Tom Czarnopys

Life Dates:
b. 1957
Artist Biography:
Chicago artist Tom Czarnopys grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan and attended Grand Rapids Community College before pursuing a career in art. Czarnopys cites hunting trips outside his hometown as inspiration for his work. As a boy, he went bow hunting in the woods, drew animals and learned taxidermy. It is there that he "learned first-hand the cycles of the seasons, the mystery and stillness of the forest and the potency of life as only close observation of nature can reveal." In art school, he struggled to make something fresh from this background. Czarnopys' first successful works were fiberglass casts of his own body covered with tree bark. It is these anthropomorphic figures, whether of himself, female or fetal figures that Czarnopys is best known. Working from live models and clay sculptures created from scientific drawings and photographs, he explores the relationship between man and nature. Human and natural forms are intertwined, at times, to the point the two are indistinguishable.