SoHo Fire Escapes - work in progress

This is a painting I've been working on the last few days. It's based on a photo I took in the SoHo neighborhood of New York in 2006. I'm continuing to work on making these cityscape images more immediate, loose, and painterly. I usually sketch the image onto the surface first with oil bar or acrylic. My goal is to carry that sketch-like quality into the painting style. This will be on display at this Friday's Open Studios at the Cornelia Arts Building. SoHo_WIP SoHo Fire Escapes - work in progress, oil on panel

Here's the photo reference:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Moon Over Soho (New York), photograph, 2006

Transit Skyline - painting in progress

Here's another painting I hope to finish in time for the March 21 Cornelia Arts Building Open Studios. Based on a photo I took near Wabash and Van Buren in Chicago. I'm not happy with the current state of the train but nothing that a little more paint can't fix! IMG_8962 Transit Skyline, oil on panel (work in progress), 2014

Here's the photo reference:


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

Cityscapes in progress

I've been working on a couple of projects early this year. One is a series of collaborative paintings (more on that in a future post) and a series of cityscapes. I've been working from my imagination but also shooting photos, sketching and walking around downtown to get inspiration. Unfortunately, the Chicago winter weather has limited some of that walking around. I finished one cityscape and have two others that are a little more than halfway done and starting to work on composition ideas for another. For most of these, I've also started assembling the frame and stretching the canvas myself. It's labor intensive but an enjoyable process. All are oil on canvas. Downtown Lofts, oil on canvas, 28x28, 2014, $500 Downtown Lofts, oil on canvas, 28x28, 2014

feb14_cityscapesWIP Cityscapes - February 2014 (works in progress)

Young Art Collectors + Open Studios

The Cornelia Arts Building Open Studios last weekend was fun and we had a great crowd to see the art and enjoy the live music. Some of my cityscape paintings and mixed media prints found new homes too! Thanks to all who attended. I was also interviewed by Eva Voinigescu, a Medill School of Journalism Master of Science Candidate who has been working on an article about how young people collect art. It was an interesting interview and hopefully she got some good information. One thing I try to do is to price my art so that most anyone can afford it. Typically my work ranges from $100 - $1,500 (sometimes more). Sometimes I'll have a secret sale and you can walk away with something for under $25.

Studio Interview with Eva Voinigescu, a Medill School of Journalism Master of Science Candidate

The discussion made me think more about open studios and my goals and expectations. I always enjoy talking to people about my art making process which also helps me better understand art collectors and appreciators. Not everyone comes to buy art at the open studios and when they do it tends to be on the smaller/more affordable side. So, I've come to have lower sales expectations and view open studios as just a fun event/party where I can introduce my art to new people.

But more importantly, having people in my studio helps me better understand my own art and how it affects people. By directly interacting with the public, I have learned to explain my work more clearly. I've also learned that everyone interprets images differently. It's always exciting when someone points out something new or different about one of my own pieces and helps me see it in a new way.

Back to the painting

I'm back from Europe as of a couple days ago (some pics forthcoming). I was inspired by museums and galleries in Paris and the Bienalle art exhibition in Venice. Not to mention all of the architecture and street life in both cities.

Back in the studio yesterday and today. I picked up a couple paintings where I left off and started a few new ones. The new ones are more minimalist than the other recent paintings but I think they still all work together so far. We'll see where this experiment leads...

Large-Scale Painting in Progress: Gallery District Lofts

Still a work in progress, this large-scale painting is inspired by NYC's and Chicago's orginal gallery districts: SoHo and River North. The painting is done on canvas and is about 7 feet high by 10 feet wide. So far, I've been using acrylic and spray paint but will be adding more layers using different painting and drawing media. I've been painting it on the floor and outside on the roof of the studio building. Soon, it will go up on the wall.

 Gallery District Lofts, mixed media on canvas (work in progress), 2013

My first job in the city was in River North at a consumer tech magazine. At lunch I'd go visit galleries or just walk around the neighborhood. Some things are still the same, some different. It's definitely more developed than it was 19 years ago. For example, Walmart Express has replaced the Pearl Art Store. I've visited SoHo since the mid-90's - well past it's heyday - and it's changed a lot since then. I'm sure it's a far cry from what it was in the late 60's/early 70's when artists started moving there and taking over buildings and all kinds of art was converging at the same time in the same place.

This makes me think about how neighborhoods evolve with the help of artists and small galleries who eventually get pushed out due to high rents. Commercialism creeps in. It gets a little less edgy because it's creative core moves on. I'm currently reading the book Rise of the Creative Class by Richard Florida which explores these ideas in depth. But, these places also hold an eternal nostalgia that keep us coming back. I guess there's also that a new place where interesting art or music is percolating just below the surface - waiting to get shown.

Studio Updates

Due to extra busy life circumstances, I haven't blogged in exactly month to the day. It's been busy art-wise too -- a lot of current and upcoming art stuff happening...

  • Been having good meetings and webinars during the Klein Art Works course.
  • The artist Feedback Loop I'm in has been interesting and gets better each time I go.
  • My large-scale cityscape photographs should be installed soon at the Mile North Hotel as part of their hotel redesign.
  • I'll also have more large-scale photos going up this spring at the Hilton Suites new bar/lounge they are designing.
  • Had some good news about some national magazine press coverage I'll be part of -- more on that soon.
  • Been working on a new series of abstract paintings based mostly on objects from my studio:

Here's a video of me working on a painting recently in my studio: