Jay Fleck
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The Quintessential Chicago Style Dog

Written by in #ClassicNeenah

Hot Dog …


Jay Fleck is an illustrator/designer whose style ranges from whimsical to abstract. He thinks Chicago is the best city in the world, so was a natural fit when we asked him to create a piece for the Neenah Future Classic promotion.

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What inspired you to use a transit map and food to represent Chicago?

Public transportation is an essential and vital part of the city. And to me, the Chicago-style hot dog is the quintessential Chicago food. We have a very specific set of ingredients that every Chicagoan knows; it’s kind of a goofy part of our identity.

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Describe the process of creating this piece. How did you approach the concept phase?

This was the first concept that came to mind, but I was concerned about whether I could execute it. Could I make it look enough like a transit map, but also like a hot dog? Could I include all of the ingredients and yet still make a coherent piece? Maybe it doesn’t seem all that complex, but to me it was actually quite difficult.

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Did you learn anything new along the way, about working with paper or about your chosen technique?

Yes, I learned quite a bit about printing on darker paper. I will now probably obsess over it whenever I work on a piece: How could I do this on a darker blue? What colors could I use?

Aside from what you’ve represented in your piece, what are your favorite elements of Chicago?
I love the food, the music, and the people. There’s a laidback attitude in Chicago that differentiates us from other large cities in the U.S. We don’t have that sense of entitlement or pretentiousness you might see elsewhere. We have to tough it out through some very difficult winters — it keeps us humble.

What’s your favorite way to eat a Chicago dog?

I eat it with the standard Chicago-style ingredients: an all-beef hot dog in a poppy seed bun topped with yellow mustard, chopped white onions, bright green sweet pickle relish, a dill pickle spear, tomato slices or wedges, pickled sport peppers, and a dash of celery salt. Most important: absolutely no ketchup.


Give us your ideal “24 hours in Chicago” itinerary.

Wake up, grab coffee or a snack, and head towards the lake. Walk through the nature boardwalk at the Lincoln Park zoo, then head out to the lakeshore to sit and relax, or take some photos. Eventually head back to grab some food and drinks, something simple and casual — tacos at Big Star, maybe. End the night at a bar, listening to music or just chatting with friends.


A mural on the corner of Chicago’s Damen and Lake Streets.

Describe the creative scene there. What do you love about it?

There is such a high concentration of art and artists in such a relatively small area. Walking down the street, you’ll see art everywhere —on walls, posters, in shops. It’s a constant source of inspiration.

facebook: @jayfleckartist


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    […] A design I created for the Neenah Future Classics paper promotion.  I drew a Chicago-style hotdog subway map to represent my home town. You can read more about the project and an interview Here . […]