"November Moth" by Tony Fitzpatrick
Tony Fitzpatrick is a Renaissance Man—a self-taught artist, poet, playwright, radio talk show host, screen and stage actor, small business owner, publisher, father and mentor—after the December Gallery Stroll, this Chicago-based artist can also add the Kayo Gallery to his already lengthy resume. Kayo owner Shilo Jackson is pleased that she wrangled up Fitzpatrick for this show, “Tony Fitzpatrick’s work is in the Art Institute of Chicago, the MOMA in New York and the MOCA in Miami. It’s a really big deal that he is showing his work in Salt Lake City. The man is a living legend in the art world and Kayo is thrilled to host one of the great art events of the decade,” says Jackson.
Fitzpatrick’s work is like a midget wrestler arriving at your door—it comes in a small package, but packs a big punch. Incorporating drawings, etching and collage into the size of a print, Fitzpatrick masterfully weaves Americana, beatnik and bohemian themes together and frames the subject with symbols like the hobo alphabet, postage stamps, old matchbooks and lyrical poems.
Fitzpatrick may have the résumé of a highbrow artist, but his art tells a different tale: the tale of a man who loves the people and places of his hometown, Chicago. On his blog, Fitzpatrick discusses the many colorful characters who weave around his life with such intense passion that you find yourself longing to know more. At first glance, “Angel of the Riptide Lounge” is about a busy queen bee buzzing around a party, playing host to onlookers. But as the artist describes The Riptide Lounge and the proprietor of this dive—the late, bouffant-crowned, Marie Wuczynski—on his blog, it’s obvious that they hold a special place in his heart. “Marie was ten days older than dirt when I met her in the late ’70s. The Riptide was where you went if, at two in the morning, you just weren’t drunk enough yet or if you were still looking for love. The Riptide is your bar of last chances. Marie herself would pour you shots and have one with you. She liked a jigger of Jaeger with a Pepsi back. Only old Polish ladies drink like this,” he writes. Juxtaposing his special personal experiences with trinkets and found objects gives the viewer a glimpse into Fitzpatrick’s love of folklore and also pays homage to his friends and colleagues who have passed on.
Fitzpatrick’s approachability is one of the many reason’s his work is sought after. His admirers and collectors include Kevin Bacon, Johnny Depp, Harrison Ford, Morgan Freeman, Bill Gates, Lou Reed and Martin Scorsese.
Once while speaking at a gallery opening in Rockwood, Maine, Fitzpatrick said to a group of journalists that museums were where art went to die and that art needed to be kept in the community. Let’s welcome Fitzpatrick into our community! Tony Fitzpatrick’s art will be at the Kayo Gallery (177 E. 300 S.) Dec. 2 through Jan. 18. Visit kayogallery.com for more info regarding the show’s reception.