LIBERTYVILLE – Local Libertyville artist John Kirkpatrick Jr. always knew that art would play a big part in his life.
But it wasn’t until the end of his 20s that he realized he wanted to fully pursue a career as a painter.
“I wanted to be happier. … I wanted to enjoy my work at the end of the day, “Kirkpatrick said, explaining why he had moved away from his corporate job at the time.
Kirkpatrick has been exploring and creating art since he was a kid and, like many young artists, he began by drawing his favorite cartoon characters and sports characters from newspapers and television.
Born and raised in Mundelein, Kirkpatrick distinguished himself in his school art courses and earned a full scholarship to study painting at Northeastern Illinois University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in 1999.
Kirkpatrick said that without the constant support and positive reinforcement of his teachers, mentors, family and friends he probably wouldn’t have made the leap to pursue a professional career as an artist.
Kirkpatrick presents his figurative subjects through a strong use of bold color palettes, thick brushstrokes, intense textures and vibrant tones. He tries to create visual and emotional stories in the human face and body. His favorite medium is acrylic painting applied to large canvases, which allows him to work quickly and without fear, creating widely expressive moods through fresh and spontaneous creativity.
Kirkpatrick prefers figurative works as he is attracted by the diversity of facial features and expressions, body language and postures, moods and feelings.
“In my paintings, the emotion and the response of the viewer are everything. With my abstract expressionist style, I use texture, heavy lines and color to convey this. I hope that when the viewer looks at my work, he will feel what the subject is feeling and experiencing, “said Kirkpatrick.
Kirkpatrick said the most rewarding part of being an artist over the past 25 years is the ability to express oneself freely. The main idea he hopes to accomplish with his paintings of him is to show that there is more beneath the surface than what meets the eye.
Kirkpatrick has exhibited his paintings in galleries in Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin. He has sold original paintings to collectors throughout the United States. In addition to his popular work with faces and the human body, Kirkpatrick creates highly collectible paintings featuring vivid images of animals, cityscapes, fashion, flowers and everyday objects.
Kirkpatrick is represented by the Blue Moon Gallery in Grayslake, 18620 Belvidere Road, where he exhibits his paintings in monthly exhibitions. The gallery is open to the public on weekends from 1pm to 4pm and during the Artists’ Receptions on the fourth Saturday of each month from 6pm to 9pm
The artist’s next reception is June 25 and will feature live music. Patrons can meet Kirkpatrick and other artists represented by the gallery. Kirkpatrick’s work can also be viewed at thebluemoongallery.com.