Monday, December 2, 2013

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 Medill School of Journalism Master of Science Candidate, Eva Voinigescu

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.

Friday, November 22, 2013

This Weekend - Last Open Studios of 2013

Last Open Studios of 2013:

Cornelia Arts Building
Friday, November 22, 6-10pm
Saturday, November 23, 1-5pm

1800 W. Cornelia, Studio #201
Chicago, IL

Art on two floors, live music, and a food truck! I’m showing new cityscape and abstract paintings in Studio #201. Hope to see you!

There will be a secret sale of $10 mixed media screen prints and $40 photos will be happening in my studio!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Some good art stuff happenin'

It's been a good couple of weeks of art-related stuff - here's a round-up:

I finished the commission painting which is now with its owner - author, Holly McDowell. Special thanks to Holly for asking me to create this custom painting for her home!

Bridges to Chicago, oil on canvas, 36x48, 2013

I was interviewed by Mike Stephen from Outside the Loop Radio - a weekly radio program that airs on 88.7FM - WLUW in Chicago. We talked about my studio, the Cornelia Arts Building, its history and its place in the Chicago art community. Listen here.

I created and finished another painting right after completing the commission:

South Loop Lookouts, oil on canvas, 24x30, 2013

I was asked back to show at Degenerate Art Gallery again in November after a successful October show. It will be group show again and I'll have some abstract paintings on display. Glad to be part of this new gallery in Edgewater not far from where I live. Opening Reception is Saturday November 16, 7-10pm. More info on that to come.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Sunflower Slow Drag: Collaborative Painting, Simons & Swallow

A couple of weeks ago, I worked on a collaborative painting with fellow CAB artist, Scott Simons. We didn't discuss much about what we'd do, we just passed the painting back-and-forth until we decided it was finished. The following images show the process as the painting developed. It was passed between us about six to eight times.

Sunflower Slow Drag - Phase 1
By Scott Simons & Kevin Swallow
Mixed Media on Panel, 2013

Sunflower Slow Drag - Phase 2
By Scott Simons & Kevin Swallow
Mixed Media on Panel, 2013

Sunflower Slow Drag - Phase 3
By Scott Simons & Kevin Swallow
Mixed Media on Panel, 2013

Sunflower Slow Drag - Phase 4
By Scott Simons & Kevin Swallow
Mixed Media on Panel, 2013

Sunflower Slow Drag - Phase 5
By Scott Simons & Kevin Swallow
Mixed Media on Panel, 2013

 Sunflower Slow Drag, mixed media on panel, 24x48, 2013
By Scott Simons & Kevin Swallow


"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. Both artists are influenced by architecture and draw their inspiration from the urban environment. 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. They will continue creating collaborative paintings and intend on having a two-man show in the future."

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Digital projection onto a NYC skyscraper

My painting, Gallery District Lofts, will be projected onto a skyscraper as part of the Creatives Rising exhibit on Saturday night October 5 in Queens, NYC. You can view it approximately at 11:05pm being projected on the Linc LIC Building, 43-10 Crescent St. It will also be shown at the See.Me Gallery space that same night during the opening party - screen #8. Address is 26-19 Jackson Ave. Long Island City, NY. Wish I could be there to see it...

Click here for more info about the Creatives Rising show.

Gallery District Lofts, acrylic and spray paint on canvas, 2013

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Open Studios - Friday October 4

The fall art season is in full swing so that means we're having another open studios night at the Cornelia Arts Building. Art on two floors, live music from the Minus One Quartet, and food truck The Tamale Spaceship will be in the parking lot.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Cornelia Arts Building
1800 W. Cornelia
Chicago, IL 60657

I'm in studio #201 and will be showing new paintings. I have also been working on a collaborative mixed media painting with Scott Simons. It will make its debut on Friday night in his studio #206-A.

Hope to see you!

Monday, September 16, 2013

September cityscapes - paintings in progress

As I work on the commission painting of the Chicago skyline, I continue to working on other projects. The below cityscape paintings of the John Hancock building, Marina Towers and L tracks are just about finished. I enjoy working on multiple pieces at once because its helps create cohesiveness between the different paintings. Also, I can experiment on one piece which then will help me develop ideas for another. I can loosen up with these pieces which then gives me greater focus when I work on the commission painting.

John Hancock Building, Marina Towers and L tracks (in progress)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Commission Painting Underway!

