Monday, June 17, 2024

Chicago-based artist Tony Fitzpatrick has a unique repertoire of influences acquired through various occupations, all of which inform his broad scope of imagery. A self-taught artist, Fitzpatrick is a former prizefighter, poet, radio talk-show host, and movie actor, who later discovered his talent for intricate detail and imagery in both small- and large-scale drawings. In his early artistic career, Fitzpatrick made multi-colored drawings on slate and began to focus on printmaking, followed by a move to mixed-media drawings, paintings, and collages, which mix of found imagery, drawings, text, and daily ephemera. Among many influences, Fitzpatrick is primarily inspired by the street culture in his native Chicago.

Other influences include children’s books, childhood encounters with Catholicism, superheroes, circus posters, field guides, politics, folk art, and tattoo designs (the latter which often appear in his precise etchings).

Fitzpatrick’s early artistic career focused primarily on multi-colored drawings on slate, followed by printmaking, although he has more recently shifted his focus to producing mixed media “drawing/collages.” Fitzpatrick’s drawing/collages often blend central cartoon-like drawings, found images and ephemera such as baseball cards and matchbooks, and poetic or narrative text.

His main subjects have been Chicago and memories of his father, although more recent subjects have included New Orleans, hobo symbology, superheroes, Crazy Horse and Japan. Fellow Chicago artist Ed Paschke, described his work as “autobiographical,” saying that “it’s in the true spirit of what art is all about. It is an extension of him.”

Fitzpatrick’s works are in numerous public collections, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami. Among his works are the drawings which make up the brief chapbook “Bum Town”, and a continuing series of drawings/collages with poetry, “The Wonder: Tales of the City”. He had his own spot on a Chicago radio station for eight years and books of poems with artworks published. (source)

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