Visit my portfolio website here.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Molly joins the DSFA team!

Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 4.53.28 PM.png
Welcoming Molly to DSFA!

Hello! I’m Molly English, one of Darryll Schiff’s newest assistants! I recently graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts and poetry, and as I begin my post-graduate career I couldn’t be more excited to work with such a talented and celebrated Chicago artist! I met Darryll by chance when Sara, my dear friend and now co-assistant, asked if I would participate in one of his projects. That day, I had the opportunity to visit his lovely studio on the Near West Side. Immediately upon engaging with Darryll’s work, I felt challenged in my perception of the photographic medium. I had once thought of photographers as static, observational, and temporally fleeting artists in comparison with painters and poets, yet Darryll’s work defied that expectation. What I saw in his studio were works of art that moved. They shook, twisted, breathed, and unfurled around me in their impressive size. I saw works that confidently transcended the fixed-moment paradigm of photography in order to honor the complexities of subjective experience. I saw an ongoing encounter with time alive inside Darryll Schiff’s photographs.  

And the rest is history! I asked for an interview with Darryll, he obliged, and I eventually joined the team! Now, I work on what we’re calling “Big Ideas”. This means I’ll be coordinating some of the really exciting stuff that’ll be coming your way in the future! To say the least, I’m absolutely over the moon to be joining Lauren, Sara, and (soon to be introduced) Charlie in sharing this amazing artwork with the world.

“Apt Moments” ©Darryll Schiff All Rights Reserved
Essence” ©Darryll Schiff All Rights Reserved

I believe that my interest in subjective experience as a component of my own artistic discipline is what fueled the connection I first felt with Darryll’s work. For me, some of the most interesting, unexplored landscapes are those we perceive inside ourselves. It's my suspicion that everyone feels at least some internal idiosyncrasy and that nearly all of us who examine it struggle to identify it. Hunger, thirst, dizziness, and epiphany are some examples. Darryll’s work especially evokes the uncanny quality and scope of dreams that I aspire to capture in my own work.

And yet, these are the self-encounters we’ve managed to find language for, however inadequate that language may be. What interests me the most (and I'm delighted to find a sense of this is Darryll’s work as well) are the very deep-down sensations we can hardly catch, let alone explain. So it is With these questions in mind, that I create art.

“Dogo Argentino” ©Molly Rose English All Rights Reserved

My work has often been described as storm-like, or frenzied, and I believe that effect to be a product of my searching. I am constantly searching for a more accurate way to understand myself—for anyone to understand themselves—through creation. By creating, one begins to feel the grain of it, the true story, becoming clear in their body.

“Keep Doing These Things, Girl” ©Molly Rose EnglishAll Rights Reserved

This sincere internal searching is what I think of when I look at Darryll’s subjects. Through the photograph, I see the world through eyes that are not my own. I’m allowed, for the duration of an inconstant moment, into the story of someone else’s body. Not only that, but I am reminded of the fact that we belong to a world of people just like us, and yet we are all vastly different. Everyone vibrating with their own stories inside.

“Descending to Heaven” ©Darryll Schiff All Rights Reserved

It's no wonder Darryll Schiff has become one of Chicago's most prominent artists. His work is endlessly valuable for all types of viewers. With work in galleries across the world and some of the most prestigious museums, Darryll truly embodies what many of us young artists aspire to be. I feel extremely privileged, and quite frankly... absolutely  jazzed to be a part of the team that makes this possible. I look forward to bringing you some awesome updates!

Cheers :)

Monday, August 8, 2016

Something Old, Something New

        Darryll Schiff, for quite some time, has been considered one of Chicago's up and coming and now one of its most prominent artists. Born and raised in Chicago, at a young age Schiff gravitated towards the art world, enrolling in weekend classes at the Art Institute.  In 1971 he received his BFA in photography from the Institute of Design in Chicago. Continuing his passion, Schiff moved to California and pursued a lucrative career as a commercial photographer.  During this time he worked with world class brands and celebrities like Jada Pinkett Smith, Lisa Marie Presley, Robin Williams, Rolling Stone, Pepsi, and Beverly Hills Magazine.

©Darryll Schiff 1999

        While Schiff was pursuing a career in commercial photography, his fine art photography was already recognized as on the road to success. The Art Institute of Chicago and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York as well as many private collections are just some of the noteworthy institutions that realized Schiff's talent and acquired pieces of his over the years. In 2013, 500 Lake Shore Drive purchased two prints from Schiff to showcase on public display inside the Chicago luxury apartment building. These two prints are from his enchanting series titled Evanescence. Darryll Schiff's fusion of elongated motion and illumination harmoniously work together in this series to create intoxicating compositions.

