Today was the last day of the Tony Fitzpatrick exhibition at the Chicago Cultural Center. Earlier last week I stopped by to see Tony’s work in person for the first time. To be honest, I was probably more familiar with Tony from his brief stint as radio talk show host here in Chicago than his work as an artist. I remember winning a double live CD of the Police on his show as he invited listeners to give him the best reason why we should win the CD. I described the time I purchased a bootleg version of this concert and that someone must have sneezed on the vinyl because I heard a “pop” on a couple different songs every time I played it. My tale of woe gave Tony a brief laugh and I won the CD. I digress.
I knew Tony’s art had won him critical acclaim and that his artwork has graced the last few Steve Earle album covers. For some reason, though, his work never connected with me. Until last week. The exhibition is a tribute to Chicago, the city he grew up in. As a lifelong Chicagoan, myself, I felt connected and blown away by his work. Especially the piece that features Joe Crede. Fitzpatrick really hit the ball out of the park (pun intended) in the work and I flashed back to Crede's emergance as a star in the 2005 World Series run. In seeing Fitzpatrick's work in person, I was able to really see the 3D elements of his mixed media work - and I was amazed. I walked out of the exhibition with a new perspective and a giddy feeling of really seeing and understanding something for the first time.
Like all works of art that resonates with me, I feel motivated and inspired to create my own artistic statements. I think all good art has the ability to challenge and inspire us to express ourselves creatively. Thanks, Tony for the inspirational kick in the butt!