The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg

Murakami signageThe title of my post, The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg, might be confusing at first. A little Dada prank, you might assume. When you consider the fact that octopi can regenerate lost limbs, then the self-eating octopus becomes a potent metaphor.Dean at Murakami show

She is the creator who grows strong branches only to prune herself back and start over. I can relate to the octopus, as I have reinvented myself and my art style many times. I had no idea Takashi Murakami had done the same thing until he chose to title his MCA exhibit after the resilient cephalopod.

Murakami big signI was very familiar with Murakami’s kawaii-inspired pop art, but I had no idea he explored several other art styles before developing his current brand. The exhibit takes the viewer through these styles in chronological order. There is no apparent connection between one style and the next. Once the octopus has cast off an arm, he seems to disavow any ownership of it.

It is important to start at the beginning of Murakami’s oeuvre, because each successive room is more impressive than the last. By the time I reached the final rooms, I was saying to myself, “I can’t believe this!” It was literally the most impressive art show I have ever seen.Tentacles in the MCA

Do yourself a favor and see this exhibit before it closes on September 24. It has my highest recommendation ever!

Bear Run Road

Bear Run Road, 2017 - SOLD

Bear Run Road, 2017 – SOLD

My latest commission is a cutout collage that will hang in a family cabin in St. Germaine, Wisconsin, which is a city featured on the map I used. The clients asked me to include certain important details, such as their love of bears, their cabin’s location on Bear Run Rd., and the legacy of two grandfathers. I recreated one grandfather’s CPD badge and the other grandfather’s Board of Trade badge.

If you have ideas for your own cutout collage, please comment on this post or e-mail me at They make excellent gifts and meaningful ways to represent your memories!

Got to Party Up


This Saturday, NIA is hosting an exclusive preview of our upcoming exhibit, NIA Fine Art Friday. Each of us participating artists will present some of our latest pieces. You are invited to view the work, pick our brains, or even purchase a piece. In addition, we will have wine glasses hand-painted by NIA artists for sale.

img_3384-1More than any of that, this is a party! It’s a chance to hang out with artists and art-lovers, drink some wine, and listen to music. You can meet NIA members, Christopher Berry, Christina Bosco, Terrie Byrne, and Dean Johnson. It’s a little thing we like to call NIA Gallery Party!

You may remember a similar event from two years ago…. Believe it or not, the Gallery Party concept pre-dates NIA. You can trace its origins to Third Thursday Club, a figure drawing group that met once a month in the apartment of NIA co-founder, Terrie Byrne. After we’d been drawing together for awhile, we decided to present some of our work in an informal party setting. Thus, the Gallery Party was born!img_3385-1

There was a second Gallery Party before NIA‘s first version of the event. NIA went on to produce two formal group exhibits at ChiPRC, the location of our upcoming NIA Fine Art Friday.

Our party venue is located on Addison St, just west of Lake Shore Dr.

For additional details, e-mail us at, or view our Facebook event page.