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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.

isa Kesler

My paintings continue to be chosen for commercial and public environments like hotels, medical facilities, and office buildings. My prints, however, are usually purchased by individuals for their homes or to give as gifts. I also enjoy working on custom commissioned paintings and prints for my clients, which makes up a significant portion of my business. Read more>>

Shan Richards

For as long as I can remember I’ve been an artist. I didn’t quite know what an ‘artist’ was, just that I always had the desire to draw, paint, and be creative in one way or another. My mother was an amazing artist, before she devoted her life to me and my four siblings. Read more>>

Janet Duszak

I love and want to be the photographer to capture the entire story, from the proposal, to the engagement, to the wedding. After assisting one of the most amazing wedding photographers in the industry, and then shooting my own this past year, I found that my focus and passion is with couples on their wedding day. Read more>>

Charlie Hester

I’ve been a performer of sorts my whole life. I can’t remember a day when there wasn’t music or theatre in my soul. In my mid-thirties, I began working for a YouTube show called “Explosion Bus” with Tom Snyder and Jonathan Katz, and everyone I associated with on that project was a standup comic. Read more>>

Brooke Naumcheff

When I was 14-17 years old in high school, I struggled extremely with depression and an eating disorder. I would spend most of my school days crying in the bathroom, if I even worked up the courage to attend school that day. I was absolutely broken and hopeless. Read more>>

Jillian Kennedy

The first time I ever remember being singled out for something I had drawn was in 2nd grade. My homeroom teacher, Mrs. Mraz, gave me and the rest of her students photo-realistic objects cut perfectly in half. The assignment was, to the best of our abilities, draw the other half of the object we received. Read more>>

Macky G

Music is my first love though, music bring me into doing photography. I have always been into cameras since high school and also took classes there & college. 2014 I was signed to an Indy label for music called D1|CMG and it opened so many more doors for me. Read more>>

justin teilhet

My mother was a painter, growing up I was surrounded by art. I began working in clay at a young age. Ceramics followed me through school and my short career as a graphic designer, finally materializing full-time in the small garage studio. Read more>>

Carol Carter

This love of creativity lead me to a degree in college through art and painting. I then future refined my skills and understanding with a Masters of Fine Arts from Washington University, St. Louis, MO. Read more>>

Rachel Brisbois

I have been painting and studying art seriously for over 15 years. I didn’t see my potential in drawing and painting until about eighth grade. My teacher encouraged me. She saw something in my artwork that I couldn’t see myself. I believe her encouragement made me realize my potential. Read more>>

E. K. Anna (EKAH) Hennequet

My professional and personal life took a long-winded road. I studied graphic design at Parsons School of Design in New York City and later worked in advertising, broadcast animation, and video games. Because my background is primarily in commercial art. Read more>>

Lyzz Lundberg

I have always had a knack for working with my hands, particularly when it comes to image making. After several years working in the restaurant industry, primarily as a kitchen manager and chef– just as I was starting to find some modest success in my cooking career– Read more>>

Cindy Bernhard

My childhood was filled with memories of helping my mom bake an exorbitant amount of desserts, with or without the excuse of a holiday or celebration. It was my job to decorate all the baked goods that she carefully and lovingly crafted. Read more>>

Jennifer Johns and Jason Hughes

Together we’ve also created a vast amount of humorous self-portraiture over the past 5 years throughout the country such as a romance novel cover, floating heads mimicking 80s portraiture, and other costumed creations. Read more>>

Mark Gurgone

In my life, I was really never fully interested in photography in taking pictures; I preferred to look at them. However, after getting a bit older, and meeting an old friend of mine, photography became a hobby and three years later to now, a passion/future lifework. Read more>>

Abiola Are

I have been have a fan of music my entire life. Growing up in Chicago, I was always attracted to visuals and things that were visually appealing in music videos and films. I would go to the movie theaters two or three times a week to stay up to date on the latest movies, directors, and new concepts. Read more>>

Dorian Sylvain

Chicago-born artist Dorian Sylvain is a graduate of San Francisco State University and the American Academy of Art, Chicago. Her practice spans the disciplines of studio and mural painting, theatrical scenic design, decorative arts, educational activism and exhibition curation. Read more>>

Stephanie Renner

I formed an LLC and began my business about three years ago. Now, I do freelance design and screenprinting for bands, companies, and individuals. I also have my own clothing line and brand called Myth, Maker. Read more>>


With no majors and no grades, SAIC’s freerange, interdisciplinary program allowed me to dive into sculpture, installation, fashion, photo/video, and especially performance art (the glue to my multi-disciplinary practice at the time). Read more>>

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