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Tuesday, October 14, 2014


©Darryll Schiff

As an Otium featured artist, I was asked to take part in the Otium Collective exhibition, Confluences held this past September.  This was an exciting showcase full of talented Chicago artists.  Otium, as you may not realize, is a Latin word meaning to withdraw from one’s daily business and affairs to engage in activities considered to be artistically valuable or enlightening.  Given the definition, the Otium Collective was appropriately named as it offers artistic enlightenment through its community of artists and the work we have to offer. 

©Darryll Schiff

            The exhibition was a colorful curation that featured the artwork of notable artists such as Flow, Rita J, Joseph “Sentrock” Perez, Erin Burke, Tara Zanzig, Brett Whitcare and myself – all of which are artists who have a prominent presence in Chicago’s Art scene.  The show consisted of a variety of styles showcased through different mediums, all of which portrayed the unique perspective of the artist.  The works of two photographers (myself being one), multiple pop-art and stencil artists and the artistic renderings of personified creatures filled the gallery space with color and vitality.  Performance artists and live painters conveyed their slice of life as each artist depicted a colorful truth about themselves and the world we live in.    

©Darryll Schiff

            As it so happened, my contribution to the show was a piece from my Descending to Heaven series, which became the centerpiece of the entire show.  Hauntingly gravitating, my piece hung alone on the back of the gallery’s white wall and beckoned viewers to experience it up close, from the moment they could first see it when entering the exhibition.   On opening night I watched as my sole piece captivate the interest of many, curious if they knew I was the artist behind this alluring piece. 

©Darryll Schiff

            It excited me to see how our group of collected artists drew a crowd of art enthusiasts to experience our work, together for the first time all in one place.  What I reflected on that evening was my place as a prominent member of an ever growing, and ever changing art community full of inspiring individuals.

©Darryll Schiff

Of course, I cannot mention the show without giving credit to the talented curator who made it all possible, Ophélie le Troadec.  The intended goal of the Otium Collective is to create a network by artists, for artists and judging by that criteria, our group exhibition was a huge success! Each unique voice that was brought together for the Confluences exhibition played an active part in painting an abstract picture of what it means to be an artist in the city of Chicago.  I hope that in reading this blog post, and viewing some photos from the event, you too will have a better understanding of our artistic intent and need to share in the beauty we dare to express.

©Darryll Schiff

Congratulations to all of the artists on an excellent group exhibition!  We had a wonderful show and I want to thank all of the Chicagoans who came out to see it! For more information on the artists involved see the Featured Artists link on the Otium page

©Darryll Schiff

Please stay tuned for a look at my all new series, I will be revealing images soon! - Darryll 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

DSFA UPDATE - Something Old, Lots New

©Darryll Schiff  All Rights Reserved

We've been busy, as usual, here at Darryll Schiff Fine Art.  Earlier this year
I finished my Descending to Heaven series.  As many of you know, it was
a huge, very successful project that took 18 months to complete.

As a whole, the series really connected me to a different way of thinking and 
working on my art (you can view some of these pieces at
While Spain is still on my mind, its time to start covering other things.

©Darryll Schiff  All Rights Reserved

For this blog post, I am sharing with you four pictures, from romantic
to dramatic, that I have taken over the years, each depicting nature,

which I stray from, but always come back to from time to time.

Looking at them it is easy to spot the differences in the artworks,
however, it is equally true that all four have evident components that
represent distinct steps and definite progress in my artwork.  It
should not be too difficult to pick out the oldest and the newest 
of the photographs.

©Darryll Schiff  All Rights Reserved

Ideally, I like to work on 2-3 series at a time.  I find that when I have 
more than one thing going, I tend to oscillate between them.  I work very
intensely on each photo in the series and it benefits me to take breaks on one 
by going to the the next project.  This way I maintain a proper perspective
on what I am saying and how that transposes itself into my art.  That final
piece of art must be as interesting as all the intellectual, emotional,
and subconscious thought that goes into it.

©Darryll Schiff  All Rights Reserved

Soon, in a future post, we'll start showing a couple of teasers from the 
most recent projects. Stay tuned.
                 - Darryll

Monday, August 4, 2014

Spain- "Sketches of Spain"- Part 4

© Darryll Schiff

After "singing" the praises of Spain and how enchanted I am with the people and the country, I thought it would be time to more directly relate this last trip to my art and photography.  I have talked about the museums, galleries, and the wonderful Eloisa at Art Gallery Tour but now I want to talk a bit about my own art and what comes into play when I travel and shoot.

© Darryll Schiff

It used to be that any time I knew I would be somewhere making pictures, I would pack my latest heavy duty professional Nikon and lenses. I have been shooting exclusively digitally now for over eight years which means I don't have to deal with carrying around rolls and rolls of film, trips back and forth to the lab, worrying  about airport x-ray machines, etc. I don't miss it at all.

© Darryll Schiff

© Darryll Schiff
Now, besides my latest digital Nikon, a D800, I also extensively use one of my older Nikon P6000's, sort of a pro/am point and shoot, iPhone, of course. The pictures in this blog come from a mix of these cameras, and even my Nikon D300, and older camera that I still use. All the pictures were taken in Spain and are a mix of serious and fun shots - you have to keep the fun and excitement in it.