I started a new commission painting for a friend late last week. She is looking for a cityscape in my abstract style. There were certain colors and concepts we talked about and now the composition is taking shape. I based the concept on different photographs I shot from various spots with a good view of the Chicago skyline. I also did some sketches and a test painting before starting.

Here's what the painting looked like after some initial layers of acrylic and spray paint:

Now with the composition sketched in with charcoal:

And then with some paint starting to get added:

Lots more to go but off to a good start!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

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

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Paintings and sketches

For the last couple of weeks, I've been doing a lot of drawing - mostly of architecture. Even doing just a quick sketch or two a day at home or at the studio keeps me in the creative groove. One afternoon I also went downtown to draw Marina Towers and the bridges along the river. The sketches have informed some new paintings I started. They're loose and a bit more minimalist than some of my more recent paintings - more immediate like the drawings.

Here are some sketches:

And here are the paintings I have going right now:

Skyline Giclée Print

A few weeks ago, someone randomly found my art online and wanted a print of one of my paintings. It was of Chicago Lakefront Skyline, one that after completing last year, I had it professionally scanned/photographed. This allowed me to re-print the image with high resolution as a giclée print on archival somerset velvet paper. This printing process is great when you have a high-resolution file like I did because it shows all of the brushstrokes and colors much like the original. Here are a few pictures of it in my studio before the collectors picked it up.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Abstract water tanks - mixed media

I finished up these two water tank abstracts today. They are mixed media pieces: acrylic, spray paint, and collage. They are unique pieces because they bridge both my abstracts and cityscapes, but I'm including them in the cityscapes paintings section on my website.

Rockaway Floods, acrylic, spray paint and collage on panel, 24x48, 2013

Lakeview Platform, acrylic, spray paint and collage on panel, 24x48, 2013

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

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...

Monday, July 22, 2013

Exhibition in New York City - Opening Reception this Week

I'm excited to announce that three images of my cityscape paintings will be included in an exhibition in New York City. They will be projected on flat screens and large-scale on a wall. Here's one of the images that will be included:

West Loop Cityscape, acrylic on canvas, 24x48, 2012

The Story of the Creative
Curated by
July 25-September 10

Opening Receptio
Thursday, July 25th, 7-11pm
Location: Angel Orensanz Foundation for Contemporary Art
172 Norfolk Street, New York NY, 10002

Exhibition Continues through September 10th:
See.Me Exhibition Space
26-19 Jackson Ave.
Long Island City, Queens
New York, NY 11101

Digital 'single' cover for The Grindstones

I recently licensed my Brooklyn Bridge photo to a Norwegian indie rock band, The Grindstones. I also designed the cover image for their song "Brooklyn" which will be released as a digital single on Spotify soon. You can hear the song along with some others over on their website.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

City abstracts in progress

I got back to work today after about 10 days away from the studio. Visits to Nashville and New York City were great and re-energized me. It was exciting to start some new paintings this afternoon, continuing my series of cityscapes. Or, maybe these will end up in my abstracts series.

City Abstracts - June2013 (in progress), acrylic, spray paint, collage

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

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.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

New Paintings: Street grids and traffic congestion

These three abstract paintings are inspired by traffic congestion and street grids of the city. I started them off by collaging maps onto the surface, then adding acrylic paint and spray paint. I used a variety of objects as stencils to create some of the shapes. I painted them simultaneously in order to create cohesiveness in colors, shapes, and style. These are part of my abstract series of paintings.

Intersections, acrylic, spray paint, collage on panel, 24x24, 2013

Merging, acrylic, spray paint, collage on panel, 24x24, 2013 

Rush Hour, acrylic, spray paint, collage on panel, 24x24, 2013

Monday, May 20, 2013

New Mixed Media Paintings on Panel

These two new paintings were created using acrylic, spray paint, and collaged maps and sheet music on birch wood panel. Using spray paint was a new experiment for me and I think it worked out pretty well. The application of the paint gives these two paintings a more immediate, sketch-like feel. I like how the layers of collage turned out too. The maps I included are from the Chicago Bike Map and various travels (New York City, Paris, San Francisco). I have a lot more maps from traveling, so I want to create more paintings like these to add to my Cityscapes series.

The finished pieces are the first two images below followed by close-ups so you can better see the layers.

 Rooftop Jam, acrylic, spray paint and collage on panel, 36x24, 2013
 Sidetracked, acrylic, spray paint and collage on panel, 18x24, 2013

Here are the detailed close-ups of Rooftop Jam:

Here are the detailed close-ups of Sidetracked: