2016 04 09 09.32.39Charlie Martin is an artist from Quincy. He creates a variety of pieces by mixing mediums, including ink drawings and paintings. Martin is also a children’s book illustrator.

How long have you been an artist or when did you start? Was there a single incident or moment when you realized this was your passion and if so, tell us about it?

I’ve been drawing since I was a little boy, and my family considered me2015-12-01 14.25.40.jpg to be an artist even then. My first job as an artist, however, was when I was 21 years old. I was a graphic designer. Since that time, my craft has changed and continues to evolve. I began painting in my forties. I believe that you become an artist when you decide to be one.

I can’t define or articulate a single moment when I realized the deep relationship I had with art. I know art to be an essential part of my existence just because I always find my way back to art and the magic of creating something new.CameraZOOM 20141224092410013 I have many interests, but it always cycles back to art.

Illinois has been factored into your work in the past. What does being able to live and work in Illinois mean to you?

Illinois has many flourishing art programs and communities. This state has given me some incredible opportunities to grow my craft.

What opportunities does Illinois present to local Illinois artists?

Each community in Illinois is different.2016-01-18 06.28.57.jpg Opportunities are available for all types of artists throughout the state. There is so much art married into our history.

What do you like about Illinois?

I really appreciate its history. The stories of courage are impressive. Midwesterners are a hearty lot for sure. 

What is your favorite medium to work in?

I like mixed medium, but if I had to choose a favorite, it would be pen and ink.

Eden and Her Joy coverWhere can people view or purchase your work?

Artists and collectors may view my work on Facebook (Charlie Martian) or on Instagram (sketchbot).

What artist inspires you and why?

Tony DiTerlizzi inspired me to delve into illustration. He is part of the reason I decided to start illustrating children’s books. I also am inspired by Norman Rockwell and Alphonse Mucha.

fossils programThe Illinois State Museum is hosting a Kid’s Day on Saturday, January 6 from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. in Lewistown at the Dickson Mounds Museum (10956 N. Dickson Mounds Rd., Lewistown, Illinois 62542).

This event is a fun opportunity for kids to learn about the variety of rocks, minerals and fossils by viewing different collections from area experts and local clubs. Children will be able to view specimens from the Illinois State Museum collection.

Children must be 5 years and older and be accompanied by an adult. Registration is not required and it is free for kids to learn and participate with experts in this field. Although this program is free, donations to the museum are appreciated.

There will also be other hands-on activities for children to participate in as well as crafts to take home.

Kid’s Day is guaranteed to be a fun experience for the entire family. For more information and directions, click here. You can also get updates and notifications about Kid’s Day from our Facebook event.

Clark Half Bun PaintingTyler Clark is a Chicago artist who creates acrylic paintings and often makes her pieces more multidimensional with textiles, hair and jewelry.

How long have you been an artist? Was there a single moment when you realized this was your passion? 

I have loved art my whole life. College is when I realized it was something I wanted to take more seriously. I studied math and mechanical engineering at Spelman College andClark Bun Painting Georgia Tech. They were difficult programs. Art was my stress reliever. I realized it was therapeutic for me, so I started painting more. When friends came to visit they would fall in love with my art. That’s when I realized I could make a business out of it.

Illinois has been incorporated into your work in the past. What does being able to live and work in Illinois mean to you?   

Clark Piano Man PaintingI love living in Chicago. It is such a beautiful city with so many things to do. One of my favorite things to do is go for a run along the lakefront and see the beautiful skyline, which I love to paint. Illinois is home for me, so I also appreciate my support system here. My family and friends really make it easier for me to push myself as an artist. I am also involved in the art social scene.

What opportunities does Illinois present for local Illinois artists? 

I am a visual performing artist, so I paint live, showcase and sell my art. I do a lot of amazing art events with Paradigm Creative Group. I encourage people to attend one sometime. I also started my own scholarship this year through Saint Mark United Methodist Church. It is very important for me to give back. Clark Obamas Painting

What is your favorite medium to work in?

I use acrylic paint on canvas, and I often include multidimensional elements such as hair, fabric and jewelry.

Where can people view or purchase your work?

People can follow my work on Instagram by clicking here. You can also subscribe to my website and purchase my art at www.inspirebytyler.com.

What artist inspires you and why?Clark Blonde Bun Painting

I am inspired by all artists who have similar styles to me. I love the Chicago artists I paint alongside at different events and artists I follow on social media. I also admire the late Annie Lee who was famous for her work, especially in the black community. Many people tell me that my art reminds them of her work.

Also, Katrina Jackson inspires me. We grew up together in the same neighborhood. She is a painter and tattoo artist who was featured on a VH1 show called ‘Black Ink Crew Chicago.’ She is living out her dreams, and I admire her for that. I recently presented Katrina with a painting of her at an event in Chicago. It was a special moment for me.

Monument to the Great MigrationDesigned by Alison Saar, Monument to the Great Migration celebrates the thousands of African Americans who journeyed to Chicago in search of freedom and opportunity during the early 20th century. The statue is located at 2600 S. Martin Luther King Dr.

The great migration is one of the most profound and celebrated cultural movements in modern history. The statue depicts a traveler waving his hand to symbolically greet his new home, while he carries a worn suitcase in his other hand to represent his journey. The statue is oriented toward the north to symbolize his destination.

