With an independent artist community of more than 2,000 creatives, it can be hard to sift through the Indiewalls directory of artists. To help, we’re highlighting local artists from major—and minor—cities around the globe to introduce interior designers, artists, and other creatives to our community.
Continuing our series that spotlights local artists in key regions across the nation, this week we’re looking at Chicago. This urban center sees some of the highest traffic for business travel in the country, and to accommodate has some of the most beautiful boutique hotels, coworking spaces, and architectural interventions you can find!
Check out a few of our favorite local Chicago artists, below:
Lynn Basa’s abstract and often fluid paintings embrace materiality as their start and end, highlighting the beauty of color, paint, and surface. She is inspired by artists who refuse to stay within the lines—rather than being representational, each piece is an expression of her state of mind.
Debra Paulson photographs Chicago in all its glory, capturing the small yet beautiful details that locals often take for granted and tourists often miss. Paulson’s photos reveal the intimate details hidden amongst Chicago’s imposing stone buildings and sprawling parks. Perhaps Paulson is so good at spotting tiny details in a city so big because she’s lived in Chicago for over 40 years?
Allison Svoboda’s mixed media installation pieces evoke thought by questioning what it means to be three dimensional. Svoboda begins her process with ink paintings, which she then brings to life as ominous, abstract, and intricate three-dimensional forms. In doing so, she embraces the geometry present in nature, exposing it for what it is: beautiful.
Craig Hansen’s paintings and sculptures mix pop art with minimalism, straight lines with gestural marks, and familiar imagery with abstract forms. Hansen contrasts shades of color with shades of grey, exploring what it means to fuse thousands of years of painting traditions together in a single practice.
Cole Pierce investigates geometry as a transformative device. His work stems from the architectural principle that “triangle is the strongest shape.” These expansive works seem to invade space, presenting a field of optically vibrating triangles that consume viewers. Pierce covers each plane with a subtle, hazy gradient of paint, then cuts away certain triangles to form a handmade pattern that, like a piece of machined music, playfully controls the viewer’s experience of constructed space and rhythm. Intentional flaws in these patterns operate like wormholes, allowing the real world to enter the theoretical vacuum of geometry.
Matt Coglianese’s manipulated photographs fuse street art with photography in whimsical, kitschy portraits of urban landscapes. These works explore the intersections of truth and imagination, of possibility and reality. Is it possible to be a surrealist photographer? Looks like we’ve found our answer!
Thomas Heinz comes to photography from a long career as a visual journalist with the Chicago Tribune. Heinz had always been interested in nature and, specifically, gardening. Through photography he expands this passion by focusing on the passage of time in nature. Using sequential photography, he explores the transitions in color and light that take place during natural events like the passing of a day or a season.
Barbara Cooper’s starting point is always nature. She is drawing to how forms respond to the stresses they withstand and the obstacles they confront. Starting with observations of specific phenomena, she abstracts the parallels she finds in processes as diverse as the surge of lava, the creep of a glacier,the flow of water, or the growth of a tree. These processes, whether in the natural environment or in the realm of the cultural or the personal, are essential aspects of life that she hopes to highlight in her large-scale sculptures and paintings.
Franklin Riley is an illustration and fine arts studio, constantly on the search for trending style and pop cultural ideas to transform into objects people can own and love. By taking as their point of departure pop culture, their works stand out as ever-relevant.
If we missed anyone or you know other great artists in Chicago, don't hesitate to let us know in the comments. We welcome all to apply.
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