© Darryll Schiff


 © Darryll Schiff
© Darryll Schiff
I used my iPhone a lot more than expected, mainly for the touristy snapshots, but if you take time to really compose and time your shots right, the results can be amazing. Also, it's a great little device to do quick "sketch" shots, the way a painter might take a pencil to paper to map out their final image. The following is a shot from my iPhone that I treated as a type of "sketch":
© Darryll Schiff

The funny thing about my P6000s is how the way I use them has evolved.  Originally, when I 
bought my first one, it was going to be my "sketch pad", something I could have with me all the
time, to capture ideas, play around with, and get the occasional serious picture with. As I used the
camera more and more, I found ways to take advantage of a couple of its features that fit right into what I see (examples below). I now have four of them!

© Darryll Schiff

© Darryll Schiff
© Darryll Schiff

Although I print my work in all sizes, most of it is big--40x60, 58x88, even as large as 75x177. The D800 (Nikon's newest version is the D810) is the camera I use for those huge pieces. As I work on my pictures from this trip, I get really excited. I'm sure those big images will be hanging in my studio very soon.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Spain- Galleries (and pics) Galore- Part 3

I've been back from my latest trip to Spain for about three weeks now, definitely returning to my usual work routine-a good thing-but I have the most vivid memories of this trip, more so than previous ones. Yes, its only been a few weeks, but my appreciation of Spain continues to grow.  

Plaza Santa Ana- Madrid
Of course there are places yet to see, but I have traveled a lot, including to "exotic" places- India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, all over Europe- Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, Scandanavia, and Bosnia, even to Bulgaria, and Greece.  Throw in Canada, Mexico many times, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and a couple of others. Yet still, my favorite part of the world remains - Spain. In previous blogs I've talked about the attraction for me (seen here + here). In fact, the reason I decided to learn to
speak Spanish, which makes my travels there even better, was because of how much I enjoyed my second trip. Now, after having been to Spain three times in the last nine years, I most likely will be going back for art/business within the next 4-7 months.

Plaza Mayor Madrid
Ok, now for this blog's theme.
June began the PhotoEspaña festival in Madrid and it will continue through the end of July. PhotoEspaña is an international photography and visual arts festival and this year the emphasis was on Spanish photography. Rather than one giant art fair type of setting, it takes place in about 100 different venues-galleries, museums, etc., which is too much to even remotely try to take in, especially with a limited amount of time. Plus I wanted to get to the Prado, Thyssen, and Sofia Reina museums. In fact, because of this, even though we started out in Madrid we didn't get to any of PhotoEspaña until our return, after visiting Barcelona and Valencia. We ended up spending a lot of time in the Prado and planned on getting to the Thyssen and galleries upon our return at the end of the trip.
Great little shop in Madrid

Lionel Feiniiger, Thyssen Museum
Although a big art fair in one place, like Art Basel, Expo Chicago, etc., is very convenient and everything is under one (giant) roof, PhotoEspaña's multi-site setup has for me one distinct advantage. You get to walk the city and explore some of the great neighborhoods of Madrid. It is a big, bustling city, but once you get off the main boulevards you are treated to something that makes Madrid great. The streets are much quieter, restaurants and cafes abound, some great shopping off the main drags, beautiful buildings, etc., etc.   My (amazing) girlfriend and I walked just about everywhere. And......

As I mentioned, we returned to Madrid for the last two days of our trip. After getting settled in we walked to the Thyssen Bornemisza, which is not quite the Prado, but still another world class museum. Walking back via side streets, we passed by the office of Art Gallery Tour. For the hell of it, I googled it when we got back and saw they offered various tours, including galleries participating in PhotoEspaña. The next day was our last day in Spain and I sent the tour company an email, hoping they would have space available. And since people come back to work after their lunch/siesta break, I was hoping for a response even though it was evening 

by then.
Retiro Park, Madrid
Retiro Park 2, Madrid
What luck!! We arranged to meet the tour guide at the first of six galleries we would visit. Our guide happened to be the owner of Art Gallery Tour, Eloisa, who was just fantastic. I am usually a little leery of tour guides when it comes to art, after all, I have been an artist/photographer for many years and have studied art history and the history of photography extensively. But Eloisa was not only articulate, both in Spanish and English, but very, very knowledgeable. We received in depth explanations about all the art and artists we viewed, and had great discussions about the work and the galleries.
Glass Tears- Man Ray (on display at Monda Galeria)

Here are the links to the galleries we visited:

When I get back to Madrid, PhotoEspaña will be long over, but now I can say that I officially have a great sense of the contemporary art scene in Madrid, thanks to the layout of the festival. I am so glad to call Spain my home away from home and, needless to say, I cannot wait to return.


Friday, July 4, 2014

Spain- Art, Food, and People- Part 2

  There's something about Spain, well actually lots of things about
  Spain, that make it irresistible to me.  This was my third trip there in the
  the last nine years.  I was gone for twelve days but could have easily stayed
  another twelve if I had the time.

