Kaycie Surrell

Writing // Marketing // Creative

United States

I am a creative professional inspired by engaging work that celebrates meaningful stories. I'm passionate, focused, and attentive — and I'm motivated by community. When I'm not working I enjoy art-making and exploring my surroundings.

Portfolio
Curmudgeon Group
Women in Sports: Who Has the Power? - Curmudgeon Group

Women's sports coverage is more or less a numbers game with revenue projected at less than $1 billion - a fraction of the global value of all sports combined (men, women and mixed-gender), which in 2018 reached $481 billion. For brands to put the big bucks behind women in sports, they need to believe that women are profitable.

Newcity Resto
Tilt the Mic: Terms of Service Podcast Offers A Safe Space for Service Workers

Justin Arnett has launched Terms of Service, a podcast produced by Max Zuckert and co-hosted by Chicago Chef Nariba Shephard. Each episode invites industry professionals to share their stories and experiences and decompress a bit, just as they might have done pre-pandemic over post-shift drinks with co-workers.

Video - SAIC

Thesis exploring classic and experimental media with a focus on color and style, femininity, gender, performance art, poetry, and vaudeville through visual collage.

Visual Thesis

Created for School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Visual elements include examples from personal burlesque performances and classic musical theatre. Musical choices were inspired by artists who speak to my interest in the subjectification of gender.

Newcity Design
Cultivating Feminist Consciousness: Self Help for A New Era

The first week of October seems like the perfect time for teacher, artist, podcaster, entrepreneur and author Amelia Hruby, PhD to release her brand new book, Fifty Feminist Mantras. The illustrated journal is the culmination of a years-long practice that started with weekly Instagram posts and grew into what it is today-a guided journal for cultivating feminist consciousness.

Curmudgeon Group
Art, Culture, and Covid: Where Do We Go From Here? - Curmudgeon Group

With the ever-present and underlying fear associated with the virus, it might seem like a particularly difficult time to create. But artists continue to tap into the existing isolation and come out the other side with new, ever more creative ways to showcase their talents.

Curmudgeon Group
Art, Culture, and Covid: Galleries and Museums Adapt to a New Normal - Curmudgeon Group

It's been just over a month since our July blog post on the entertainment industry response to the ongoing pandemic, but to consider how much has changed since then, it feels like it's been longer. Museums, gallery and event spaces, and live theatre venues have had to navigate uncharted territory with, at least for the time being, no end in sight.

Newcity Design
The Trajectory of an Artist: Claudia Wieser on Art, Design and Architecture

Temporarily closed to the public under Chicago's stay-at-home advisory, the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago welcomed Berlin-based artist Claudia Wieser's exhibition Generations in early October. Moderated by the museum's adjunct curator and Mary L. Block Professor of Art History Christine Mehring, the artist participated in a panel discussion about the seven-year-span of work in this show.

Curmudgeon Group
Experiencing Pride: Don't Wash Us Out - Curmudgeon Group

In recent years, it's become increasingly popular for brands to capitalize on Pride Month in a practice known as "rainbow washing." From changing logos to Pride inspired merchandise, brands view the month of June as an opportunity to exploit LGBTQ+ culture and community for the sake of profits.

Curmudgeon Group
Black Lives Matter - Ongoing Resource List - Curmudgeon Group

As a boutique digital creative agency, our mission has always been to unite audiences and brands through a shared purpose. Right now our shared purpose is to support our communities, learn how and where to help, and offer resources for getting involved in a number of ways.

F Newsmagazine
The Enduring Ballet

Whether or not you're familiar with Oskar Schlemmer's "Triadisches Ballett," you've probably seen something inspired by the Bauhaus master of form's choreography and costume work. If the "Triadisches Ballett" doesn't ring a bell, you can surely recall the the Bauhaus-inspired costuming in the 1927 Fritz Lang film, "Metropolis," or its 1984 restoration featuring music by Freddie Mercury.

F Newsmagazine
Sestina for the DivaCup

and she felt her insides boil and rage. Her mother found her next, scared and pink - brightest red on the clean, white towel. "What happens next,", she whispered all soft and quiet so nobody would know.

Issuu
Smash Magazine Issue #1

Smash Magazine is a bedroom collage meets glossy magazine project I started in my final semester of graduate school at School of the Art Institute of Chicago. It features work by Cat Strain, Darshita Jain, Marqui Johnstone, Devaughn Taylor, Kaitlin Weed, Taylor Croteau, Bethany Ziskind Hankins, myself, Ghost Eyes, Bethany Puterbaugh, Peyton Stewart, Danelle Porter, and Stephanie Mejias.

