|Jeriah Hildwine | photo by Irish S.|
We took a few minutes to chat with Chicago artist Jeriah Hildwine: a figure artist, outdoorsman, self-professed "nerd" and wearer of excellent kilts.
Hildwine, a native of San Diego Calif., has not lived in Chicago for a very long time, but he found very quickly that Chicago was an ideal place for a young artist.
“It’s fantastic,” Hildwine said of the city. “There is no better place to start your career [than Chicago].”
And he has been busy since arriving. Hildwine paints, writes articles for various arts publications, and teaches drawing and painting at various schools around the city. He says that while Chicago does not have the best market to sell art, “opportunities for…do-it-yourself stuff [art showings, galleries, etc.] are everywhere”, creating a strong network for local artists.
For his own art, Hildwine draws inspiration from a number of places, though one love of his actually does not play a huge role.
“I love the outdoors,” he said. “But it doesn’t feature in my art.”
Instead, Hildwine likes to focus on pop culture, particularly “nerd culture”: Dungeons and Dragons, horror and action movies, and similar. He likens artists and nerds to the archetypal “band and theater geeks” of high school; that, by stepping outside of the mainstream culture, they are in fact shaping it.
“There is something to be said for the outsider culture,” he said of his inspirations.
Eventually, Hildwine hopes to maintain a gallery in Chicago and live and create art somewhere outside the urban jungle, where, as he puts it with a grin, he can “live in the woods… and raise goats.”
For now, though, he is happy to be in the city he says is “absolutely a great place to be an artist.”