New Cityscape Painting: This Must Be The Place

This Must Be The Place, oil on reclaimed wood door, 28.5x40.5, 2015, $850This Must Be The Place, oil on reclaimed wood door, 28.5x40.5, 2015

I finished this new painting last night after about 9 months of work. It has had multiple incarnations - including its beginning as a collaboration painting with artist, Scott Simons. We abandoned it and he let me have the board. There was a good base to work with - graffiti, collage, acrylic, oil bar, and screen print. Then I added probably another 10 layers of oil paint to finish it off. The title of the painting takes on the namesake of the upcoming show at Firecat Projects: This Must Be The Place. It's a reference to a song by The Talking Heads, one of my favorite bands. Check out the video below from Stop Making Sense - damn, that had to have been a great song to see live:

Announcing "This Must Be The Place" - Show Opening at Firecat Projects July 24

After being an artist for 20 years, I’m excited to announce that my first *solo* gallery show, “This Must Be The Place” opens July 24 at Firecat Projects in my hometown of Chicago. Hope you can make it! RSVP over on Facebook

Opening Reception: Friday, July 24, 2015 - 7 to 10 p.m. Exhibition runs: July 24 – August 22, 2015 Closing Reception & Gallery Talk with author Bill Savage: August 16, 2015 - 3 to 5 p.m. Savage, who teaches Chicago literature at Northwestern University and the Newberry Library, will discuss Accidental Beauties: the Aesthetics and Symbolism of Water Tanks (and Other Antiquated Infrastructure)

Firecat Projects 2124 N. Damen Ave., Chicago IL 60647

The exhibition is generously sponsored by Doug Sohn of HOT DOUG’S.

Download the Press Release


Two new paintings - views near home and work

I finished two new paintings within the past two weeks. Interestingly, they are related to both where I live and where I work. The first one I finished is based one of the views from the office building where I work at my day job in the Inland Steel Building. The views are great and have inspired many photographs, drawings, and paintings over the past year. Dearborn Reflections, oil on panel, 24x24, 2015, AVAILABLE Dearborn Reflections, oil on panel, 24x24, 2015

The second one I finished recently is closer to home and which I connect with more. It's a view of the water tank in Chicago's Andersonville neighborhood where I have mostly lived for the past 15 years. I could see it from my living room window and it was an iconic structure in the neighborhood for about 90 years. It was taken down from the top of the Swedish American Museum about a year ago due to damage from the bad winter of 2013/2014. There has been an ongoing effort to raise money for a replica to replace the tank.

Andersonville Water Tank, oil on panel, 48x48, 2015, AVAILABLE Andersonville Water Tank, oil on panel, 48x48, 2015

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

Spring, or just the usual art

Spring is here, then it's not. Rain, fog; some summer weather with long bike rides. So cold you see your breath. May in Chicago. But it makes for productive time in the studio... It's nice to now (occasionally) have the windows open in the studio while painting. I'm gearing up for my solo gallery show opening July 24 at Firecat Projects in Bucktown. I'm currently working on about a half dozen cityscape paintings and always taking photos and making sketches to use for inspiration. I'll be showing these new pieces along with some other older works.

Oh, and there's the Cornelia Arts Building Spring Open Studios happening on Friday, May 29, 6-10pm.

So needless to say, I've been slacking off in the blogging department. I missed posting in April (the first time in 7 years I didn't make a monthly post).

Here are some images from my sketchbook, studio, and the poster for the CAB show...

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New Painting: Canal Street Bridge

I've been working on this cityscape painting for about the last month or so. It's on two panels that I hung side-by-side on the studio wall while I painted it. A diptych is unusual for me as is painting the whole piece on the wall. Sometimes a piece starts out on the wall then I move it to my easel - this one I kept on the wall the whole time while I painted it. It's based on a photograph I took while walking around a mostly industrial area near Canal Street and Cermak on the south side of Chicago. Side note: there's a great little place called Lawrence's Fish and Shrimp over there.

Canal Street Bridge, oil on panel, 24x48 (diptych), 2015, $600 Canal Street Bridge, oil on panel, 24x48 (diptych), 2015


In the studio: cityscape paintings in progress

This is a view of the studio in late January. No shows approaching -- so lots of things going at once and the studio is in general disarray. Things are blending together. Some abstract stuff and more controlled straight-forward brush stokes. Both styles are informing each other. I'm also working on expanding some of my color palette. Mostly though, just trying out new things and keeping it loose. studio 1.25.15

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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First paintings of 2015

The paint is still wet, but the first paintings of 2015 were finished this weekend. I usually shoot photos of my completed paintings out on my studio rooftop. I wait for an overcast, cloudy day to do this since diffused light is best for shooting artwork. Sunday fit the bill - it was overcast but cold, with some snow flurries which made for a challenging shoot on the rooftop. These are based on sketches and reference photos I took and are part of my cityscapes series.

Lofty Towers, oil on panel, 30x40, 2015, $600 Lofty Towers, oil on panel, 30x40, 2015

South State Street Lofts, oil on panel, 24x24, 2015, $300 South State Street Lofts, oil on panel, 24x24, 2015