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Courtesy of Will Townsend
Courtesy of Will Townsend

The Best Up-And-Coming Artists From Chicago

Picture of Elizabeth Newhart
Elizabeth Newhart
Updated: 3 January 2017
There’s more to Chicago‘s art scene than what’s inside the museums. These artists of all ages are making the Windy City a more beautiful place with their talents, whether that be photography, paintings or mosaics. Support their craft and learn more about their contributions to the city’s beauty.

Will Townsend

After starting at Chicago’s Whitney Young Magnet High School in just the seventh grade, Will Townsend found himself falling in love with photography. His stacked academic credits allowed him to take his senior year off to focus solely on shooting with clients, and now he’s built a dedicated Instagram following to support his art. The 18-year-old has been featured in publications like Photographer’s Forum Magazine, Fuse Magazine, Arsenic Magazine, and For Guys Mag. He also plans to begin shooting video to complement his photography.

Courtesy of Will Townsend

Courtesy of Will Townsend

Courtesy of Will Townsend

Courtesy of Will Townsend

 

Tony Passero

Growing in popularity over the last several years, Tony Passero is a North Side native who remains in Independence Park with his own family who often helps him complete his vibrant and mesmerizing Chicago murals. Passero is an entirely self-taught artist who incorporates a blend of Latin, Creole, and Tribal tones into his expressionist-style artwork and is also an accomplished graphic designer and the founder of Chicago advertising agency TribeAgency. You can find his murals primarily on the North Side.

Courtesy of Tony Passero

Courtesy of Tony Passero

Courtesy of Tony Passero

Courtesy of Tony Passero

 

Tyler McAuley

Tyler McAuley is a Chicago photographer and actor who captures anything and everything that catches his eye. His extensive portfolio includes work with dancers, portrait models, fashion shoots, and creative edits that reflect his true talent. He tries to marry his passions of theater and photography, using the ‘emotions behind both of them’ to create ‘a mood or feelings’ within his pictures. And while editing his work, he listens to music that matches the emotion of his photos, allowing it to influence the finished product. ‘When people look at my work, I want them to be able to see a story behind the picture as well as an emotion,’ he said.

Courtesy of Tyler McAuley

Courtesy of Tyler McAuley

Courtesy of Tyler McAuley

Courtesy of Tyler McAuley

 

Jim Bachor

Chicago artist Jim Bachor was frustrated by the city’s overwhelming pothole problem, so he took matters into his own hands beginning in 2013. He first started by filling up a pothole outside his home with colorful glass and marble mosaic tiles, and today, his work has grown into an annual initiative throughout Chicago’s streets. Since he does not have permission from the city, his work is occasionally paved over and lost; however, what remains always manages to bring a smile to people’s faces.

Courtesy of Jim Bachor

Courtesy of Jim Bachor

Courtesy of Jim Bachor

Courtesy of Jim Bachor

 

Jasemine-Denise

Self-proclaimed author, singer, photographer, 80s punk fashionista, 90s hip-hop ideologist, feminist, and riot grrrl, Jasemine-Denise is taking Chicago by storm. She writes a sharp, entertaining blog that includes everything from her latest shoots to her fangirl musings and is always prepared for a professional gig. Jasemine shoots weddings, portraits, and models – mostly captured on her edgy Instagram page. Her website hooks you up with everything you need to know about booking her for a session, including consultations, location advice, styling, and props.

Courtesy of Jasemine-Denise Photography

Courtesy of Jasemine-Denise Photography

Courtesy of Jasemine-Denise Photography

Courtesy of Jasemine-Denise Photography

 

Hebru Brantley

Local Chicagoan Hebru Brantley has made a definitive name for himself in the city’s art scene recently, garnering significant Instagram attention and critical acclaim. He describes his style as ‘pop-infused contemporary art inspired by Japanese anime and the bold aesthetics of street art pioneers.’ He covered the wall (seen below) at the Hollywood Cleaners in Wicker Park with his signature aesthetic, but you have seen his art in other places as well. He worked with another Chicago artist on the massive Kris Bryant mural in Lakeview that was unveiled during the Cubs’ historic 2016 season.

Hebru Brantley’s artwork | © Kevin Tao/Flickr

Hebru Brantley’s artwork | © Kevin Tao/Flickr

Go Cubs!!!! Even though I'm south side ride or die gotta rep all Chicago. #soxlove

A photo posted by Hebru Brantley (@hebrubrantley) on

 

Alexander Gouletas

Chicagoan Alexander Gouletas got his start in the business with food photography, though his passion lies in chronicling civil disobedience. He’s made himself present at important political events throughout the city over the last few years, including the Laquan McDonald protests, the anti-Trump rally protests, and the post-election protests. He also recently traveled to Standing Rock in North Dakota with his girlfriend and business partner to get a first-hand account of the #NODAPL demonstrators and their plight. He’s been working as a photographer for more than ten years and has also taught at the Chicago Photography Center.

Courtesy of Alexander Gouletas

Courtesy of Alexander Gouletas

Courtesy of Alexander Gouletas

Courtesy of Alexander Gouletas

 

Sebastien Carpediem

Sebastien Carpediem, who uses the moniker Diem in his pieces, works all over the city, with one highlight being on the wall outside Loft Zero Gallery in Noble Square. This particular wall is painted and repainted all the time by artists that the gallery works with, and their latest is a celebration of the Chicago Cubs’ World Series win – a mural created by Sebastien Carpediem. While this painting will only remain through the winter, you can see his recent work on his Instagram page.

Courtesy of Loft Zero Gallery

Courtesy of Loft Zero Gallery