Curmudgeon Group
TikTok Takeover: The App That's Changing The Game - Curmudgeon Group

I still remember the days when the biggest flex was an expertly coded, entirely personal Myspace page telling visitors everything about 'you' with a few easy clicks. Then came Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat ... you know how the story unfolds. Vine appeared in 2012, the godfather of you named it, TikTok, today's frontrunner in social media.

Curmudgeon Group
Embracing Uncertainty: Brands That Are Making It Work - Curmudgeon Group

When Peloton dropped last year's pre-holiday season commercial for their stationary bike, the campaign sparked online outrage and drew comparisons to the dystopian hit series, "Black Mirror." Of course, that was before any of us knew we'd be canceling our gym memberships and tuning in to virtual fitness classes.

Curmudgeon Group
Thank You, Next: Looking Back On A Year Like No Other - Curmudgeon Group

Not since 2004 has Oxford Languages, publisher of the Oxford English Dictionary, failed to select just one word that defined the year. With toxic and climate emergency best reflecting the ethos and preoccupations of 2017 and 2019, respectively, this year's slew of popular words and phrases embodied so many conversations it proved impossible for the O.E.D to choose just one.

JMReid Group
Leading in the Time of COVID-19 - JMReid Group

By now we're all tired of the word "unprecedented" even though it's arguably the best way to describe what's happening in the world right now. For those of us for whom remote, freelance work was already how we earned our keep, this is par for the course.

JMReid Group
A Little Food for Thought: Bad Training is Like a Bad Meal - JMReid Group

It's clearer now, perhaps more than ever, that traditional training is ineffective. The traditional training approach is - write a book, start a training company, build learning that considers the model is the answer and then require participants to sit, listen and absorb the trainer's wisdom.

Newcity Design
Collective Vision: Stay Home with the Chicago Humanities Festival

Things look different this year as Chicago festivals and outdoor events respond to stay-at-home orders and social distancing. Spring festivals like the Chicago Humanities Festival (CHF) would already have live and in-person events at venues across the city with impressive guest speakers and live audiences in an ordinary year.

Newcity Design
Amid Covid-19: An Industry Response to the Unthinkable

It's hard to know what to say. It's hard to know how to comfort someone when we have to stay at least six feet apart. It's hard to uplift one another when none of us knows how long this will last. Still, we find ways to connect.

Curmudgeon Group
Going Viral: The Rise of the "Non-Ad"

With brands producing a constant stream of content, and more decision making power resting in the hands of individuals, the ability to tell a story - one that can be transformed into a viral, shareable, moment - is what brands rely on to attract, persuade, and engage consumers.

Curmudgeon Group
Art As Activism: When Creativity Gets Political

Vibrant murals line the walls of a concrete tunnel in central Baghdad. Sudanese women using henna ink to cover their arms and legs in anti-government slogs. Stand-up comics in Venezuela being forced to leave the country for controversial jokes.

Curmudgeon Group
Insta Shadow Ban: What's the Big Deal?

Imagine you're a small business owner whose primary marketing strategy and audience interaction is based on the amount of people who see, like, and share your content on Instagram. Now imagine that suddenly, your likes and shares are down and your account doesn't show up in a search using specific tags associated with your posts.

Newcity Design
Bringing Walls to Life: Sagegreenlife Elevates the Art of Plant Design

Whether it's the lush swaths of chartreuse greens and deep purples that make up the living wall in Tishman Speyer or the intricate pattern outside the Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, you've seen the work of biophilic design and lifestyle company Sagegreenlife.

School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Making Art on the High Plains

On one of the last days of the summer 2018 American High Plains: Corps of Discovery study trip led by Associate Professor Beth Wright and Professor William Harper, students awoke to the sight of more than 400 horseback riders outside their cabins.

School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Emerging Writer

The beauty of an MFA program is time. Time to work on your writing. Time to work with other writers. Time to develop and strengthen your craft. Justin Howard Rosier (MFA 2018) made the most of his time in SAIC's MFA Writing program by launching a magazine and expanding a short story into a novel that asks what it means to be Black in America.

Newcity Magazine
Newcity Chicago July 2019

Newcity's July edition is an urban pastoral with ruminations, essays, and poems about our city at its most abundant. This issue is all about the green: grass underfoot, plants at the office, and a little herb in your glass. Also: fresh faces at Black Box Acting, Chicago as a global arts hub, the literary multitudes of Aleksandar Hemon, and more!

