Tony Fitzpatrick (artist)

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Tony Fitzpatrick
Born1958 (age 62–63)
Known forIntaglio, collage
MovementPop art

Tony Fitzpatrick (born 1958) is an American artist and actor born and based in Chicago.


He graduated from Montini Catholic High School in Lombard, Illinois in 1977.[1] In the early 1980s, Fitzpatrick began seriously drawing with colored pencils on slate boards in a store front gallery in the town of Villa Park, Illinois. The gallery was called The Edge. He worked by day and bartended at the bar across the street at night.

During that time, he developed separate friendships with Chicago radio personality and bluesman Buzz Kilman and film director Jonathan Demme. Demme and Kilman were longtime friends, and the three became close. As a result, Tony has appeared in a few of Demme's films and other films as well.

During the late 1980s, he begin getting gallery shows in Chicago and New York City, establishing connections that would lead him to be a successful working artist who has sold paintings to several film directors, among others. Tony is also an accomplished poet and has published several books of his art and poetry, including The Hard Angels and The Neighborhood. Sports often figures into his art and poetry; especially his favorite baseball team, the Chicago White Sox, but he also gains inspiration from the city of Chicago, and the underbelly of society. Tony in his past has been a boxer, bouncer, and bartender; along with several jobs as a waiter.

Fitzpatrick opened his Chicago printmaking studio, Big Cat Press, in 1992 with help from his friends and local artists Steven Campbell of Landfall Press and Theresa James. In November 2009, Newcity named Tony Fitzpatrick the "Best iconic Chicago personality now that Studs (Terkel) is gone."[2]


Fitzpatrick's early artistic career focused primarily on multi-colored drawings on slate, followed by printmaking, although he has more recently shifted his focus to producing mixed media "drawing/collages." Fitzpatrick's drawing/collages often blend central cartoon-like drawings, found images and ephemera such as baseball cards and matchbooks, and poetic or narrative text. His main subjects have been Chicago and memories of his father, although more recent subjects have included New Orleans, hobo symbology, superheroes, Crazy Horse, and Japan. Fellow Chicago artist Ed Paschke, described his work as "autobiographical," saying that "it's in the true spirit of what art is all about. It is an extension of him."

Fitzpatrick's works are in numerous public collections, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami. Among his works are the drawings which make up the brief chapbook "Bum Town", and a continuing series of drawings/collages with poetry, "The Wonder: Tales of the City". He had his own spot on a Chicago radio station for eight years and books of poems with artworks published.

Fitzpatrick has done cover art for numerous albums, such as the Neville Brothers Yellow Moon album (nominated for Diamond Award, Best Album Cover), Lou Reed's "Big Cat", both albums by Captain Howdy, and all of Steve Earle's albums since 1996's I Feel Alright, as well as the cover for Earle's book of short stories, Doghouse Roses.

Fitzpatrick is also notable for his work as an actor and playwright. He won a Joseph Jefferson Award for portraying the murderer James Huberty in the play he also scripted, Mass Murderer. He also had roles in the movies Philadelphia, Primal Fear, Married to the Mob, Chi-Raq and others. More recently, he wrote and starred in This Train, a play about hobos and homelessness in America.


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