• My new tattoo

    My new tattoo

    My new tattoo. A completely faithful rendering of a live drawing I did of the Daspletosaurus upstairs @fieldmuseum back in 2012. This dinosaur used to be on display in #stanleyfieldhall, and has been something I’ve loved to look at since I was in pre-k. Thank you @jimmyvregalado for the top notch work and raising funds for #cureforcarol #dinosaurskull #dinosaurtattoo #originaldesign #drawing #jamesjankowiak #daspletosaurus #daspletosaurusskull #fieldmuseum #naturalhistorymuseum

    Earlier post presented vertically (at Mana Contemporary Chicago)

    Earlier post presented vertically (at Mana Contemporary Chicago)

    Earlier post presented vertically (at Mana Contemporary Chicago)

    Untitled for now

    Untitled for now

    Untitled for now. Not sure yet if it’s #horizontal or #vertical either. #acrylic on #canvas, 48"x72", 2016 #newpainting #contemporaryartist #jamesjankowiak #contemporarypainting #abstractpainting #pattern #repetition #painting #newpainting #americanartist #chicagoartist #art #artist #artista #line (at Mana Contemporary Chicago)

    Great energy in the #studio today, #grateful to be #painting #solitude #focus #redblueandyellowfriday #healyourself #friday #progress #repetition #pattern #contemporarypainting #jamesjankowiak (at Mana Contemporary Chicago)

    Great energy in the #studio today, #grateful to be #painting  #solitude #focus #redblueandyellowfriday #healyourself #friday #progress #repetition #pattern #contemporarypainting #jamesjankowiak  (at Mana Contemporary Chicago)

    Great energy in the #studio today, #grateful to be #painting #solitude #focus #redblueandyellowfriday #healyourself #friday #progress #repetition #pattern #contemporarypainting #jamesjankowiak (at Mana Contemporary Chicago)

    Untitled (The Prismatic Polychromatic #5) acrylic and tape on wood 13"x13"x2" part of @fashionchicago #popuplounge #artevent #rosemont #popupinstallation #contemporaryart #tape #wood #contemporaryartist #jamesjankowiak #stripespotting #installationart #installation #temporary #interiordesign #juxtapose #fineart #contemporarypainting #minimalism #simplicity (at Fashion Outlets of Chicago)

    Untitled (The Prismatic Polychromatic #5) acrylic and tape on wood 13"x13"x2" part of @fashionchicago #popuplounge #artevent #rosemont #popupinstallation #contemporaryart #tape #wood #contemporaryartist #jamesjankowiak #stripespotting #installationart #installation #temporary #interiordesign #juxtapose #fineart #contemporarypainting #minimalism #simplicity  (at Fashion Outlets of Chicago)

    Untitled (The Prismatic Polychromatic #5) acrylic and tape on wood 13"x13"x2" part of @fashionchicago #popuplounge #artevent #rosemont #popupinstallation #contemporaryart #tape #wood #contemporaryartist #jamesjankowiak #stripespotting #installationart #installation #temporary #interiordesign #juxtapose #fineart #contemporarypainting #minimalism #simplicity (at Fashion Outlets of Chicago)

    Untitled #6 (The Prismatic Polychromatic) tape on wood 34"x34" part of an 8 part #installation #contemporaryartist #jamesjankowiak #tape #wood #painting #notpaint #extension #minimalism #pattern #color #abstraction #diamond #square #stripes

    Untitled #6 (The Prismatic Polychromatic) tape on wood 34"x34" part of an 8 part #installation #contemporaryartist #jamesjankowiak #tape #wood #painting #notpaint #extension #minimalism #pattern #color #abstraction #diamond #square #stripes

    Untitled #6 (The Prismatic Polychromatic) tape on wood 34"x34" part of an 8 part #installation #contemporaryartist #jamesjankowiak #tape #wood #painting #notpaint #extension #minimalism #pattern #color #abstraction #diamond #square #stripes

    Field trip @mcachicago with my awesome Hancock HS painting apprentices #groupselfie #museumofcontemporaryart #chicago #chicagogram #teensmatter #afterschoolmatters @afterschoolmatters #teachingartist #contemporaryart (at Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago)

    Field trip @mcachicago with my awesome Hancock HS painting apprentices #groupselfie #museumofcontemporaryart #chicago #chicagogram #teensmatter #afterschoolmatters @afterschoolmatters #teachingartist #contemporaryart  (at Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago)

