Creating. Sharing. Growing.
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Meet an Artist

Each month we will interview a featured artist from The Arts of Life to give you an opportunity to learn more about their work, see their studio space, and discover what they enjoy most about the community.

Chicago's December Artist of the Month: Lee Draus

In contrast to the chill air and dull color outside, guests to the Chicago Studio will be greeted by a blast of bright, warm colors in the drawings of Lee Draus. He was selected as December’s Artist of the Month by curatorial committee member, Tim Stone.

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October Artist of the Month: Alex Scott

In October, curatorial committee member, Kris Schenkel, selected for the honor of Artist of the Month his fellow artist, Alex Scott.  Alex has been a lifelong artist and maker.  Many of his pieces draw on imagery from his childhood.

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Jack O'Sullivan; North Shore Artist of the Month

At first glance, Jack’s choice of subjects appears arbitrary. However, after conversing with him it is apparent that he has a strong personal connection to the work he is making. “I think­ about what I want. What I think I like” is how he describes his process. When Jack is painting, he looks like he is on a journey.

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Kris Schenkel: Chicago's Artist of the Month for September

For September, the curatorial committee selected fellow member, Kris Schenkel, to receive the honored spot of Artist of the Month.  Having worked at Arts of Life since 2009, Kris has really hit his stride within the past few years.

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The Inserted Protagonist; North Shore Artist Spotlight of Rebecca Kubica

Rebecca Kubica is a diligent and imaginative artist who uses her art to forge deeper connections to stories that are meaningful to her. These stories are largely told through film because of this it is impossible to be fully immersed in something contain on a screen. Becky wants to fully participate in these stories, to forge alliances and friendships with the protagonist and so she uses her art-making practice as a way to build these connections. 

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August Artist of the Month: Tim Stone

August's Artist of the Month wall is a geometric vision! Abstract artists, Susan Pasowicz (SLP) chose to highlight fellow curatorial committee member and lifelong artist, Tim Stone (TS).

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North Shore Artist Spotlight: Phil Gazollo

It’s a rare privilege to watch a fellow artist come into their own. The North Shore’s Phil Gazollo has shown us all what that looks like this year as he’s transformed from creative dabbler to driven maker. On July 8th, he was honored at our annual Awards Show with the Most Improved Award in acknowledgement of the many strides he’s made.

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Artist of the Month: July

Each month, a member of the Chicago Studio curatorial committee selects a peer to feature as Artist of the Month.  Their work greets visitors from our front room gallery.

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Meet an Artist Blog

Chicago's December Artist of the Month: Lee Draus

In contrast to the chill air and dull color outside, guests to the Chicago Studio will be greeted by a blast of bright, warm colors in the drawings of Lee Draus. He was selected as December’s Artist of the Month by curatorial committee member, Tim Stone.

read more

October Artist of the Month: Alex Scott

In October, curatorial committee member, Kris Schenkel, selected for the honor of Artist of the Month his fellow artist, Alex Scott.  Alex has been a lifelong artist and maker.  Many of his pieces draw on imagery from his childhood.

read more

Jack O'Sullivan; North Shore Artist of the Month

At first glance, Jack’s choice of subjects appears arbitrary. However, after conversing with him it is apparent that he has a strong personal connection to the work he is making. “I think­ about what I want. What I think I like” is how he describes his process. When Jack is painting, he looks like he is on a journey.

read more

Kris Schenkel: Chicago's Artist of the Month for September

For September, the curatorial committee selected fellow member, Kris Schenkel, to receive the honored spot of Artist of the Month.  Having worked at Arts of Life since 2009, Kris has really hit his stride within the past few years.

read more

The Inserted Protagonist; North Shore Artist Spotlight of Rebecca Kubica

Rebecca Kubica is a diligent and imaginative artist who uses her art to forge deeper connections to stories that are meaningful to her. These stories are largely told through film because of this it is impossible to be fully immersed in something contain on a screen. Becky wants to fully participate in these stories, to forge alliances and friendships with the protagonist and so she uses her art-making practice as a way to build these connections. 

