Tony : Fitzpatrick : Studio Visit and Hobo Series

"The Town with No Mercy" and "Oh, Canaan Land" from
the Hobo Series by Tony Fitzpatrick

Recently, I returned home from a weekend trip to Chicago and Cleveland. While in Chicago, I visited the iconic American artist, Tony Fitzpatrick at his Big Cat Press studio and art gallery. Tony is a great ambassador for the arts and actively mentors young creative minds on a daily basis. Tony encourages "knowledge-hungry" youth to thoroughly understand process, display consistent integrity and practice, practice, practice. Chaotic at times, the studio is buzzing with collectors, press, street folk and great friends.

Tony’s current artistic focus, amongst many, is completing a series of paintings celebrating the American folk tradition of the “Hobo.” Tony is orchestrating this large body of work entitled, “The Hobo’s Broken Rosary,” which features hobo symbology, alphabets, visual storytelling and passionate display.

"The Orange Beast" and "The Night Table (Safe Camp)"

Tony’s latest poetry and painting assemblages are a homage to those displaced as a result of war, economic crisis, mental anguish, ethnicity and “forever” soul searching. Tony points out in this diverse body of work, that the "Hobo Movement" erupted as a result of the Civil War, the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl and the American Homeless population of today.

Tony is a vivid storyteller and visual sociologist who honors tradition while celebrating those who came before him. Tony celebrates the ghosts of his past with found printed matter from the ages, working in concert with his collage and painting techniques. Tony’s paintings are true compositions, as they embody his love for iconic symbolism, typography, dimensional assembly and the literary guidance of prose.

Tony is a man with no formal art training; highly in tune with the body language of the streets; and who possesses a critical eye for talent. He sees the potential in those who consistently try and is happy to guide those willing to learn through immediate action. Tony delivers an old world charm, as his collectors who stop by, and while in the studio he delivers straight-up advice. And, “Yes!” Tony puts a twist of Irish bullshit in his conversations to keep you on your toes.

While hanging around Tony’s studio for two days and planning a fine art book that will archive “This Train,” I am happy to report that there will be a great amount of descriptive text that will help relay Tony’s storytelling. Each "hobo" painting features poetic verse, typically 30 words or less, icons, the hobo alphabet and symbology.

My visit was inspired, as I painted, photographed, listened and reflected on my experience. It was an honor to witness Tony in action. Many props for the artistic support he offers to the Chicago community.

There is no doubt that Tony Fitzpatrick is an iconic artist who has consistently captured storytelling on a multitude of levels. Tony’s “Hobo Series” is a collection of images that convey a deep appreciation for Americana. This painting collection is Tony’s road map that leads you among the souls of great friends, seekers for the non-obvious, carpet baggers of dreams and the “Boxcar” wanderers looking to release their spirit onto the world.

"The Gray Angel" completed 05.11.09

“The Hobo’s Broken Rosary” by Tony Fitzpatrick featuring a new collection of fine art works, writings, poems and the Hobo alphabet.

"The Devil's Scarecrow"

Thank you Tony for the hospitality and great opportunity. You can see more of Tony's work by visiting his website and blog.

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