    Field trip @mcachicago with my awesome Hancock HS painting apprentices #groupselfie #museumofcontemporaryart #chicago #chicagogram #teensmatter #afterschoolmatters @afterschoolmatters #teachingartist #contemporaryart (at Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago)

    Need to recharge after this

    Need to recharge after this

    Need to recharge after this. #installation #tape #pattern #color #contemporaryartist #jamesjankowiak #sitespecific #temporary #stripes #artistsoninstagram #publicart thank you to @anna_cerniglia and @justinian_art for all the help and support (at Fashion Outlets of Chicago)

    My painting students at Hancock HS on the southwest side showing #solidarity #ifwecouldvotewewould2016 @jjmora105

    My painting students at Hancock HS on the southwest side showing #solidarity #ifwecouldvotewewould2016 @jjmora105

    My painting students at Hancock HS on the southwest side showing #solidarity #ifwecouldvotewewould2016 @jjmora105

    Tape on wood, 24"x 24" and 20"x20" #playing #studiotime #pattern #color #limits #variation #studioshot #contemporaryartist #jamesjanjowiak #contemporaryart

    Tape on wood, 24"x 24" and 20"x20" #playing #studiotime #pattern #color #limits #variation  #studioshot #contemporaryartist #jamesjanjowiak #contemporaryart

    Tape on wood, 24"x 24" and 20"x20" #playing #studiotime #pattern #color #limits #variation #studioshot #contemporaryartist #jamesjanjowiak #contemporaryart

    Much needed levity

    Much needed levity

    Much needed levity. 4th graders made flags that reflect their vision of a “perfect” country, inspired by the Propeller Group show @mcachicago #teachingartist #creationlab #mcachicago (at Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago)

    #tbt to 2001

    #tbt to 2001

    #tbt to 2001. The #chicagowhitesox commissioned me to paint a #timeline of 100 years of the people, players and moments that mattered in #whitesoxhistory. I was pretty much given total creative freedom, with this particular exception…Here’s Harry circa 1977, broadcasting from the bleachers in the old #comiskeypark. I had told Sox brass listening to Harry Caray was a major childhood memory- but Jerry Reinsdorf wanted to completely leave him out for reasons unbeknownst to me. When he was shown the actual photo I was planning on using, he instantly changed his mind. I was told through Reinsdorf’s people that he was surprised at my choice. He was afraid I would paint, paraphrasing him now-“I thought he would use one of those warm and fuzzy closeups of Caray with a big smile with his big glasses, making him look all cuddly and lovable. This is the real Harry Caray.” Anyways, true story. It only hung in the park for two years as they used it right before remodeling. It’s in their storage somewhere. Too bad he wasn’t around to witness both teams win it all. #harrycaray #whitesoxlegend #cubslegend #thingsartistsgothrough #nocompromise

    Happy for this guy

    Happy for this guy

    Happy for this guy. Happy for ALL my Cub fan friends. #cubswinworldseries #itstrue #pinchme #billmurray #chicagocubfans #worldseries #champions #cubs

    photo

    Felt like making a collage of a fresh paint sign so I did #freshpaint #cta #memories #goldenyears #collage #signage #postcard #chicagotransitauthority thanks for the material @romancab (at Vittum Park, Chicago)

    Felt like making a collage of a fresh paint sign so I did #freshpaint #cta #memories #goldenyears #collage #signage #postcard #chicagotransitauthority thanks for the material @romancab (at Vittum Park, Chicago)

    Felt like making a collage of a fresh paint sign so I did #freshpaint #cta #memories #goldenyears #collage #signage #postcard #chicagotransitauthority thanks for the material @romancab (at Vittum Park, Chicago)

    Sad day in Chicago

    Sad day in Chicago

    Sad day in Chicago. Rest in power to the one and only Herb Kent. #thecoolgent #thebigdog #frozeinhisclothes #blackradio #legend

    #newpainting Untitled as of yet, acrylic on panel, 24"x 24"

    #newpainting Untitled as of yet, acrylic on panel, 24"x 24"

    #newpainting Untitled as of yet, acrylic on panel, 24"x 24". #abstract #imaginary #landscape #mountains #contemporarypainting #contemporaryart #jamesjankowiak #hardedge #experiment (at Mana Contemporary Chicago)

    Wonder Twin Powers

    Curated by James Jankowiak    

    Foreground, "A Reading" by Adam Farcus, 9 concrete pieces of Chicago sidewalk, painted with aluminum roofing paint, arranged along the north/south axis, 2016. Middle ground: Nicole Marroquin's "The Mothership, ceramic and mixed media, 2006. Background: "Gut, Multiple a Thousandfold" found textiles, scarves, acrylic, 2016.