©Darryll Schiff 2013

        Continuously gaining momentum, in 2014 Schiff's work was on display at Photo L.A. an international Photographic Art Exhibition. Below are pieces depicted from various series showcased there, including one from his popularly known project "Descending to Heaven" which later became an enormous mural in down town Chicago.

©Darryll Schiff 2014

        In 2015 Mark Kelly selected Darryll to be one of the participating artists in the Wabash Arts Corridor (WAC). Schiff's huge twenty-four by fifty-six foot mural is now on public display there. This mural titled "Descending to Heaven-The Parade Commences" is the only mural featured in WAC with lights installed to illuminate the artwork at night.

©Darryll Schiff 2016

        Among other shows, in 2016 Darryll Schiff's work was selected to be exhibited in international art fairs like Art Busan in South Korea and the Bazaar Art Fair in Jakarta, Indonesia.

©Darryll Schiff 2016

        For a little over a decade, Schiff has focused primarily on his fine art practice. It is ironic how life goes full circle. Studying fine art photography in school, Schiff used photography to make a living by photographing celebrities and taking shooting assignments for well known magazines. Now Schiff is an established artist making a splash in the art world with his abstract detailed digital light compositions. I am so honored to have a chance to work with such an artist like Darryll Schiff. Check out his Wikipedia page to learn more more about him and his fabulous art, 


Thursday, July 7, 2016

Introducing Sara to the DSFA Team!

            My name is Sara Law and I recently started working as an assistant for Chicago artist Darryll Schiff. I am a recent graduate from Columbia College with a Bachelor Degree in Fine Art. I first encountered Darryll’s work my senior year of college. I passed his mural “Descending to Heaven” everyday on my commute. I was drawn into this massive piece, which is twenty-four by fifty-six feet, by the vibrant play of light dancing around the dark abstracted figures. 
“Descending to Heaven” ©Darryll Schiff All Rights Reserved

            I was not surprised when I discovered that the Art Institute of Chicago was familiar with DSFA and has a series of Darryll’s work as part of their collection, one of which seized my attention and lured me in. This piece in particular conjures the uncanny yet elegant atmosphere of a dream, resonating deep within my senses. I have an interdisciplinary practice which is why I gravitated towards his work.
“Untitled/Tree Abstraction” ©Darryll Schiff All Rights Reserved

            Darryll’s work is a hybridization of photography mixed with painterly qualities. The way he manipulates palettes of light and color within his pieces creates a pulsing and meditative aesthetic.
“Evanescence” ©Darryll Schiff All Rights Reserved
            I work with oil and acrylic paint to compose stimulating sensory compositions. I have a fluxus practice in that each layer applied informs the application of the next. I experiment with texture, light, and hue, blending foreground and background elements in order to simulate a sense of depth. I experience the world through sensation. 
“ChickenWaterBottleUnbrella” ©Sara Law All Rights Reserved
            I investigate my idiosyncratic relationship with language through color and sensation. My exposure to specific colors triggers an emotional response for me. I experience the world through sensation and I feel as though my thoughts cannot always be conveyed through the limited means of language and painting allows me to expand upon those means.
“Saucier” ©Sara Law All Rights Reserved

            Darryll’s body of work evokes a nuanced sense of expression, which I view as a portal. I am so pleased to be working with DSFA because this position facilitates an incredible learning environment with an established artist who has work in The Art Institute of Chicago, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and many other galleries I aspire to work with. Darryll’s motivation and body of work is inspiring and I am excited to have this opportunity of working with such ambitious and visionary counterparts. 
Thank you for reading, tune in as I will begin posting regularly! -Sara

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

"Descending to Heaven" and Into the Wabash Arts Corridor!

Darryll Schiff's mural “Descending to Heaven” is here at last! The 24 x 56 foot photo mural can be found illuminated at 710 S Wabash. The latest public art piece installed as part of the Wabash Arts Corridor went up January 25th and the lights turned on following the installation. “Descending to Heaven” is the first piece in the Wabash Arts Corridor to be lit up! The opening drew quite a crowd, where Chicago art enthusiasts admired the work visible at night.

The latest public art piece installed as part of the Wabash Arts Corridor went up January 25
It was an excellent turn out for the opening reception of “Descending to Heaven” held at Elephant Room, Inc., an intimate gallery in close proximity to the mural. Crowds gathered to celebrate the artwork funded through Darryll's successful Kickstater campaign, where many in attendance were donors themselves – and now curators of public art! Ever since the mural went up Darryll has been receiving an overwhelming amount of press, including articles and studio interviews by media outlets such as DNAinfo, the Chicagoist, and WCIU  among others.

