Painting Delilah’s

In 2003 I was working on graduating from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, waiting tables, and beginning to show my art. Mike Miller, owner of Delilah’s, saw some of my bar scene paintings at a Wicker Park art festival called Around the Coyote (now defunct) and asked me to create a series of work based on his bar. Over several months I took photographs with a hand-held flash and my 35mm Canon (this was pre flip-phone and before digital cameras were truly affordable). By late 2004, I had completed nine oil paintings for my first exhibit at Delilah’s.

A decade later, I returned to document the experience of this iconic Chicago bar. I focused more on the staff in this series. Delilah’s is about people and who more essential than the people behind the bar? Sixteen new works on paper were created for the2014 exhibit.

In 2017, Mike presented me with an offer that I couldn’t refuse – to create a label for their 24th anniversary whiskey (distilled by Oppidan Spirits in Wheeling, IL). In meeting with Mike about the label design, we both said, “Well – we might as well make this a show, right?”.

And so the story continues…

The 2004 painting Upstairs with Fran shown on the cover is on permanent display in the upstairs bar.