But it wasn’t until his late twenties that he realized he wanted to fully pursue a career as a painter.
“I wanted to be happier. … I wanted to enjoy my job at the end of the day,” Kirkpatrick said, explaining why he walked away from his corporate job at the time.
Kirkpatrick has been exploring and creating art since he was young, and like many young artists, he began by sketching his favorite cartoon and sports characters in newspapers and television.
Born and raised in Mundelein, Kirkpatrick stood out in his art classes in school and earned a full scholarship to study painting at Northeastern Illinois University, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 1999.
Kirkpatrick said that without the constant support and positive reinforcement from his teachers, mentors, family and friends, he probably wouldn’t have made the leap to a professional career as an artist.
Kirkpatrick presents his figurative subject matter through a strong use of bold color palettes, thick brushstrokes, intense textures and vibrant tones. He seeks to create visual and emotional stories in the human face and body. His favorite medium is acrylic paint applied to large canvases, which allows him to work quickly and fearlessly, creating very expressive atmospheres through fresh and spontaneous creativity.
Kirkpatrick prefers figurative works because he is drawn to the diversity of facial features and expressions, body language and postures, moods and feelings.
“In my paintings, the emotion and response of the viewer is paramount. With my abstract expressionist style, I use texture, thick lines and color to convey this. I hope that when the viewer looks at my work, they will feel what the subject is feeling and experiencing,” Kirkpatrick said.
Kirkpatrick said the most rewarding part of being an artist over the past 25 years is the ability to express yourself freely. The main idea he hopes to accomplish with his paintings is to show that there is more below the surface than meets the eye.
Kirkpatrick has exhibited his paintings in galleries in Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin. He sold original paintings to collectors all over the United States. In addition to his popular work of faces and the human body, Kirkpatrick creates collectible paintings with vivid imagery of animals, cityscapes, fashion, flowers, and everyday objects.
Kirkpatrick is represented by the Blue Moon Gallery in Grayslake, 18620 Belvidere Road, where he presents his paintings in monthly exhibitions. The gallery is open to the public on weekends from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and during Artists’ Receptions on the fourth Saturday of each month from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
The next artist reception will take place on June 25 and will feature live music. Clients can meet Kirkpatrick and other artists represented by the gallery. Kirkpatrick’s work can also be seen at thebluemoongallery.com.