Thursday, August 15, 2013


After 14 years of living in Logan Square me and my Oktober Studio are moving.  This is not just a place I rented; I made it into my home. I love it. I walked in through the door for the first time ever 14 years ago and I knew this was it.  I never thought about leaving. I thought I would die here. I wanted to spend my final days here.  To me it's perfect! It's got three large windows in the living room. I love lying on the couch under the windows staring at the sky and the giant red and white police tower with blinking lights.  I love seeing the train pass by every 10 minutes. I love that my hallway is large enough to be another room. I love that the spare bedroom has a nook that my twin bed fits into perfectly. I love that I am on the top floor.   I love, love my bedroom; it is large and even though the closet is a tiny triangle, I love that it's a triangle. I love that my bathtub is big and the room is shaped like an L. My kitchen is fantastic. I love that it's extra large and the wall with the window looks slanted.  I could fit two kitchen tables in there. I paint on the floor in front of the windows and listen to the L. My apartment is in the perfect spot too.  The L is two door downs from my front door. There is a bus stop right out the front door and three others less than two blocks away. The police station, a bakery, post office, currency exchange, dry cleaners and fire station are all also less than two blocks away. The back yard is a double wide parking lot. Family Dollar and Chase are across the parking lot. There are three small grocery stores within in one block. There are only 6 other apartments in the vintage building with windows in almost all rooms but the bath. Packing and cleaning will be my life for the next few months as I get ready to move. Since it is where I live and work I have art exhibits in my apartment. All the walls are covered with paintings. I have over 100 paintings and I need to sell all of them before I move. I cannot paint anything new until I move. So I am having a moving sale.  Here are a few pieces in the sale.

"Morning Glory"

"Paint The City"

To see the rest of the sale please visit my
Moving Sale Board on Pinterest.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Where is he from? Artist, Jason Lahr

On a Friday following my ARTinerary©, I went to Packer Schopf Gallery in the West Loop.  I was completely drawn to the paintings with romantic prose and glowing colors. I thought this work was the best out of the group exhibit. That is when I discovered artist, Jason Lahr.  He graciously gave me an interview.   

Where did you grow up?
Western and Central Pennsylvania.
What was your first childhood experience with art that hooked you?
It’s hard to say. I always liked drawing, and was lucky enough to have regular art classes growing up and supportive parents and teachers.

What made you first realize you wanted to pursue a career in art?
At some point in high school. Initially I wanted to be a writer, but then gravitated toward art. My parents were really supportive, and encouraged me to do whatever I wanted as long as it made me happy. Then I was lucky to have a few fantastic professors in undergrad that really expanded my horizons.

What do people always say to you about your art?
I’d say that the question that I get most often is regarding the text; most people ask me where it’s from, which is ironic, because for the most part, it’s the only thing that’s not appropriated from another source.
When you are painting; the prose; does it come to you as you are making the art or do you have notes and choose what copy you want to add to each piece?
It’s a bit of each actually. I keep text fragments and drafts of texts in my sketchbook and on scraps of paper in my studio. When I’m working, sometimes I’ll pull from these, and other times I’ll write something specific for the painting.
What is your favorite color to paint with?

Anything fluorescent.

What are the steps/process to your creations?
Usually, I have a general idea of layout and composition in a broad sense, a couple of images that I want to use, as well as a starting point for the color. Normally though, I don’t have things completely mapped out; as I want to be able to respond to the painting as it develops and leave things open for ongoing creative problem-solving.
What is the strongest influence in your life on your paintings?
Probably my working class background. It has had a huge impact on my work, particularly in how I deal with the impact of culture and experience on identity.   

What is your take on the Chicago art scene? Do you have a Chicago influence? What would it be?
I’m a transplant to the Midwest from Pennsylvania and I’ve always been really excited by what’s happening in Chicago. There’s a quirkiness that I really respond to. When I go to galleries, there’s always something that I think is really good, and that doesn’t always happen in other cities that I get to.  I also like that there’s a pretty diverse array of work being made and a pretty good sense of community. Even though I live 90 minutes away, I’ve been able to make good artist friends and feel like I’m part of the ongoing discourse. 
What do you dislike about the art world?
It’s a dynamic organism that has good things and bad things. It is what it is. I’ve been lucking in terms of my experiences, but there are a lot of horror stories out there.
What has been the biggest challenge for you as a painter?

The biggest challenge is carving out enough time to be in the studio. The non-studio aspects of life have a tendency to get in the way, but in the past two years, I’ve been able to maintain a much more regular studio practice, which has made upcoming show deadlines a bit less stressful. 
What have been some of your non-art jobs?
I’ve been fortunate, before my current teaching position, I worked for a museum for 9 years, 6 of them as curator. Before that I had a range of jobs that got me through college and grad school. I worked for a sign company, did landscaping, and worked for a tree farm. Of those, the sign company was probably the best job. I didn’t do any of the design or vinyl; I helped with the installation and maintenance end of things. A husband and wife owned the company and he worked another job that was shift based, which meant that my job was shift based, which was kind of fun and kept it interesting. Although at the tree farm I did learn to drive stick in a Korean War jeep.
Do you have other interests or talents?
I play guitar and am pretty obsessed with bass fishing.
What are three words that people would use to describe you?
I only need two: Beard. Tall.
Who would be the 5 people at your dinner table dead or alive?
That’s a tough one…How about Larry David, George Saunders, Jimi Hendrix, Amy Poehler, and David Lynch
Who should play you in the film about you and your art?
Alexander Skarsgard, but he’d have to put on some weight.
What advice would you give other artists?

Work hard and put time into your work. Remember it’s a marathon not a sprint. Too often, I think artists early in their careers get too fixated on securing a gallery or having a mature career right out of the starting gate. That’s good in the short term, but often it’s not good for the long haul. We’ve all seen shows that are great, and then 5 years later either the artist has disappeared or the work doesn’t live up to that initial start. Don’t be in a hurry, put in the time.
Who is your favorite artist?
Vernon Fisher. His work is just so smart and well made. He’s one of those artists that each new body of work is somehow better.
What are your top five favorite paintings/sculptures, etc?
Peter Paul Rubens, Descent from the Cross
Artemesia Gentileschi, Judith Slaying Holofernes
Who/what working artist/ current exhibit would you recommend?

What do you want to tell people who don’t understand art?

I think that it’s important for people to not be intimidated, to realize that it’s ok to not like something, and that not liking something doesn’t need to be the same as not thinking that it has any cultural value.

To see more of Lahr's work please visit his website: