Street Smart Chicago

Thug Life

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Raised by real-life gangsters in 1960’s Chinatown, Frank Pulaski has been inspired to compile an art project involving handmade books about gangster life in Chicago. His book, titled “Gangster Lit,” is composed of art and words all cropped and stitched together to tell a visual story. “To my limited knowledge, the three books of ‘Gangster’ comprise the first book-art novel—ever, 84,000 words,” Pulaski says. “There’s lots of book-art stuff out there with plenty of words built into them, but no one has ever made a novel in the book-art form.” With the help of numerous other writers contributing to the project, Pulaski says that the story being told can head in one of any number of directions, all depending on where the next writer wants to go. “‘Gangster’ takes a critical attitude towards most art forms, visual, written or otherwise, asking, ‘What’s all this shit about?’ A gangster stands at the edge and not in the center. A gangster uses his or her head and is always thinking, thinking, thinking…for at the end of the day, it’s all about the ideas.” (Micah McCrary)

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