On September 8, two radiant 8 x 10 foot murals by Chicago-based artist, Tony Fitzpatrick, were unveiled in the heart of Glen Ellyn at 427 N. Main Street. The murals are displayed near the new pedway, completed this past spring, which connects pedestrians to downtown businesses, parking and the Metra station.
The murals depict birds native to the area: a woodpecker and a cardinal. Composed of acrylic paint on aluminum board, the visually collaged background features imagery distinctive to pop culture influences in Fitzpatrick's work. In creating the murals, Fitzpatrick was assisted by his studio partner and protégé, Danny Torres, and Sam Decarlo who, like Fitzpatrick, is a former College of DuPage student.
“I was honored to be have the opportunity to create this work for Glen Ellyn,” says Fitzpatrick. “It’s one of my core beliefs that art is best made via cultural and community efforts and this project is a perfect opportunity to show that in action.”
The Fitzpatrick murals are part of the DuPage Public Arts Project. The College of DuPage (COD), through the McAninch Arts Center (MAC), created the DuPage Public Arts Project in October 2020, with the goal of initiating public art events and art installations throughout their 38 partner communities. The partnership with Glen Ellyn is the inaugural kick-off to the Project, where COD will work with the Village for a two-year period to establish a public arts committee. The Project, currently funded by the Village of Glen Ellyn and College of DuPage, is tasked with the creation of two public art installations and one community arts engagement effort.
The mural was sponsored by College of DuPage, the Village of Glen Ellyn and the Glen Ellyn Fund. The Glen Ellyn Fund awarded a grant, applied for by the Village's Environmental Commission, to support public art in Glen Ellyn.
“Public art is more than just pictures on the side of a building. Public Art is a catalyst for economic development and has the power to draw people to our community,” observed Glen Ellyn President Mark Senak. “Art provokes our emotions, activates our minds and widens our consciousness. People gravitate to public art, like the Bean in Millennium Park. These murals are a great start. I want to thank our friends at College of DuPage for raising awareness of the virtues of public art and look forward to working with them on making public art part of the Glen Ellyn brand.” The mural was sponsored by, College of DuPage, the Village of Glen Ellyn, and by the Glen Ellyn Environmental Committee who was awarded a grant from the DuPage Foundation, whose generous award contributed to the installation.
About the Artist
Tony Fitzpatrick is a Chicago-based artist best known for his multimedia collages, printmaking, paintings, and drawings. Fitzpatrick's work is inspired by Chicago Street culture, cities he has traveled to, children's books, tattoo designs, and folk art. Fitzpatrick has authored or illustrated eight books of art and poetry, and, for the last two years has written a column for Newcity. Fitzpatrick's art appears in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, and the National Museum of American Art in Washington, DC. The Neville Brothers' album “Yellow Moon” and the Steve Earle albums “El Corazon” and “The Revolution Starts Now” also feature Fitzpatrick's art. In 2015, Fitzpatrick opened The Dime, an exhibition space in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood. Before making a living as an artist, Fitzpatrick worked as a radio host, bartender, boxer, construction worker, and film and stage actor.
Fitzpatrick’s final museum exhibition will be Tony Fitzpatrick: Jesus of Western Avenue at the Cleve Carney Museum of Art, 425 Fawell Blvd. on the campus of College of DuPage, Oct. 16, 2021 through Jan. 31, 2022. More information can be found at TheCCMA.org