read more

August Artist of the Month: Tim Stone

August's Artist of the Month wall is a geometric vision! Abstract artists, Susan Pasowicz (SLP) chose to highlight fellow curatorial committee member and lifelong artist, Tim Stone (TS).

read more

North Shore Artist Spotlight: Phil Gazollo

It’s a rare privilege to watch a fellow artist come into their own. The North Shore’s Phil Gazollo has shown us all what that looks like this year as he’s transformed from creative dabbler to driven maker. On July 8th, he was honored at our annual Awards Show with the Most Improved Award in acknowledgement of the many strides he’s made.

read more

Artist of the Month: July

Each month, a member of the Chicago Studio curatorial committee selects a peer to feature as Artist of the Month.  Their work greets visitors from our front room gallery.

read more

Meet North Shore Artist Daniel Frownfelter

            Each day at the studio, Daniel Frownfelter arrives before other artists and immediately gets to work. After greeting the staff who are already here, Frownfelter puts his lunch in the refrigerator, sets his things down next to his chair, and starts doing the work. From there, his creativity rarely stops. At lunch, Dan can be found working on a coloring book. In meetings, he is filling a sketchbook.

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Meet a North Shore Artist: Oly Trindl

            Oly Trindl joined out studio in mid-March. Armed with charisma and congeniality she is integrating easily into our community. Oly is someone who appears to perpetually be in a good mood, meeting difficult situations with humor and grace.

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Artist of the Month: Frances Roberts

With a new month, and warmer spring weather, it was time to rotate in a new Artist of the Month. Frances Roberts (FR) was selected for her bright imagery and stand-out shapes.

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Meet a North Shore Artist: Aaron Kleeblatt

Meet Aaron Kleeblatt, one of the newest additions to The Arts of Life North Shore studio. He fills a much-needed role in our community: Artist as Social Commentator. His opinions are strongly held and don’t conform to anyone's expectations.

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Linda Ruzga, Artist of Month

March’s artist of the month in the Chicago studio is

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Archivist of Her World: Meet North Shore Artist Renata Berdes

The impulse to paint comes neither from observation nor from the soul (which is probably blind) but from an encounter: the encounter between painter and model: even if the model is a mountain or a shelf of empty medicine bottles.” 

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February Artist of the Month: Christianne Msall

 

The Chicago studio features an Artist of the Month, whose work is exhibited in the waiting room.  Visitors, volunteers, staff, and artists are greeted as they enter the studio and can become more familiar with an individual artist’s practice.  The artist is selected by a curatorial committee of four artists along with Vincent Uribe, our art director.  They curate several works from the artist’s portfolio to exhibit within our newly launched gallery space, Circle Contemporary.

 

February’s artist of the month is Christianne Msall and the show features her vibrant mandala drawings, each of which have a circle in the center, filled with abstract marks, flowers, music notes, and other symbols. This show is full of warm colors, bold lines, and geometric patterns. To find out more about the work that went into creating these images, we interviewed Christianne.

 

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Happy Birthday, Ralph! We Miss You!

Ralph Bemont joined the Chicago Studio in January 2016, after working for decades at Austin Special.  From the moment he walked in the door, we knew he was a natural.  Making art was a source of great joy for him and there was no limit to his creativity.

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New Horizons: Farewell to Pam

This month, we say goodbye to long-time North Shore artist and dear friend Pamela Robe, who is leaving the studio in pursuit of new horizons.

 

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And the Award Goes to… Mike Marino: Chicago Studio Artist of the Year

The Chicago Studio held our 2016 Awards Show on October 14.  Artists, staff, and friends got dressed up for food and fun, and this annual celebration of each artist’s unique skills and talents.  This year, Mike Marino was named Artist of the Year, a contentious award that is presented to artists who have both a strong arts practice and leadership roles within the studio.  

