ABOUT THE ARTIST
Born in Western Pennsylvania in 1949. Skip Hartzell was strongly influenced by his blue collar environment of factory workers and coal miners. As a young boy Skip's father would regularly take him to see art shows and art museums. The Carnegie International shows in the late 50’s and early 60’s, featuring abstract expressionist artists like Willem De Kooning and Franz Kline, had a huge impact on him.
In 1967 he received a football scholarship and traveled to Missouri to attend College where he majored in fine arts. After graduation, Skip taught high school for two years while taking drawing and painting classes at the University of Iowa.
Moving to Chicago in 1973, he rented a studio on the near north side and quickly developed a following making a living strictly by the sale of his artwork. Skip spent many hours at The Chicago Art Institute studying the work of the European Impressionist but was also very attracted to the Outsider Artists, Jean Dubuffet and l’Art Brut.
In 1976 Skip’s studio was destroyed by fire and he lost everything. Skip decided that a new environment was needed and enrolled in the MFA program at Illinois State University. After graduation Skip moved back to Chicago but the life of a struggling artist was not acceptable to him. To pay his living expenses he began doing freelance illustration and design jobs. A year later he was working full time for an advertising agency. For the next 32 years he worked in advertising and marketing.
Retired in 2011, Skip is now living his dream sculpting and painting full time.
Dogs are always in the moment. Although nothing in life has held my attention longer or has been more fascinating to me than dogs, my work is about much more than that. It is about form, movement, color and texture. The dogs are a recognizable common denominator that allows me to communicate my joy of living, passions and sentiments.
Every morning before I go into my studio I walk with my dogs for about two hours. We don’t have a schedule, the length of the walk depends on how many rabbits, squirrels, new smells, and other treasures we dig up along the way.
Making art for me is very much like walking my dogs. I go in to my studio and sniff around. I pick up a thing or two, decide if it has interest and I might work on it or maybe begin something brand new. Like my dogs I’m always excited and ready to see where the work will take me. My art is the stuff that I leave behind after hours in the studio.