The location of Darryll's mural has made it the center-piece of the public art corridor, facing Columbia College's Papermakers garden and visible by foot, car and even train for those on Wabash and 8th or riding the rails between the Roosevelt and Harold Washington stops.

Together Darryll Schiff the artist and Mark Kelly the architect behind the Wabash Arts Corridor delivered a heartfelt speech on the fruition of this passion project, that has been in the works since March of 2015. Mark jokingly commented that Darryll, a soft spoken man with a gutsy attitude wanted a piece of this and gave us a great piece of art. Darryll, with that same gutsy attitude joked back that his involvement with the Chicago public art scene wouldn't stop here, but there will be larger works on the horizon.  

Darryll is so excited to finally have his mural up, stay tuned for more exciting news and more regular posts! Thank you to everyone who helped make this exciting public art piece happen! - Lauren Ike 

Saturday, September 12, 2015


Mock Up Image for Mural Installation at 710 S. Wabash, South facing wall ©Darryll Schiff All Rights Reserved

The team at Darryll Schiff Fine Art is thrilled to announce a new project to showcase Darryll Schiff's acclaimed photographic works in Chicago's Wabash Arts Corridor (WAC). Darryll Schiff will be joining the likes of Shepard Fairey (OBEY series, Obama HOPE), Cleon Peterson, POSE, RETNA, Hebru Brantley, Ben Eine, Heidi Unkefer, Jacob Watts and Never 2501 who already have large scale art works featured indefinitely as part of the Wabash Arts Corridor. This outdoor mural project is part of the growth and expansion of one of Chicago's major emerging art scenes. 

"Harmony" by ©Ben Eine, East facing wall of 525 S. State Street

The WAC’s latest installments include the works of international and local artists at the top of their fields.  For those who don’t know – Darryll Schiff is a Chicago-based fine art photographer with works in numerous museums, businesses and private residence around the world.  Some of the many noteworthy institutions that are home to Darryll’s work include the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and Columbia College’s very own Museum of Contemporary Photography. 
"The Provocateurs" mural by ©Cleon Peterson at 634 S. Wabash Avenue
"Moose Bubblegum Bubble" by ©Jacob Watts at 33 E. Congress Street South facing Wall

Part of Darryll’s vision is to always exhibit larger, no matter how massive the size.  We are excited to pursue this urban art platform to showcase work that is larger than life! We will be launching a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for this project, please contribute to help expand Chicagoland’s arts community.  The WAC Council is dedicated to the development of this project and future projects of its kind.  Your funds will be used to pursue Darryll Schiff’s exciting public art endeavor with the WAC to greater benefit the arts community of Chicago. In fact, coming soon to the Wabash Arts Corridor is "The Wabash Lights" a project similarly Kickstarted by art professionals Jack C. Newell and Seth Unger. The Wabash Lights is a site specific light installation on the underside of the Wabash Avenue elevated tracks in the Chicago South Loop.

"The Provocateurs" by RETNA at 33 E. Congress Street South facing wall
"The Provocateurs" Mural by ©Shepard Fairey at 916 S. Wabash Avenue
Formed by Columbia College Chicago, the WAC seeks to turn the budding arts community of Chicago’s South Loop into a dynamic arts corridor rich with creativity and culture.  The WAC Council has brought us innovative projects in the past including the installation of large scale fashion photography on the exterior of the Hilton Chicago, a mural project on George’s Lounge, the expansion of Columbia College’s papermaker’s garden, the installation of student-artist Jacob Watt's large scale arts banner hung at 33 E. Congress, a new mural by talented aumni artist Heidi Unkefer and murals from acclaimed street artists Shepard Fairey, Cleon Peterson, POSE, RETNA, Hebru Brantely, Ben Eine and Never 2501. 
©Never 2501 at 59 E. Van Buren Street
The WAC offers a unique experience provided by today’s most compelling artists. The majority of fine art is found in well-preserved galleries and museum spaces for viewing pleasure at a cost, or for purchase at an even higher cost.  What the WAC provides differently is free art to the public, and artworks at a much larger scale with more possibilities than ever imaginable.  Our intent is to create something special for the public to experience and enjoy everyday completely free of charge.