In 1927, the State of Illinois erected a memorial to celebrate black veterans of World War I after a lengthy campaign led by the Chicago Defender. Victory Monument, found at 3500 S. King Dr., is a towering granite column with designs by renowned French sculptor, Leonard Crunelle.Victory Monument

On three sides of the pillar, heroic bronze figures symbolizing the tragedy and glory of war are depicted. The fourth panel is inscribed with the names of 137 fallen soldiers of the Eighth Regiment of the Illinois National Guard. A bronze figure stands tall and strong at the top of the column.

Both monuments are located in one of Chicago’s most celebrated Southside neighborhoods—Bronzeville.

Nov AOM Darby Head ShotDarby Ortolano is an artist in Murphysboro. She’s been creating art for nearly 50 years. Ortolano works mainly with clay, creating functional pottery and wall pieces.

How long have you been an artist or when did you start? Was there a single incident or moment when you realized this was your passion and if so, tell us about it?     

I started in 1970!  That was a long time ago, and I was a young single mother living and working in New York City. For the next 20 years, I took many ceramic classes and shared a group studio and store in the East Village. Essentially, I never stopped working at my art, even as I pursued a career in human resources. In 1990, I left New York to attend the Kansas City Art Institute nov aom vases1(KCAI). I was on my way to some serious work and study.  

Illinois has been factored into your work in the past. What does being able to live and work in Illinois mean to you?    

I came to Illinois to attend the Master of Fine Arts program in Ceramics at Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIUC). After two years at KCAI, I knew I would never give up my work in clay. The program here was known for its focus on “functional pottery,” and I spent three glorious years working as hard as I’ve ever worked. When I graduated, I was invited to stay as a visiting instructor in the ceramics program at SIUC for two years. Teaching and living in Illinois prepared me to stay in the area. Within a short time, I was hired by John A. Logan Community College. I spent the next 12 years teaching full-time in their art program.

nov aom red kettleWhat opportunities does Illinois present to local Illinois artists? 

I live in a rural part of Illinois, and the opportunities to show are limited. There is a venue connected to the Carbondale Community Art program (which is partly funded by the Illinois Arts Council), a scattering of galleries, an outdoor fine art fair and SIUC still has holiday craft fairs. We miss the Illinois State Museum facility at Rend Lake, which was a wonderful venue for Illinois artists. The SIUC University Museum has been closed for a year but is now projected to reopen next year.

The opportunity to be connected to other artists is a reason many artists stay here. Also, the cost of living is definitely lower than any big city, and this area is beautiful. We are only two hours away from St. Louis, four hours from Memphis and Louisville, and five hours from Chicago.   

What do you like about Illinois?

Aside from the family and friends I have here, I would have to say that rural Southern Illinois is astonishingly beautiful. Gone are the flat plains of the Illinois heartland; here you run into the hills, valleys and cliffs of the Shawnee National Forest. There are gorgeous lakes for boating and fishing; vibrant grape growing and winemaking businesses with award-winning wines; and hiking, canoeing, horseback riding and biking are all easily accessible. In response to this natural beauty, there is a growing tourism business with multitudes of secluded cabins for rent for those who wish to experience the activities and landscape of the area. Giant City State Park is unique and beautifully maintained. Our local towns – Carbondale, Murphysboro, Cobden, Alto Pass, and Anna to name just a few –  offer areas of charm and culture. And Southern Illinois University Carbondale offers venues, award-winning plays, musicals, concerts and well-known lecturers. Because of the influence of the foreign-born professionals and students, we also have a diverse population and excellent restaurants offering a variety of cuisines. My hometown of MurphysboroNov AOM Circle Flowers is also the Barbeque Capital of Illinois!  

What is your favorite medium to work in?

I work in clay, and at various times that has included porcelain, stoneware and earthenware. I now work mainly in mid-range white stoneware. I also use a variety of glazes, and throughout my career have used other types of clay surfaces. I primarily make functional ware, and I enjoy playing around with forms and combination of forms to enhance the experience of using functional pottery. Most recently, however, I’ve been inspired to create intricate wall sculptures, which has been most satisfying!

Where can people view or purchase your work?

I have work at the Anthill Gallery in Cobden and the Carbondale Community Arts shop304 showcase. You can click here to see my work on Facebook. I will soon be selling online, which I will announce on my Facebook page. You can also click here to see my work on the Oak Street Art Group’s website. The Oak Street Art Group is made up of five artists, all who live and work in the Murphysboro area. We sponsor an Oak Street Fine Nov AOM Blooming VaseArts Fair in the spring, have group shows and promote local artists in our community. I am also a member of the Shawnee Hills Pottery Tour, an annual tour of ceramic artist studios in Southern Illinois. You can read more about that here.  

What artist inspires you and why?

I would have to say that I am inspired by the history of ceramic art, primarily Asian. I was trained as a functional potter, which includes paying attention to proportion, balance, form, surface treatment and use. Those attributes were at their height in historical Japanese, Chinese and Korean pottery. I have taken those standards and infused them with my own aesthetic interests, which primarily center on forms from the natural world. Early on, I decorated my pots with colorful abstractions of natural forms. More recently, the functional work can be either simply covered with a soft white glaze, or by a colorful bright glaze. The forms themselves relate to nature’s forms. I let my work speak for itself. My recent sculptural work is directly inspired by the natural world and my interpretation of it. 

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