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Thought-Provokers: South Side

Chicago has always had an artistic soul. The culture and heritage of our city, like most great cities, owes a tremendous debt to the arts community. Supporting local art is something we care deeply about and we’d like to do everything we can to help the local arts community thrive. Unfortunately, too often media attention is monopolized by corporate interests and tabloid gossip – but culture doesn’t come from a focus on celebrity breakups it comes from a focus on the arts.

Below, you’ll find some incredible artists from in and around the South Side that we hope you will check out, follow and support.

Dewayne Perkins

My story starts with me being a little black boy with a speech impediment growing up on the south side of Chicago. I attended Hearst Elementary school, and then Curie High School. I excelled in school because I was told my entire life that because of my skin I will always have to work twice as hard to get anything I wanted. Read more>>

Marrissa Coccaro

I have always been drawn to storytelling. I auditioned for my first play when I was 11 and never looked back. I directed my first one-act play when I was 16, Words Words Words by David Ives. I realized then how naturally directing came to me. Read more>>

Eve Sanford

I found a love of photography in high school after watching the movie Love Jones and my father purchasing a coffee table book of works by James Van Der Zee. I borrowed my father’s 35mm and began teaching myself photography. Read more>>

Ben Swygart

Growing up my mom was very creative in all that she did, so creating was just party of my life from the start. It wasn’t until high school that I even really knew it was a thing to pursue and develop. Read more>>

Tom Jones

I really got into photography about 3 years ago. Being a graphic artist now for over 25 years, it really does go hand in hand. I’ve always needed a creative outlet of some point, and photography has really filled that need for me. Read more>>

Agron Karameti

Moving to New York City after college was vital for me. It opened my eyes to great writers, actors, director, and sensational artists. I was always taking my work to different readings and open mics. Challenging myself every day and constantly surrounding myself with august talent. Read more>>

Alex Stanilla

I’ve done a good amount of songwriting in that time and have recently returned to Pennsylvania to record my ideas and release music. In the midst of recording I went on my first 2-week tour through the Midwest. I’m currently finishing a 12 song album that I’m considering my first proper full length. Read more>>

Robert Young

I wanted to go to art school after high school, but I was a terrible student. My 10th grade art teacher told me I’d never get into the local art school and that I should do something else. So after high school I worked odd jobs for a few years in factories and food service and retail; all of which I hated. Read more>>

Phil Strang

Besides being co-owner of a record store for 33 years I also played in two bands, wrote a book of poetry, wrote dozens of articles for two alternative papers and acted in over 55 theatrical productions between 1980-2003. I also managed to raise two kids as a single dad. Read more>>

Ralph Roether

As a professional graphic designer for so many years, I often infuse my graphic design sensibilities into my artwork and illustrations. I prefer painting on various types of wood instead of the traditional canvas. My style ranges from semi-realistic portraits with typography to cartoon, doodle, graffiti-esque creations. Read more>>

Harvey Pullings

I was born and raised on the Southside of Chicago, within the neighborhoods of both Chatham and Princeton Parks. I was fortunate enough to see both the inner city of Chicago (Chatham) and a suburban like lifestyle (Princeton), which came with a variety of difference in city living. Read more>>

Josh Roach

I am a maker originally from Winnipeg, Canada and currently residing in Bloomington-Normal, Illinois where I am enrolled in the MFA program at Illinois State University (with a prospective graduation date of May 2019). Read more>>

Larry Webb

Throughout the years, I can think of moments where I was behind a camera that led me to where I am today. Towards the end of middle school, and a majority of high school, I was in the audio/video ministry at the church my family and I attended. Read more>>

Jacob Boehne

Here I am, making paintings that I like that follow the rules and expectations of myself. This is why I refer to my most recent work as Outsider Iconography. I’ve always been attracted to art that is loose and whimsical in content and technique. Read more>>

AUGHTY Venable

Aughty is an international award winner whose love of photography goes back to his youthful wanderings around the countryside of southern Illinois. a sensitive youth, he has grown to a mature perception of life around him which is evident in his works. Read more>>

Kelli May-Krenz

“Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve always loved to create, draw, paint and stitch, and I knew I would be a graphic designer. Since graduating from Iowa State University with a degree in Fine Art and Graphic Design, I’ve lived and worked in Dallas, Minneapolis and Siesta Key, Florida, with clients from all over the world. Read more>>

Chai Tulani

By that time I had decided to become a full time musical artist. I got blessings from my parents and debuted as a solo artist on my 20th birthday with a mixtape release party in April 0f 2014. Since then I’ve opened up for artists like. Read more>>

Najee-Zaid Searcy

After several years as a makeup-artist for luxury retailers and cosmetic brands, I decided to claim my artistry and go independent. I began to work makeup in the film industry, became an arts educator and facilitator, musician, and returned to school for audio engineering. Read more>>

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