 Three years ago I visited Madrid, Granada, and Sevilla.  This year, my trip was again
 to Madrid (how could I go to Spain and not re-visit the Prado?!) then on to Barcelona and Valencia.

 There are three basic things that make Spain great - the art, the food, and the
 people. In Madrid alone there are three major world class museums, the Prado,
 the Thyssen, and the Sofia Reina. The Prado by itself, containing El Greco, Velasquez,
 Reubens, Goya and more, is amazing. In the other two museums there are even
more masterpieces to be found, including Picasso's Guernica at the Sofia Reina.

Picasso-Guernica, Reina Sofia Museum, Madrid

Goya, Prado, Madrid

Reubens, Prado, Madrid

Barcelona has Gaudi, the Picasso and Miro museums, and more.  Valencia is smaller,
and I was unfortunately only there two days, but there is a lot to explore. On top of
Spain's legendary art museums, there is a multitude of wonderful art galleries, which I will cover in a future blog.

Food. Generally I appreciate fine food but never think about it much, although I remember
from my previous trip that almost anywhere we went, whether it was a local small place or
a fancy restaurant, everything was great. This time around, I was even more impressed.
Seasoned traveler and food critic, Anthony Bourdain, has raved about the food there and
once said that the best young chefs in the world are in Spain.

My girlfriend and I ate in the wonderful markets, or mercados, as well as small "local" restaurants, hip to traditional tapas places, top notch restaurants, and even a newer "cool" pizza restaurant "la mucca".
In the end, we had a large range of foodie experiences and just about everything was fantastic.

Lastly, the people. Madrid and Barcelona, the two biggest cities, can be a lot of hustle and bustle, but
I still remember nine years ago, when I could barely speak a word of Spanish, we were going out
to dinner in Madrid and got completely lost. I stopped an older man in the street to ask him for
help. All I could do was point to an address and gesture that we didn't know where we were.
He ended up walking with us, a mile out of his way, right to the front door of the place.  Is everyone
like that? Probably not... but I have a feeling the generally warm and friendly Spanish disposition has something to do with constantly being surrounded by beautiful art and delicious food...and I supposed the traditional mid-day siestas don't hurt either.

Flamenco Dancer

So if you ever have a chance to get out to Madrid or any of the places mentioned above, definitely take advantage of that opportunity! More to come soon about the galleries we visited in Part Three...stay tuned!


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Sarah Lukes- Artist of the Month- June

From the series, "Head Case".

Sarah Lukes is a photographer and collage artist from California and our pick for this month's featured artist. Her website, Beautiful Yourself, is loaded with all kinds of unique creations, threaded together with the ribbon that is Sarah's personal style. It is a style that is playful, cosmic and, with the combination of vintage imagery and modern adornments, timeless.

From the series, "Up Above the World So High".

Sarah mixes seemingly random elements together to create something unexpected, yet in the end the composition is whole and complete. She has an eye for textures and details, which she delicately pieces together in a manner that is often imperfectly perfect. Sometimes, it's the imperfections that really make the art. This is a strategy that Darryll uses in his photos while viewing the images on the computer. He will leave alone the bits that maybe any other artist would Photoshop out of their photo. I think these kind of decisions that Sarah and Darryll are making with their art has really helped to distinguish themselves from other artists perhaps doing similar work.

From the series, "Up Above the World So High".

 In a lot of the images, we see a strip of text, balancing out the entire composition. This gives each piece a touch of a meaning, yet still leaving a bit of intrigue, not giving her vision away all at once. The viewer is free to interpret and contemplate.

From the series, "Plastered Polaroids".

We get to see a piece of Sarah in each of her works of art but are left wanting more. It's this kind of subtle mystery, combined with her distinctive style, that helps to define Sarah Lukes as an artist and allows her to project her own brand of art into the universe.

Feast your eyes on loads more work at Sarah's website and enjoy!

Also, be sure to stay tuned for a future blog covering Darryll's trip to Spain!

- Chelsea

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Back to Spain- Part 1

España - El Primero - Darryll Schiff

         Nine years ago, I ventured out to Spain to do some soul-searching and art-admiring. During my trip, I started taking pictures on the street that brought me back to my fine art origins and veered me away from my recent commercial photography projects. I was exploring a new style which led to a new way of approaching the camera as a tool. The result was a new and exciting path for me. Because of this, I consider Barcelona and Madrid to be the catalyst to my fine art career.

España - Darryll Schiff
I don't tend to listen to music while I shoot, but looking back at this set of photos from my last Spain trip, it seems as though Miles Davis's Sketches of Spain would have made the perfect soundtrack at the time.

Sueños de España - Darryll Schiff

 My style has definitely developed since then, and will no doubt continue to evolve, but I'm excited to see what happens in the next couple weeks when I return to my "artistic roots". I will soon be back in Madrid and Barcelona, talking to galleries, visiting museums, and of course, taking more pictures.

Barcelona - Darryll Schiff

        Stay tuned for part two, where I will keep you updated with my trip. Be sure to follow me on Twitter to see what pictures I'm taking in real time @DSchiffArt !