AGE: 25. LIVES IN: Gold Coast. CLAIM TO FAME: Chicago-based artist, best known for his intricate “squiggle” line pattern. WHAT’S IN A NAME: He’s gone by the nickname “Lefty” since he was a kid, and added “Out There” to describe his unusual artwork. SCHOOL OF THOUGHT: Campanella studied film at Columbia College Chicago, but struggled to keep his grades up. “At the time, I was getting paid by the school to paint a mural, but was getting a C-minus in Drawing 1,” he says. “I didn’t understand that.” Eventually, he dropped out to pursue painting full time. STREET CRED: Campanella got his start wheat pasting (using wheat flour as an adhesive for posters) street art. “I put up thousands of pieces the first three years of my art life,” he says. “That was school for me — my own school. I was doing whatever I wanted to do and pushing myself to reach more limits and try new designs.” SIGNATURE TOUCH: “It wasn’t like I came up with [the squiggle lines] — it was embedded [in my head] and I was always in love with it,” he says. “I just got progressively more and more obsessed with the lines. … I can walk up to something and the first thing my brain tells me to do is a hook squiggle. It’s just natural.” This year, his trademark caught the attention of national brands like Bud Light and Red Bull TV, who commissioned Campanella to create one-of-a-kind installations. SELLING POINT: Campanella sells fine art pieces on his site, Leftyoutthere.com, and recently launched a ready-to-wear line, Cover Everything (starting at $60; Covereverything.co). He also released a collection for local brand DPTR (Dptr.io) — featuring a wallet, keychain and belt — this month. DREAM TEAM: Campanella collaborated with Chopard on limited-edition watches that were embossed and hand-painted with his signature linework. He’s also worked with Chicago artists Vic Mensa and Chance The Rapper, who wore a Lefty sweatshirt in his Billboard magazine cover spread. COMING UP: In 2017, Campanella will head into the future, taking his artwork off the canvas and into virtual reality.
Pictured at top: Lefty Out There’s piece for Sub Chroma 2016
Shot on location at Campanella’s studio in The Annex (1620 W. Chicago; Annexneversleeps.com)
Photos by Ramzi Dreessen