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Artist Rello Pens a Love Letter to His Favorite Chicago Spots as 'The Chi' Returns to Paramount +

Taking a closer look at the city’s bubbling streetwear communities and rich art scene with Cherry Mountain Arts Founder Rello.

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Artist Rello Pens a Love Letter to His Favorite Chicago Spots as 'The Chi' Returns to Paramount +

Taking a closer look at the city’s bubbling streetwear communities and rich art scene with Cherry Mountain Arts Founder Rello.

As the second part of The Chi’s sixth season returns to Paramount+, native Chicagoan Rello met up with Hypebae to tour his favorite local spots in the city, including the communal hubs that have shaped his legacy in fine art and fashion.

Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, artist, illustrator and philanthropist Rello (born Terrell Jones) has ambitiously navigated the intersection of fine art and streetwear. In 2006, he manned Hyde Park’s Leaders 1354, a streetwear boutique and artist incubator for up-and-coming creators, later making his mark at Fat Tiger Workshop, a passion project collaboratively founded alongside Joe Freshgoods (Joe Robinson), Des Owusu and Vic Lloyd.

“We had things of substance that we wanted to manifest into something greater,” Rello comments about the massively popular streetwear mecca that closed its doors in 2023. “The Fat Tiger story is really quite simple. With family, it’s going to be family, and sometimes it’s hard to pinpoint a key moment because Fat Tiger is still alive; it’s more than just a retail store. For us, it’s our gang, our bonding point. The greatest thing Fat Tiger did was bring us closer together. There isn’t necessarily a specific event or release that encapsulates this; it’s the entire experience that was so powerful. It was such a great and introspective journey, and that’s the greatest takeaway from the Fat Tiger journey.”

Rello’s tour of the city starts at Cherry Mountain Arts, an art collective and gallery space he founded in 2023. Cherry Mountain Arts doubles as a community art center, and weekly educational programming aims to equip aspiring creators with early career development and leadership tools. “The goal for Cherry Mountain is to give artists a platform, provide them with a way to make money, and offer a new perspective on the concept of creating and the business of art,” says Rello. “The second aspect of Cherry Mountain involves using the revenue we generate to reinvest in the arts community.” Artists Adrianna Miranda, Austin Call, MegPie Pollard, Noel Mercado, Tiffany Baker and Blue the Great are among Cherry Mountain Arts’ ever-growing network of featured artists and collaborators.

The next destination on Rello’s itinerary is Every Now and Then, a cultural beacon of Chicago’s streetwear scene. Founded by Joe Freshgoods in 2022, Every Now and Then’s creative programming, including pop-up installations, artist panels and event parties, has championed a spirit of inclusivity and accessibility for Chicago residents, encouraging the local youth to embrace creative fields. The retail space has collaborated with SoHo House, Community Goods, Nike ACG, Notre, Vans and more.

“The streetwear community was once a small subculture, but as it grows and becomes bigger, you start to see cultures within cultures,” Rello mentions. Retail spaces like Fat Tiger Workshop and Every Now and Then reflect this cultural macrocosm manifesting in real-time.


Taking a break from fashion and art, Rello shines a light on the Windy City’s culinary scene. Making a quick stop at 14 Parish, a spot known for its specialty rum bar and Caribbean-inspired cuisine, the artist reflects on how food can unite cultures, provide a space to connect and find common ground over the table. “When I was younger, my mom had her own sit-down soul food restaurant out west,” Rello recounts. “This restaurant had a significant impact on my life because it brought the community together. My friends and I used to work there and it was a place where I could bridge different parts of my identity and experience a sense of community. I didn’t realize how impactful it was until the restaurant was gone.”

Rello’s tour comes to an end at Stoney Island Art Bank. Designed by Williams Gibbons Uffende and built in 1923, the restored Stony Island Art Bank is a destination space for scholars, creatives, historians and more to share in the rich legacy of Chicago’s South Side. Artist, urban planner, and Chicago native Theaster Gates restored the iconic building, curating a public space open to Chicago’s luminaries and a repository for Black culture and history. Today, the Stony Island Art Bank is a historical emblem of Chicago’s deep-rooted stories, housing the Johnson Publishing Archive + Collections, historical Frankie Knuckles vinyl and more.

Learn more about Chicago’s local hotspots in the video above. The second part of The Chi’s sixth season is now available to stream on Paramount+ with Showtime Plan.

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