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Perfect is Important: Meet North Shore Artist Saemee Kim

Saemee joined the North Shore studio after taking a class offered by our Teaching Artist in Residency Program (TARP) at North Shore Special Education District. In the class Saemee showed a strong interest in art and worked meticulously and slowly. She is assertive, bubbly, and can turn on a dime. The first artist to join our studio from the TARP program, she wasted no time establishing a practice in the studio.

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Everywhere is Art; North Shore Artist Feature of Andrew Sautel

“What inspires me is basically my surroundings. I am surrounded by art—everywhere is art. I see so much art from all different things: exit signs, stop signs, traffic lights, billboards, walls, buildings, environments.

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North Shore Artist Spotlight: Ted Hamel

“My favorite thing about being an artist is it makes me feel happy. Art makes me happy, I feel less overwhelmed when I am making. After I finish a piece I am tired, exhausted and proud. I put a lot of work into my pieces.”

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Contagious Happiness; A Farewell to Montell Payne.

I first met Montell when I came to interview for my original position as Volunteer Coordinator. I was doe-eyed and disoriented as Quinn led me through the gallery, to the kitchen, and into the café sharing bits and pieces of what he thought was important about the studio.

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We Love You, Pablo!

 

I'm doing really good at my art work. Like I make professional art work, it’s really easy.”

 

Pablo A. has worked at The Arts of Life Chicago Studio since 2012.  Before that, he never thought much about art, but today he says “I like art, it makes me happy, in the beginning I didn’t know I could do it.”  

 

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"I Just Decided To" A North Shore Artist Spotlight of Pamela Robe

My friends inspire my work. I like doing people, sometimes it is hard. I like to do food, because it is also challenging. I feel good because I like doing it. I think this is good. I went through the pictures and I picked it out. I just went and picked that one and decided to do it.

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Meet an Artist: Rebecca Kubica

Rebecca Kubica is a force to be reckoned with! Her artistic style mimics her sunny disposition through the bright, energetic colors she uses in her paintings. Never underestimate Becky, though. She is a brave soul who participates in power lifting, celebrates “tomboys”, and recently painted herself as a “fire-lady”. You can count on her to stand up for  herself and others, speaking out for what she feels is right.

Becky takes pride in a job well done and puts care and intention into everything she does at the studio whether it is art making, daily sketching or afternoon responsibilities. This attention to detail is evident in the detailed figures and backgrounds she often paints.

A sense of peace pervades her artwork which, to me, is a reflection of her personal confidence and poise.

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Meet Nikole Heusman

     Nikole Heusman is a veteran artist at the North Shore Arts of Life studio. Nicole, or Niki as her friends call her, enjoys working with a variety of different mediums. Watercolor is her favorite, but she also works with charcoal, chalk pastel, and oil pastel, and acrylic.

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Meet an Artist: North Shore Newbies!

This summer, the North Shore studio welcomed Marcelo Añón and Andrew Sautel (pictured above L to R) to our community. Both gentlemen are prolific art makers with lots of ideas and an intense creative drive. They've spent the past few months settling into studio life, learning about our Core Values and developing new bodies of work. Marcelo's primary focus is geometric line work, with a tendency towards urban imagery. Andrew enjoys portraiture and working in mixed media. Check out the gallery below for images of these artists at work. 

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Meet Our Artist of the Year: Frances

At our 2015 Awards Show, Frances Roberts won Artist of the Year. Mikey Marino, one of our artists at the studio, decided to interview her after she recieved the award. 

Mikey: How did it feel to win Artist of the Year?

Frances: It felt good.

Mikey: What do you like about the Arts of Life?

Frances: I like to paint and draw.

Mikey: How has the Arts of Life made you grow as an artist?

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Meet a North Shore Artist: Amanda Gantner

In 2012, Amanda joined The Arts of Life as a full time artist, making work five days a week at our North Shore location. She’s experimented with a variety of mediums over the course of her career, but recently chalk pastel emerged as a successful favorite. “I used to do photo transfer. Now I do chalk pastel… It’s good exercise for my arms and hands.”

