purchased items or items that guests bring in to upcycle. Learn more and RSVP here.


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