Mural by ©Heidi Unkefer located at 623 S. Wabash Avenue on the South facing wall 

Please stay tuned for the launch of our Kickstarter and make a donation! We are excited to get this project up and running and to contribute to the success of the Wabash Arts Corridor! In the mean time, check out these amazing artists in the city of Chicago! - Lauren Ike

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Schiff, Obama, The Oscars: A Look at Selfies

When defining "The Selfie" it is easy to grasp the surface meaning of the word.  Pop culture celebrates the selfie genre on social media platforms across the board for the act of self portraiture that elicits some level of self confidence, posting a photo of oneself, while perhaps insecurely fishing for compliments or the less-cumbersome equivalent of likes, follows, favorites and retweets. However, taking a more profound look at "The Selfie" as esoteric of an idea that is, we can find in the digital era of social media both connectivity and dis-connectivity.  The essence of this practice is never candid, but an intentional expression of the self.  The appeal comes from the control the photographer has over how they represent themselves to the public. Even if the portrait taker seeks gratification from peers, there is a poetic empowerment that can be felt through the celebration of one's presence in their environment.

2014 Oscar Host Ellen DeGeneres takes a selfie with Jared Leto, Jennifer Lawerence, Merryll Streep, Channing Tatum, Julia Roberts, Kevin Spacey, Brad Pitt, Lupita Nyong'o, Angelina Jolie, Peter Nyong'o and Bradley Cooper

David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox takes a selfie with President Obama. 

Where moments in time are ephemeral, we age drastically and change physically over the years; the photographs we take are a documentation of time and place.  We capture a serene connection to our past and that which surrounds us.  The knowledge that the eight of our very finger can encapsulate this memory is powerful, so the deliberate use of this tool to capture ourselves is inherently beautiful.  However, when a flood of images acts as each individual shouting "I am here!" collectively, it often amounts to dissonance and becomes white noise.  It is important to remember, not all pictures are worth a thousand words.  Is how you present yourself a powerful impression or entirely unimpressionable?  This body of work looks at today's technology and the selfie practice in both a cynical and existential light.

©Darryll Schiff All Rights Reserved 

"The Selfie" can be viewed as heavily existential as it affirms the existence of oneself.  Similarly, shadows remain evidence of our physical self.  Spilling on the floor where it is dragged weightlessly across the earth, our shadows are our traveling companions on a bright and sunny day, or a reminder of where we stand on nights illuminated by streetlights.  Our shadows capture our body language and posture, acting as a second indicator of our moods when looked upon carefully.  Notice our shadows can be caught in the act of nail biting, slouched over or standing up straight, each a statement about our emotional state.  More outright, our shadow is an indication of or presence, it bares our shape elongated or shortened by the surrounding light and objects it is cast upon.  Darryll intentionally captures his shadow intwined with that of his girlfriend's to showcase this exploration of self through reflection.  His photo is a playful image capturing his feet and shadow with that of his girlfriend's over tiled pavement; the composition mirrors this subject through a grid of repeated images and shapes.  Darryll cleverly creates a square tile from tiled imagery with nuanced changes in direction and placement of the self.

©Darryll Schiff All Rights Reserved

Another technical mechanism typical of "The Selfie" is the use of reflective surfaces or mirrors.  Darryll plays with this reflective imagery through his "In Vista" photographs.  Reflections are the consequence of light, which also happens to be the essence of photography.  It is common knowledge that a surface meant to be peered through can act as a reflective devise, dimly tracing our figure as we look on through.  A window can mirror in surprising detail the shape of your eyes, even capturing your translucent eye color, reflecting your very being and the environment in which you stand all while revealing what lies on the other side of the glass.  This illusion can be achieved without the aid of a camera, it is a common occurrence to peer back at yourself in the glass door while entering a department store or catch a glimpse of yourself while staring absent-mindedly outside the car window.  It makes perfect sense to capture this phenomenon, to photograph your reflection as a selfie.  How you depict yourself in this moment defines the nature of your selfie, posing suggestively, throwing a piece sign or documenting what occurs naturally; leaving the blank expression of your face, the shutter closes but a moment and opens as strands of your hair blow out of place.

©Darryll Schiff All Rights Reserved 

Adopting his own perspective of "street photography" Darryll uses this idea of reflective properties to locate the perfect scene of onlookers in their natural element.  The cast of movie-goers stand, facing their reflections clutching tickets in hand perhaps looking for their companions, patiently awaiting their arrival.  Darryll's unique style of photography captures the crowd in multiple exposures, gathering their essence in a series of movements overlapping.  Other reflective images focus on the mirroring of bodies in movement, too bsy to take note of their reflection, wile others take a quick glance o themselves to affirm an attractive appearance.

