I've been working on a lot of pieces at once on-and-off now for about 6 months. That means I'm working on about 10 pieces at the same time but in different intervals. I can experiment while doing this but also create a connected body of work through the color palette. Here are some of the paintings:
I'm still working on this large-scale piece and I think it will help push me to continue working on larger pieces. I like the physical nature of painting large and how it can sometimes it be more immediate, loose, and like a sketch. For this piece, I'm trying to bridge both a loose drawing quality and combine it with some details on some of the buildings like my smaller paintings. For me, this has also been an experiment in color that I started a few paintings ago and I'm liking how these recent works are starting to connect with that palette. Here are a few recent images of the large painting:
The next open studios is coming up at the Cornelia Arts Building!
May 2016 Open Studios
Friday, May 20, 6 – 10 pm
1800 W. Cornelia
Chicago, IL 60657
Art on two floors, guest artists, live music on the front porch, and food from a local food truck in the parking lot. Close to public transportation & free parking!
All are welcome so invite your friends!
FREE and open to the public
I recently started work on a large cityscape on panel. This work in progress measures 4'x8' and using oil - my current preferred medium. It's based on a thumbnail sketch I created from a photo I took of the skyline. While the photo was taken facing east toward the skyline, the painting is looking west from the lake. But, depending on where you are along the lakefront, you'll see the same positioning of the larger buildings as you would looking from the west toward the lake. Click on the images to view larger.
This project was for Xavier, a new apartment complex in what used to be Cabrini Green in Chicago. Special thanks to Ann Hudner, the art consultant who curated the project. These are images of a digital reproduction of a collaboration painting between myself and artist Scott Simons. The large abstract wall coverings are installed in all 18 floors of the building directly outside each elevator bank.
Artist Statement about the original piece the mural images are based on:
"Sunflower Slow Drag is a collaborative mixed media painting by Scott Simons and Kevin Swallow. This piece combines Simons’ abstract textures and lines with Swallow’s cityscapes and abstract graffiti style. Both artists are influenced by architecture and draw their inspiration from the urban landscape. This is their first collaboration. The painting references a jazz song, Sunflower Slow Drag by Scott Joplin. Like jazz, the painting was improvised. They passed the painting back-and-forth over the course of a week – reacting to each other’s lines, marks, and colors. The panel was flipped and turned in various directions as they worked, until the painting unfolded into a finished composition."
One of the half dozen paintings in progress that I've been working on is starting to take more shape. The composition comes from the view looking south from my studio rooftop. The water tank is on top of the old Pencil Factory Lofts a block over from my studio in Roscoe Village. I've added more buildings in the background, giving it a more claustrophobic feel.
I recently finished this custom commission painting. The collectors previously purchased one of my cityscapes of New York and wanted a Chicago scene to accompany it. It's based on various on-site photos I took of northside Chicago neighborhoods where the L train runs. I created about a dozen charcoal sketches before arriving at this composition. I was looking to capture the neighborhood feel of Chicago with its mix of two-flats and Victorian architecture. Express Train, oil on panel, 18x24, 2016, SOLD (custom commission)
The next Open Studios event at the Cornelia Arts Building is coming up!
Friday, March 11, 6 – 10 pm 1800 W. Cornelia Chicago, IL 60657
Stop by my studio #201 on the second floor. I'll be showing new paintings that I've been working on over the past several months.
Art on two floors, guest artists, and food from DönerMen food truck in the parking lot.
All open studio nights are free and fun for all to enjoy. Close to public transportation, free parking available!
I realized recently that I haven't blogged since September. I've been creating new work consistently so I'm not really sure why I haven't posted - maybe I just needed a break. I've also been using Instagram more and posting my art on Facebook. But, I always find it helpful to blog about my art. These new pieces are based on photos I took while walking around The Loop at lunch or on an afternoon coffee break.
Old factory buildings from the industrial era are rapidly disappearing. But, space is at a premium so many of these structures get converted and re-used for creative businesses -- tech companies, advertising and marketing agencies, and of course, artists -- re-purpose these loft buildings. My studio is located in one of these old loft buildings, originally an ice house built in 1910. But, those art studio buildings are disappearing around the city and the artists often get displaced. These paintings both document and pay tribute to our industrial past and our creative, high-tech future.
Chicago Blues, oil on canvas, 42x42, 2015
Distortion, oil on canvas, 16x20, 2015
Wabash Corridor, oil on canvas, 16x20, 2015
In Between, oil on canvas, 16x20, 2015
Sunset In the Loop, oil on canvas, 16x20, 2015
Abstract Tracks, oil on board, 16.5x27.5, 2015
I put a video recap together of my Firecat Projects show. If you were there at the opening or closing gallery talk you may see yourself! If you weren’t there, this is the next best thing. Created with iMovie on the iPhone. Enjoy!