Tony Fitzpatrick’s city of ghosts

In the Chicago Sun-Times Kevin Nance profiles Tony Fitzpatrick, whose expeditions with his dad have become the central narrative of his just-completed magnum opus: ‘The Wonder — Portraits of a Remembered City,’ a simultaneously intimate and epic series of drawing-collages commemorating his father and the city they explored together. “The product of a decade of memory-keeping and memory-transforming, ‘The Wonder’ has been reproduced and collected in a trilogy of books — the third and darkest volume of which, City of Monsters, City of Ghosts, will be published this week, just in time for the opening of a major exhibition of about 60 of the original pieces at the Chicago Cultural Center . ‘When my father was dying [of cancer], there was a little box of his stuff — matchbooks, gambling books, lotto tickets — and I wanted to make some pieces that I could show him that were about his life,’ Fitzpatrick recalls. ‘That’s when the first two drawing-collages happened. One was called ‘The Music of White Flowers,’ because we’d go to funeral homes and there’d always be calla lilies and other white flowers in this Roman Catholic atmosphere. There was always this idea of mortality that hung over us. The Catholics never let you forget you were going to die someday.’ After Fitzpatrick’s father’s death, his son continued to pour his feelings about his dad and his city — love, loss, grief and, at times, no small amount of anger — into the project for a decade. And although Fitzpatrick now calls himself an atheist, ‘The Wonder’ is illuminated by the chipped gold-leaf residue of his past as one of eight children in a Catholic family on the South Side of Chicago. ‘You can’t wash it off,’ he says of his religious heritage. ” Read more. Check out Fitzpatrick’s work at the Pierogi2000 website.

One Comment

  1. These are truly beautiful. Thank you so much for posting this. I think “Paloma” is my favorite. But they’re all gorgeous.

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