        As a kid growing up in the 1970s, Saturday morning cartoons were must see television. I'd go to bed early on Friday night so I could wake up at 6am and begin a 6-hour marathon of cartoons, mostly dominated by Hanna-Barbera shows. In my 7-year-old mind, nothing topped the Super Friends on ABC. Where else could you catch Wonder Woman, Superman, Aquaman, Batman and Robin all at the same time? There were also constant cameos, and new character were added regularly. The Wonder Twins (Zan and Jayna) were introduced in 1977 as teenage super heroes-in-training. Their signature move was to bump fists, proclaim "Wonder Twin Powers Activate!", and following it up with "Form of..." and they would magically shape shift into whatever they said, with Jayna transmogrifying into any animal she requested and  Zan turning into water based forms - liquid, solid or gas variations of just about anything. That catch-phrase, "Wonder Twin Powers, Activate!" triggered expectations of the magical and the fantastical, of the ability to become anything you needed to be in the face of adversity and danger, to fight back, survive, and turn back into your old self...To retain your identity. . The Super Friends were true American heroes, they always won, evil didn't have a chance.

    "Up and Downfalls" acrylic on wood, 36″ x 36″ 2016 by Adam Grossi.

    This utopian ideal is reflected by artist-yogi-author Adam Grossi in his Self Portrait for a General Audience. His physical attributes, such as his "35 year old face, his "hazel eyes" and "pale skin"give us the base information required to form a general mental image, but his other descriptors, such as "suggesting a quiet confidence" and "conveying a professional context", oblige us to idealize these attributes, to invest deeply in them - they represent who we are, not what we look like. The dominant use of text in the painting also recalls the layout of a comic page, but Adam leaves the boxes image free, allowing us to fill in the blanks with our own vision. Adam describes his work as "a decoding of the perpetual conflict between the spaciousness of ideals and the confines of cultural conventions". Self Portrait addresses this head on, literally.  Grossi's other painting in the exhibition, Up and Downfalls playfully explores our relationship to nature and our quest to control it. Much like his yoga practice, Grossi uses painting to manipulate a waterfall. Incorporating a harmonious symmetry, he has effectively frozen an all-powerful force of nature in its tracks, encouraging us to believe in the impossible.

    Detail of Nyame Brown's "Battle for the Break of Dawn, an on, an on, an on,"Guoache and ink on paper, 2005

    Since the dawn of humanity, our collective fascination with transformation has been tightly  intertwined among our obsession with "super powers." In Nyame Brown's work Battle for the Break of Dawn...it goes on, an on, an on, an on, the artist uses ancestral African totems from the spirit world in a contemporary context, both referring to Hip Hop culture in its title, and applying a stylistic technique reminiscent of DC and Marvel comics. The Battle For the Break of Dawn, taken as a phrase, not only alludes to the roots of rap music, but to a legendary battle in Yoruban mythology that takes place between the gods of light and darkness in the moment just before sunrise. Nyame discloses that he "synthesized this cosmological battle, featuring a villainous darkness aided by his alter ego "Viper", portrayed as a saber wielding warrior, possessing martial arts skills and the hardware of a transformer robot or comic book hero. I want to use the Black diaspora as a resource to offer a fresh narrative."

    "No Name to Give" by Adam Farcus. Acrylic and cockroaches on panel, 12″ x 12″ 2015

        Interdisciplinary artist Adam Farcus effectively applies actual materials as signifiers of a transformative event, specifically, impending environmental disaster. For No Name to Give, Farcus created his own paint by crushing dozens of cockroaches and mixing them in acrylic medium. Using the remains of an animal that has remained on earth virtually unchanged in 300 million years, Farcus foreshadows extinction, he urges us to revisit our own mortality and the fragility of our planet. No Name to Give also suggests a nameless victim, such as one of many in a massacre or genocidal act, suggesting man's tendencies for self-destruction.  Farcus' other work in the show, A Reading, is made of "runes", or in this case, pieces of Chicago sidewalk painted with aluminum roof paint. Farcus points out that "the roof paint is designed to reflect heat. I arranged the piece on the floor along the North/South axis, and the title deals with a "fortune reading" that points toward a warmer and crumbling future."

