Paintings from the United States- Defiant Lion

Defiant Lion

"Defiant Lion"
Chicago, Illinois


Story Behind the Painting

I have spent quite a few hours inside the Art Institute. As a student of the School, I used to cut through the front entrance on Michigan Ave and go through to the school portion on Columbus to avoid walking an extra block in the cold. Being the lazy slacker I was, I did get to become quite familiar with the contents of the museum and can probably be a pretty decent tour guide at this point.

I'll have to say that since graduation, I've traveled the world and been to quite a few major museums and was surprised to realize that the Art Institute of Chicago really is one of the best. You can find probably more quintessential French Impressionist works here than anywhere else in the US. The traveling feature exhibits are also amazing; the most memorable were John Singer Sargent (biggest influence on my work), Henri Magritte, and Paul Gauguin. I also think the new Modern Wing is great and have a newfound appreciation for the various restaurants, coffee shops, wine bars, and cafes which maintain better than usual hours (probably because this is a private institution).

Although I've been past the two iconic lions about a thousand times (even wearing Chicago Bears football helmets), I never knew until I looked it up that the "happy" lion is actually the "defiant one" and the "angry" one is technically "on the prowl". Perhaps as an artist, I'm a bit happy and a bit defiant, so this fellow suits me. Maybe one day I'll actually get good enough to have something on display in the museum and he can guard my work! :)

I created this painting for the annual SAIC gala fundraising event. The auction is on October 10, 2009 at the Sullivan Gallery. Tickets are available on Ticketmaster.