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North Short Artist Spotlight: Ed Rawski

Ed Rawski is a gentle spirit with a strong curiosity about foreign people, cultures, and languages—which he expressed vibrantly in his colorful acrylic paintings.  When he’s not providing impromptu Spanish or Tagalog lessons to peers and colleagues, you can often find Ed smiling on observantly and dreaming to himself. Check out his interview with Studio Coordinator, Courtney Mackedanz below to learn more about him!

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North Shore Artist Spotlight: Alicia Porter!

Alicia Porter, besides being a bag-of-giggles, is also an astoundingly talented artist.  She’s been dedicated to her creative practice since earning her BFA in painting and drawing from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh in 1998.

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Roy Lichtenstein Inspired Piece by Benji

I was thinking about the work of Roy Lichtenstein and how it Inspires me. I visited The Art Institute last summer and saw the Roy Lichtenstein exhibit. I like how the images are created using dots. I wanted to try and use the structure, arrangement, and color of dots to form an image, like in R.L.'s work. In my drawing, I try to create an interesting composition using dots and shapes. R.L.'s work also inspires my comic style.  Comics often involve high contrast and bright colors.

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A Moment With Christianne

Today, I interviewed my friend Christianne about her artwork. 

 

Please tell me what you're working on 

"I'm working on my mandalas." 

 

What art materials are you using? 

"I'm usng markers and oil pastels for outlining and sketching." 

 

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North Shore Meet an Artist: Brian Reed

After more than four years at The Arts of Life, North Shore studio artist Brian Reed has practiced an array of art making techniques. Some of his favorite mediums include clay and acrylic, but he’s venturing out of his comfort zone to try a new medium, printmaking. He’s been sticking with an animal theme so far and the prints are turning out great!
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New Year's Resolutions from Chicago

What's up?! 2015 is looking awesome here at the Chicago Studio! Now that the holidays are over, we are ready to start the new year right.  We've welcomed some new volunteers to the studio.  We are always glad to get to know new people.   

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Artist Spotlight - Guy Conners

Meet Guy Conners - Our 2014 Artist of the Year recipient!

Favorite part of Arts of Life: I like doing pet portraits and drawing dogs.

When I'm not at the studio: I like to watch sports and draw American Dad.

I'm currently working on: Starting a new project.

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North Shore Meet an Artist: Our New Year's Resolutions

This week we’re getting back into the swing of things at The Arts of Life after taking some time off to enjoy the holidays. Ready to tackle the year ahead, artists at the North Shore studio shared their resolutions for 2015. Keep reading to find out what they’ve set out to achieve.
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North Shore Meet an Artist: Emily Aussem

Despite her busy schedule juggling two jobs and social activities, North Shore artist Emily Aussem has worked diligently to establish a functional art practice at the studio. After experimenting with multiple mediums, including the photo transfer process she describes below, Emily has finally found her niche painting geometric abstractions of prominent figures from contemporary culture. Continue reading to learn more about Emily, her artistic process and see images of her current artwork.
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North Shore Meet an Artist: Laura Greenberg

This month fellow North Shore artist Amanda Gantner and facilitator Vanessa De Leon, two of Laura’s strongest advocates at the studio, sat down to interview her for this month’s artist feature. Curious to learn more about Laura’s interests and art making practice, Amanda asked her a series of questions which were then rephrased by Vanessa and answered using a “yes” or “no” system. Keep reading to see how the interview transpired.
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North Shore Meet an Artist: Erinn Nariss

North Shore artist Erinn Nariss is curious and energetic. Her personality is directly reflected in her artwork as she explores the relationship between the background and the subject. Filled with busy lines and shapes, the background vibrates against the subject, creating tension and visual interest. Not only is Erinn’s artwork busy and exciting, but so is her life at the studio! Read her interview below with friend Danny Frownfelter and volunteer Amanda Duncan-Jones to learn more.
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North Shore Meet an Artist: Phil Gazzolo

What’s so great about North Shore artist Phil Gazzolo? Is it his charm, authentic sense of chivalry, or unique art practice? All of the above! Phil’s personality and many interests inspire him to produce artwork that is both thoughtful and original. Continue reading Phil’s interview with artist Trent Taylor to find out what he’s been creating at the studio, his favorite hobbies, and a his aspirations for the future.
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North Shore Meet an Artist: Quinn Zenner

Being a man of culture is no easy feat. However, artist Quinn Zenner seems to have it down to a science!

