Countdown: Two months to Firecat Projects solo show

It's been about two years since I was accepted to show my work at Firecat Projects. Back then, I was creating and selling art full-time in addition to doing some freelance web design. A year ago, I went back to working a day job doing content strategy at a tech/digital advertising agency. This has decreased my art making time dramatically but now forces me to be much more focused when in the studio. At the same time, it has expanded my photography output and experimentation. During lunch breaks or a walk for afternoon coffee, I take shots of the architecture and street scenes in The Loop and post on Instagram. This creative break each day informs my subject matter and has given me unlimited ideas for paintings or other projects. I'm still creating new work for my solo show -- This Must Be The Place -- and many of these recent cityscape paintings will be on display at the opening July 24 at Firecat Projects. firecat_flyer_web

Installation Views: DAC Group, Chicago

I finally had the chance to get the images posted of my DAC Group commission from 2014. This was an exciting project for me as I had the images printed, framed, and hand-delivered by me and my friend and fellow artist, Scott Simons. Special thanks to Blackbird Framing for the excellent framing job! DAC Group, a Canadian digital marketing and PR company, commissioned me to create a series of cityscape photographs which now hang in their newly designed Chicago office on Michigan Avenue. In addition, they will be conducting a PR campaign to local media and sending out smaller, limited edition prints to the press announcing their arrival in the city.

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Now on Instagram

I finally got around to creating an Instagram account: I'll be posting there regularly, mostly using it as a way to have a daily creative outlet to quickly and easily create art. I'm mostly sticking to shooting architecture and cityscapes that will give me inspiration for paintings and other projects.

I've also embedded the Instagram feed into my website in the photos section: Or, if it's easier, Like and Follow my art page on Facebook.


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New corporate commission project

I'm excited to announce a new corporate commission project that I've been working on the last couple of months. DAC Group, a Canadian digital marketing and PR company, contacted me about commissioning some cityscape photos to promote their new Chicago office. I'm thrilled that they will be installing large-scale prints of the below photographs in their newly designed Chicago office on Michigan Avenue. In addition, they will be conducting a PR campaign to local media and sending out smaller, limited edition prints to the press announcing their arrival in the city. It's a great opportunity for me to get this exposure to the Chicago media and I'm hoping it will lead to more exciting projects!

KSwallow_DAC - A Neighbors, digitally enhanced photograph, 2014

KSwallow_DAC - B Reflections in Green, digitally enhanced photograph, 2014

KSwallow_DAC - C Michigan Ave Crossing, digitally enhanced photograph, 2014

KSwallow_DAC - D Electric Blue Marina, digitally enhanced photograph, 2014

KSwallow_DAC - E Wrigley Building, digitally enhanced photograph, 2014

KSwallow_DAC - F Yellow Tower, digitally enhanced photograph, 2014

KSwallow_DAC - G Trumped by the River, digitally enhanced photograph, 2014

River North Electricity - Painting in Progress

Last July, I spent an afternoon walking around shooting architectural photos of the water tanks and warehouses in River North. This is a painting I started a couple days ago, based on a view from an alley off of Chicago Ave. and LaSalle St. Next steps will be to add a little more detail to the buildings and then add all of the electrical wires. I plan on having this finished for the March 21st Open Studios. river north_chicagoave River North Electricity - Painting in Progress, oil on panel

And here's the photo this is based on:

rivernorthelectric1 River North Electricity - Photograph: July, 21013

Heatwave + new commission painting

We have a late August heatwave happening here in Chicago. A perfect time to start on a new commission painting in a studio with no AC! Part of my process for creating custom paintings is doing a lot of sketches and taking photos. Once I come up with a composition then I start painting. Here's a photo I shot yesterday while walking around in 95 degree heat.

Heatwave, digitally enhanced photograph, 2013

And a couple of sketches that I'll base the painting on:

Sketch for commission painting

Sketch for commission painting

Images delivered - Chicago Art Leasing projects

I just brought over more photographs to Chicago Art Leasing this afternoon. Chicago Skyline will be going into South Loop Acupuncture and Marina Towers was purchased by Magellan, a large real estate company. It will be placed in their new development, Coast at Lakeshore East. Chicago Ave L Stop is going to be headed over to Hitachi Consulting. Chicago Art Leasing has also placed my painting, NoLita Water Tank (NYC), in a luxury condo development in River North as part of a home staging project for a real estate sale.

 Chicago Skyline (salmon), digitally enhanced photograph
 Marina Towers, digitally enhanced photograph
Chicago Ave L Stop, digitally enhanced photograph
NoLita Water Tank (NYC), acrylic on canvas, 36×48, 2012

The Cornelian + reflections on 2012

 The Cornelian (self portrait), acrylic on canvas, 24x30, 2012

As 2012 came to a close, I decided to create a self portrait - The Cornelian. It's based on a photograph taken in front of the Cornelia Arts Building where my studio is located. I haven't done a self portrait for a while, so I figured it would be a good exercise to go through since I've been a full time artist for one year now. I think the portrait reveals a several things: happiness, uncertainty, confidence and a bit of skepticism.

Reflecting back, I'd have to say that 2012 was a very successful year for me; I'm extremely grateful for all of the support I received. I started it off by taking an online class from Alyson Stanfield to work on my business plan and to help focus my priorities as an artist. I sold art consistently throughout the year and completed two commission paintings: West Loop Cityscape and Chicago Lakefront Skyline. I hooked up with Chicago Art Leasing which is giving me more exposure by renting out some of my art to businesses and homes. My studio was featured in the New York art blog, Hyperallergic - A View from the Easel; and I took an Experimental Drawing Techniques class to shake up my creativity.

During the second half of the year, I worked with two different art consultants on various submissions to license my art for hotel redesign projects. Last week, one of them came through -- four of my cityscape photographs will be printed large-scale for the Mile North Chicago hotel downtown. A second project for another hotel is still in the works. In addition to making connections with art consultants around the country, I explored some new online opportunities to help get my work in front of art collectors; such as ArtSlant, ArtBarcs, Chicago Art Database, ArtWorldChicago, Art Takes Times Square, and got my art represented in Xanadu's Online Gallery. I continue to show at the Writers Workspace and Transistor and will be exploring a lot more show and art licensing opportunities next year.

One last thing I'm proud of is helping my wife start up the Chicago Writers Conference. We ran a successful Kickstarter fundraising campaign where some of my art went to some generous contributors. I volunteered on the Board of Directors, created the marketing and communications plan, developed website content, created a mobile app, and shot photos of the speakers and reading events. It was a challenge to say the least but very rewarding and we learned a lot. We'll continue CWC with a series of workshops throughout the year and the second annual conference in October.

In early 2013, I'll be launching a new website redesign and I look forward to experimenting with oils to begin taking my art in some new directions.

Happy New Year!


exploring - random city images

I've been making it a point to go to different neighborhoods every week to walk around and take photos. Recently I've gravitated toward West Town, East Village, and Wicker Park. Before that it was Fulton Market/West Loop that inspired my new city abstracts series.

This neighborhood exploring has inspired some new abstracts and mixed media pieces and all around experimentation for my art. I fought the changes in my art a little but have decided to let these experiments just take me for a ride. I even signed up for an experimental drawing class to continue developing new ideas.

Anyway, here are some of the photos from my jaunts around town...