F Newsmagazine
Real Live Girls - "Cam" Movie Review

Alice Ackerman holds a knife to her throat, her eyes catching the reflection of the comments displayed on her giant computer screen. Anonymous viewers with names like Dragonballs and Ninja Man send tokens, tips, and emojis. "DO IT you worthless whore," sends Visitor003128. Alice's eyes dart back and forth while her ratings climb.

Newcity Design
Of Dreams and Color Explosions: 29Rooms Returns to Chicago to Expand Your Reality

Refinery29's "Turn it Into Art" immersive 29Rooms experience last year stoked anticipation for this year's follow-up event, the "Expand Your Reality Experience." One-of-a-kind installations by Janelle Monae, Queer Eye's Fab Five, Shani Crowe and Maisie Cousins wowed guests last summer as they walked through rooms meant not only to please esthetically but to encourage and inspire.

Newcity
Have You Seen A Kirtland's Warbler? Birdwatching in Chicago

Chicago loves birdwatching, and I don't just mean staring down the pigeons stalking CTA platforms. There's a healthy number of bird enthusiasts in the city interested not only in scouting and identifying our local fowl, but in preserving sanctuary spaces dedicated to protecting regional and visiting species.

F Newsmagazine
Stay and Fight: Film Industry Boycotts in Georgia

Politician and former Minority Leader of the Georgia House of Representatives Stacey Abrams released an open letter to the Georgia film industry on June 12 detailing her meeting in California with film industry professionals.

F Newsmagazine
The $95 Million Question

A jury convicted Officer Van Dyke of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm in the death of Laquan Mcdonald, the young man he shot 16 times on October 20, 2014.

F Newsmagazine
Pitchfork Music Festival: Go out, stay in, get things done

The 13 th annual Pitchfork Music Festival took place July 20-22 in Chicago's Union Park and featured a lineup boasting mega stars like Chaka Khan and Lauryn Hill as well as local favorites like Melkbelly and Japanese Breakfast. The festival is a Chicago favorite and hosted by Pitchfork Magazine.

F Newsmagazine
Sophie Lucido Johnson Joins Pop-Up Magazine

Sophie Lucido Johnson (MFA 2017) is the ultimate cool kid and constant source of inspiration for the F Newsmagazine staff. As our former Managing Editor, Johnson worked tireless hours editing pieces for others as well as writing and illustrating her own. She's also an avid blogger, journalist, comedian, and author of "Many Love: A ...

F Newsmagazine
Safe Sex Pt 1: SlutTalk, FOSTA/SESTA, and the Rights of Sex Workers in Chicago

Sex work is, as they say, the oldest profession in the world. Chances are you know someone who has made money on a cam site, as an escort, using a chat service, or as an independent contractor. In recent years, most of this was made possible through websites that allowed sex workers to screen and book their own clients.

F Newsmagazine
Safe Sex Pt 2: Slut Walk, A Funeral, and International Whores Day

SlutWalk Chicago took place July 28 at Water Tower Place from noon to 4pm as part of a movement calling for an end to rape culture, victim blaming, and slut shaming. Men and women in attendance made signs and told their stories of survival and empowerment.

F Newsmagazine
Ode To An Icon

While the Runaways later became a source of inspiration for bands like Bikini Kill, they were initially rejected by the rock music scene, at least in the United States. While American male audiences were spitting at them and throwing batteries, they were loved in Europe.

F Newsmagazine
Limmie Pulliam: Missouri's New 'Otello'

Limmie Pulliam will take on the role of Otello for the second time in his career this fall with the Springfield Regional Opera in Springfield, Missouri. For Pulliam, a tenor, this is the dream role he has always wanted to portray.

F Newsmagazine
Eight Flix to Fuel Your Fix

Traditional romantic comedies like "Sleepless in Seattle" and "When Harry Met Sally" used to be the definitive films of the genre. I offer an alternative list of 8 titles—each of these pairs nicely with a large pizza, a case of grapefruit-flavored bubble water, and a chocolate cake in a mug.

F Newsmagazine
Riot Fest Field Report: NIN + MIA = FTW

Over 150,000 people headed to Douglas Park a few weeks back for Riot Fest 2017, an annual punk rock, alternative metal, and hip-hop music festival boasting musical acts like Peaches, Wu-Tang Clan, and Jawbreaker.

F Newsmagazine
Pop-up Bars: The Bad, the Bad, and the Even Worse

An event epidemic that has been seemingly sweeping our city but has yet to deliver the good people of Chicago from its desperate clutches is no other than the pop-up. Like a well-intentioned great aunt or an oversold dad joke, the pop-up has overstayed its welcome but nobody wants to let it know because everyone is afraid of hurting its feelings.