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North Shore Meet an Artist: Chris Viau

Inspired by images from nature, North Shore artist Chris Viau fills his pictures with calm, earthy colors. For the majority of his artwork, Chris uses multiple mediums to create visual texture and interest in each composition. When he’s not making art, Chris joins photography workshops led by volunteer Megan Cox and fills the position of studio archivist. In addition to his roles at the studio, Chris also enjoys participating in various recreational activities. Keep reading to learn more about how Chris spends his time both at The Arts of Life and outside the studio community.
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North Shore Meet an Artist: Laura McManus

Laura McManus is one talented lady. She constantly challenges us to see the world differently through her approach to art making and the relationships she has with the studio community. Each piece she creates is a product of great patience and dedication. Layer after layer is methodically applied and often stripped away, only to be replaced by something new.

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North Shore Meet an Artist: Pouya Bagherian

“Happy Thursday!” -Pouya Bagherian North Shore artist Pouya Bagherian is always happy. Whether he’s making art, helping with responsibilities, or participating in yoga he does it with an energy to be admired. Even the artwork Pouya creates radiates vibrancy through its bright color palette and subject matter. There are so many things that he is passionate about! Keep reading to learn more about Pouya and the experiences that influence his artwork.
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North Shore Meet an Artist: Rebecca Turner

Despite the constant changes to her environment, Rebecca Turner consistently proves that she is a strong, independent woman capable of personal and artistic growth.

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North Shore Meet an Artist: Laura Bell

North Shore artist Laura Bell is one busy lady. When she joins the studio you can find her creating colorful cuisines on canvas and catching up with friends. Laura also finds time during the week to help with Meals on Wheels, work at the Glenview Public Library and savor some of her favorite foods. Volunteer Trent Taylor talked with Laura this month to learn more about her aesthetic and culinary interests. Read her insightful interview here. Bon appetit!

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North Shore Meet an Artist: Ted Gram-Boarini

Artist Ted Gram-Boarini joined the North Shore studio in September 2013. In just over a year he has established a focused art practice, joined a rock band, and developed meaningful relationships with new friends. In addition to his involvement at The Arts of Life, Ted also participates in programming and events provided by Center for Independent Futures (CIF). Keep reading to learn more about Ted’s interests and creative ventures.
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North Shore Meet an Artist: Sean Kremer

Sean Kremer is a man of many faces. Quite literally he can be impersonating Woody from Toy Story one moment and Kermit the Frog the next. And it’s not only Sean’s impersonations that have us captivated, but his ability to accurately illustrate a variety of figures. See for yourself why Sean’s work is so fascinating by reading this interview and visiting the Glenview Public Library for an up-close look at the recent work he has created.
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North Shore Meet an Artist: Billy Borgerd

Meet Billy Borgerd. A hard working fellow and all around good guy. On days that Billy joins the studio you can find him helping other artists, talking about the outcome of his favorite sporting events, and creating movie themed artwork. See why we think Mr. Borgerd is so incredibly charming by reading his witty commentaries in this interview about his life and art.
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North Shore Meet an Artist: Danny Frownfelter

This month's featured North Shore artist is Danny Frownfelter. Both a visual artist and musician, Danny is a prolific art maker and a member of the North Shore Studio band Van Go Go. Learn more about Danny in this exclusive interview as he describes his art practice and many roles at the North Shore studio. Also keep an eye out for Danny as Pickles in the Big Breakfast Bonanza variety show at this month's Sketchbook Swap on Friday, September 27th.
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