    Holly Holmes, "Neopli" 14″ tall, various dimensions, ceramic, 2016

        Holly Holmes ceramic sculptures and studies are an exercise in process and patience. "Stacking, layering, piling and grouping are organizational strategies that run throughout my sculpture and painting practices. Works begin as a series of modules, parts or cell structures, taking the notion of permutation and the sequencing of forms to create pieces from a single starting point, mimicking natural forms." In All Extort, its configuration appears to be a before and after image, its order may or not be dictated by which orientation it is read, left to right, or right to left.

    "The Mothership" by Nicole Marroquin. Ceramic, mixed media, approximately 22″ tall, various dimensions, 2006

    Memory, motherhood, myth, childhood and feminism play roles in Nicole Marroquin's obsessive ceramic works. "There are origin myths from Central Mexico that the first humans were formed from masa (dough) made from ground corn," she explains. "I thought a lot about origins, lineages of women, and the way that I had grown a girl inside me. When a woman is pregnant with a girl, all of the eggs she will have over her lifetime grow inside of her before she is even born. This means that my daughter grew all of her descendants inside of me before she was delivered, before I even met her!" Nicole continues: "The Mothership transmits signals and travels through time." She also delves into another type of metamorphosis, the journey between being a teenage girl to a young woman. In Those Girls, Marroquin created an "army" of what she calls "burnouts" or "bomb chicks", and she's designated a lot of these images onto small hand- made vessels to imbibe from. She elaborates, "These were some of the first rebel girls I gravitated to and emulated when I was coming out of Catholic elementary school. They were working class girls who rejected authority, but sometimes, behaved sweetly to get whatever they wanted" What about the signature hairstyles and middle fingers they all brandish? "For some of them, it was a matter of survival," Nicole tells me. "I smoked and dressed like them, but I was never able to get my hair into those heavily sprayed tubular cascades. They stayed out all night, told teachers "Fuck You" and went to head-banger shows. I admired the shit out of them."

    Left: "Sunday" by Victoria Martinez, approximately 24″x15″, textile on custom frame, 2016.  Right: Nicole Marroquin, "Those Girls", ceramic and commercial glaze vessels, 2016, various sizes, approximately 4″ x 3″

    Victoria Martinez is referred to by many as a textile artist, but I've always looked at her works  the same way I look at painting. She is known for including flourishes of gestural paint strokes applied to the surfaces of her works, blurring the lines between the materiality of her media, effectively reframing the act of painting within the arena of sewing and collaging textiles and other found objects. Martinez also merges her vision with her memories of the places she travels to, and often blends themes of identity into the mix. Her smaller work Sunday, is the direct result of a recent trip she made to Teotihuacan, Mexico.  "I wanted a spiritual experience, so I went to the pyramids. As I climbed them, I studied the ruins and the natural geometric shapes of the Mexican landscape. It was a beautiful experience for me as an artist because I had time to reflect while standing on top of a pyramid under the sun. Sunday relates to a personal transformation, one rooted in a recreation of a memory from my experience at Teoihuacan. The frame itself is inspired by the geometry she encountered during her visit." In Gut, Multiple a Thousandfold,, Martinez gives handed down materials a reincarnation of sorts, intuitively mixing them in with textiles she finds in her travels. "I hand stitched fiber that I purchased at market places in Mexico City, even the tarps resemble the materials used within the marketplace community."

        When I began the process of curating this exhibition, it felt like I was stitching too. Transformation is the common theme of the exhibition, but I looked at other aspects of these artist's lives that connected them to each other. These artists devote a facet of their artistic practice to teaching. They represent the best of Chicago, a historically maligned town, regularly brought down by outsiders who love to exploit our bloody past and troubled present. These artists are actively bringing people together, diffusing tensions, and planting seeds of positivity. When they bump fists, it's usually in a classroom. And it typically results in taking the form of a maker.  

    Tonight, 1350 West Erie, 5

    Tonight, 1350 West Erie, 5

    Tonight, 1350 West Erie, 5:30-9:00pm. @vikstir @nmarroq #wondertwinpowersactivate #groupshow #curated by #jamesjankowiak shown here #victoriamartinez #nicolemarroquin (at The West Wall at mmg)

    Tomorrow, October 7th, 1350 West Erie, 5

    Tomorrow, October 7th, 1350 West Erie, 5

    Tomorrow, October 7th, 1350 West Erie, 5:30-9:00pm. Refreshments will be served!