March AOM Head ShotHow 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 have been an artist for a long time. It’s always been personal to me. I didn’t start selling my work until last year. When I started to paint, the response I got was positive, and people started asking, “How much?” That was a question I never asked myself. But I have never created anything with profit in mind. The passion for me is the freedom I have when I create. It’s always been about freedom.

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

Chicago. Walking its streets offers poetry. I was amazed my first time in that city. I am from Rockford, which has a good art scene, but Chicago is a living canvas. The people, colors, language and movement imprinted on me. The state has history. It’s produced leaders and musical geniuses. I gather pieces of what I learn and try to apply it to my work.

What opportunities does Illinois present to local Illinois artists?March AOM Pic 4

The opportunity for an artist is only limited by what can be produced I think. The more I learn and better my skills, not just in paint but in other aspects of art, more opportunities become available. I was not expecting the doors to open the way they did, but I am very grateful.

What do you like about Illinois?

Illinois will always be home, although I could probably do without so much snow. If we could somehow blow some of it towards Wisconsin, that’d be great.

What is your favorite medium to work in?

I’m not sure yet. I have yet to crave something. So far, acrylic painting is what I prefer.

March AOM Pic 1Where can people view or purchase your work?


I have a website at www.mcneelyshaumar.com, or you can always follow me on Facebook.

What artist inspires you and why?


My father is an artist. He has always made me challenge myself. He can do it all too, which makes me want to see how far I can take myself.

PrattWoodworks12 17 1133How 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 built my first piece of furniture when I was 10, but it wasn’t until 2013 that I opened my woodworking business. There isn’t one single moment that made me realize woodworking was my passion, but as I was building all of the furniture for my first apartment, I realized building and creating were something I’d always wanted to do. 

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

One thing about building furniture in Illinois is that there is a lot of great hardwood to choose from. Many woodworkers choose to import exotic wood, but IllinoisIMG 0041 has so many beautiful options that I like to use what’s in my own backyard (not literally). I’ve been able to work with several great local woodcutters to supply the resources I use for my pieces. 

What opportunities does Illinois present to local artists?

The maker’s movement has really taken off in the past few years it seems, and there are lots of great artisan markets that give artists a chance to get their work out there. It seems people in Illinois have really bought into the concept of buying local and supporting the economy right here at home. 

What do you like about Illinois?

Illinois has always been home to me. I grew up on a pig farm in rural Illinois, spent my undergrad years at IMG 4737the University of Illinois, and am now enjoying life in the capital. No matter where I’ve gone, I’ve always felt at home. 

What is your favorite medium to work in? 

I mostly build with hard wood. I’d have to say walnut is my favorite species—I love the color and grain. I try to avoid painting or staining wood when I can, because to me, clear finished natural wood is so beautiful on its own. And, I love collaborating with other artists to incorporate steel into some of my bigger pieces. 

Where can people view or purchase your work?

People can check out my work on Prattwoodworks.com. There are smaller, ready-made items like cutting boards and butcher blocks available for immediate purchase,IMG 3601 and my custom furniture portfolio is also available. If they’re coming through Springfield, they can feel free to stop by the shop located at 1315 Ottis St. Springfield, IL, 62703.

What artist inspires you and why?

I love the ability to follow the woodworking community through social platforms like Instagram. It’s amazing to see the different designs people come up with. Greg Klassen is one of my favorites. I love the look of his live slabs and how he combines wood, steel, and glass. 

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.

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