Each year the cover of Capital City Visitor, published by Illinois Times, features a portrait of Abraham Lincoln by a central Illinois artist. In 2017, for the second year in a row, we decided to hold a contest as a way of finding the best, freshest Abe possible, while offering exposure to local talent. This year’s first place winner was Estefania Loret de Mola but, as in 2016, there were many brilliant entries which deserve to be seen. To that end, IT will host a reception for an ongoing exhibit featuring some of the very best entries we received. The event is on Thursday, April 6, from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. at the Springfield Art Association’s H.D. Smith Gallery, located inside the Hoogland Center for the Arts 420 S. Sixth St.
Two-time Capital City Visitor cover artist Felicia Olin says that her work “plays with ideas of the imagination, pulling in whimsical pop surrealism with a touch of darkness.” She has lived in Springfield for most of her life, is a member artist of the Pharmacy Gallery and Art Space, is married to fellow Pharmacy artist Jim Edgecomb and has been employed in Jeffrey Alan’s frame shop for the last 17 years.
Katherine Pippin Pauley says that although she has been an artist all her life, she was unable to produce art for sale until the past few years. “As a teacher I used my creativity in the classroom with lesson plans and bulletin boards,” she said in an artist statement at http://gallery.artstudiosonline.com/. Making costumes, painting sets and building props for productions by the Springfield Theatre Centre and the Muni also provided a creative outlet. She later created fashionable coats for women, made from men’s suit coats, augmented with ties, gloves, lace and jewelry, which she marketed through True Glitz, her successful small business. Later she began producing Character Creations, small figures, between six and ten inches tall, made from polymer clay. After retiring from teaching, Pauley was juried into the Prairie Art Alliance and she also joined the artists at The Blue Door, a downtown Springfield shop specializing in work by area artists and artisans. “My art continues to evolve and my current passion is collage in all media,” she said.
Greg Walbert is a lifelong resident of Springfield. His artwork, including portraits, landscapes and abstracts, is made using acrylic, charcoal, crayon and cut paper. “Lincoln is a favorite subject of mine,” he said. According to http://www.abelincoln.com/walbert.html, Walbert graduated from Eastern Illinois University with a degree in visual communication and works as a graphic designer, specializing in corporate identity, as well as being an illustrator with a passion for colored pencils and expressive, loose line interpretations. “Pencils allow me to be spontaneous, expressive and loose,” he said. “There is a life to every image, and I want the image I create to have a texture and a depth that goes beyond an accurate representation, and draws the viewer in.”
David Hinds grew up on a family farm situated between New Salem and Springfield, which he says has given him endless subjects to draw from in his work. He credits the rich history of the region, combined with personal childhood memories, as the source for his whimsical artwork. Working predominantly in soft pastels, Hinds is a self-taught artist but has drawn inspiration from his friend the late pastel artist George Colin. Work by Hinds can be seen at http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/1-david-hinds.
Keeley DeVries graduated from the Art Institute of Boston in 2013. When not using her graphic design skills for commission work, she loves to create portraits, mixing traditional methods like sketching and painting, with modern technological assists from programs like Photoshop and Illustrator. She tends to start her work with pencil and paper, eventually editing her work electronically. DeVries, a former Springfield native, currently lives in Bloomington with her husband, Travis, and their two rescue pups, Skywalker and Sylvia.
Cornelia Powell was born and raised in Pekin and graduated from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana. She worked for over 25 years as a graphic illustrator and education consultant for the Illinois State Board of Education. She has received several awards, judged local and statewide art contests and has been a regular participant in art fairs and exhibitions. She works in pen and ink, concentrating on historical subjects like Lincoln. She is a member of the Springfield Art Association Collective. Her work is available for sale at the H.D. Smith Gallery located in the Hoogland Center for the Arts.
Monica S. Hohimer graduated from Mount Auburn high school and later attended Millikin University, where she earned a degree in commercial art/computer design. She currently lives in Mechanicsburg with her husband, Albert, and two sons, Aiden and Mason. Hohimer credits her business, Dragonfly Design, along with ongoing work as a substitute teacher, for keeping her creatively busy.
“Since before I can remember, I have always loved to draw,” said Alex Rothschild. Throughout his life, he recalls constantly creating with crayons, markers or whatever other media he could get his hands on. “Despite the mess I constantly made, my parents still supported and encouraged me to keep pursuing my love of art, no matter what,” he recalls. Outside of his artwok, Rothschild is an athletic enthusiast, currently involved in cross country and track. Despite a hectic schedule, Rothschild says he still manages to have time to dedicate to his art. “Working on a class or personal art projects is my stress relief,” he says.
Anita Ware was born in Chicago and raised in Wisconsin, where she grew up admiring the work of Norman Rockwell. “His paintings capture the stories of everyday life’s issues,” she said. “Through his paintings I could actually feel how he felt.” Ware traces her love of illustration to the time when, around age nine, she began illustrating her own comic books for family and friends. “I come from a family with an artistic background such as architecture, music and art, so I express myself through my work as an individual to stand out from the rest,” she said. Ware creates her work in a home studio and credits her recently deceased husband with inspiring her. “He was very supportive and very encouraging,” she said. “I dedicate my work to this great man.”
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