Work of the Week – June 25, 2014

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Tony Fitzpatrick · My Snake Bit Heart, 1993, Intaglio with Chine Colle, 10.75 x 8.5 inches

By Michelle Alwine

Tony Fitzpatrick (1958-  ) was born in Chicago and graduated from Montini Catholic High School in Lombard, Illinois in 1977. Along with publishing several books of his art and poetry, Fitzpatrick is known for his early-career multicolored drawings with colored pencil on slate. He first began these drawings at a gallery in Chicago called The Edge in the 1980s. Later, he would work towards printmaking, and eventually shift to his current focus of drawing and collage mixed media.

Fitzpatrick’s recent drawings and collages often have a mixture of reoccurring images such as sports symbols, playing cards, matchbooks and occasional poetic narrative text. The use of sports symbols in his work branches from his love of the team the Chicago White Sox. He also gains inspiration from the “underbelly of society,” as well as the city of Chicago in general.

In 1992, Fitzpatrick opened Big Cat Press, a printmaking studio. His works have appeared in many public collections including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Art Institute in Chicago and the Contemporary Museum of Art in Miami. He has done cover art for many albums including Yellow Moon by the Neville Brothers, Big Cat by Lou Reed and several albums for The Captain Howdy and Steve Earle.

In this piece by Fitzpatrick, the viewer can notice several components that help identify him as the artist. In the background of My Snake Bit Heart, there are playing cards, matches and match books which are seen in many of his pieces. In addition to those characteristics, there are several images that hint towards the “underbelly of society” including a skull, goblin character, and some cob webs. This piece also reflects Fitzpatrick’s early use of colored pencil in his artwork.