©Darryll Schiff All Rights Reserved

Other works highlight the technology we are absorbed in present-day.  Pixelated and glowing, Darryll calls this photographic body of work "Rapture", where subjects are en-tranced by digital media.  Darryll conveys through this series the way we are often washed away by glowing screens and brightly lit words.  Through overuse of technology, our personality is lost in an autopilot drone while our eyes are glued to a screen and our bodies wander aimlessly.  Darryll deliberately shoots his abstract frames as heavily layered images, showing our sense of distraction when confronted with digital media in public places.  We wear LED colored lenses, recording our trivial routine and posting it with a hashtag.  Darryll's digital process showcases wht it is like to live in the digital era.  Self reflective or self absorbed we post pictures of ourselves as a common procedure.  Are these acts truly self aware or are we merely swept away in the selfie?

©Darryll Schiff All Rights Reserved 

We hope you enjoyed this insight on "The Selfie", stay tuned for exciting news regarding Darryll Schiff and his fine art.  He has some big projects in the works and we can't wait to share! Until next time - Lauren Ike 

Friday, June 19, 2015


If you're a resident of the city of Chicago, chances are you've noticed street artist illustrator and fine art painter, Hebru Brantely has taken on the Chicago art scene by storm.  Not only will you find him in galleries, such as Vertical Gallery in Bucktown, but you can also find his art popping up all over Chicago neighborhoods - just keep an eye out for his signature style and acclaimed characters, such as his anime inspired "Fly Boy, Fly Girl and Friends."

Nike Running Bucktown mural by ©Hebru Brantely 

Friday June 6th marked the opening of Hebru's solo exhibition "Memoirs of the Minimum Wage" at Vertical Gallery, a cozy Bucktown gallery that caters to urban, contemporary and street art. This date also marked the completion of Brantley's recent addition to the Wabash Arts Corridor titled, "Chi Boy." Brantely joins the likes of Shepard Fairey (OBEY series, Obama HOPE), Celon Peterson, POSE and RETNA who already have large-scale artworks featured indefinitely as part of the Wabash Arts Corridor.  The mural "Chi Boy" is part of the growth and expansion of Chicago's major emerging art scene in the South Loop, though it is far from the first outdoor mural composed by the artist who has numerous works across the city and was commissioned by Nike in the past to create a mural on the side of their Bucktown location.  

"Chi Boy" 1132 S. Wabash mural by ©Hebru Brantley

At his solo show you will find sketch book illustrations of comic super heroes re-envisioned as children of different races springing to life in color and composition.  These playful images read nostalgic renderings of a past 80s culture but hold relevance today with surprising titles such as "Sleepy Folks who use to live on the low end that shot Darius brother" and "Sky High (No Money for Cocaine)" or "Off Duty" the title of a mixed media painting depicting an off duty super hero drinking alone at a bar. Brantely's work evokes aspects of magical realism in how it convinces the viewer to accept magic in an otherwise rational world. Brantley's narratives offer an insight on his life and the lives of his peers growing up on the South Side of Chicago but in a way that is fragmented by fantasy.  The characters embody childhood imagination paired with often bleak realities that these heroes must overcome. 

"Off Duty" by ©Hebru Brantley

The work on exhibition at Vertical Gallery is much smaller-scale than works I've seen of  Brantely's in the past, whether in pop up shows or as installations such his "The Watch" a sixteen figure sculpture arrangement erected on Michigan Avenue featuring a variety of colorful young super heroes.  Though the size is significantly scaled back in comparison, the work remains as powerful as ever.  These intimate mixed media works read as childhood illustrations, created in a variety of mediums that include acrylic paint on canvas, water color and ink, charcoal on paper, resin and acrylic sculptures and limited edition screen prints.  Each image is construed in the same world, a colorful cartoon-land with endless possibilities coexisting with harsh realities.  Hebru is honest when portraying his hometown of Chicago, a city with a lot of talent, passion and promise that is still suffering from violence, poverty and corruption. 

      Right: "Back in Time" ©Hebru Brantely  Left: "Fly Boy, Fly Boy" ©Hebru Brantley 

In a lot of ways Hebru Brantley takes on the role of an art activist with his works, for instance, "The Watch" the installation mentioned above was Hebru's contribution to Chicago Ideas Week. The work is meant to represent the troubles youths face in Chicago neighborhoods. In fact, the work was inspired by conversations Brantely had with students from Chicago Public High Schools that are part of Chicago Ideas Week YOU(th) program. "The Watch" both act as metaphor for the student's ability to rise above challenges in the urban environment while also paying homage to the Tuskegee Airmen, the first African-American military aviators who fought in World War II as part of the United States armed forces. While this work focuses on social issues, it breeds optimism for Chicago's youth.

"The Watch" by ©Hebru Brantley

When thinking of colorful, visually pleasing art that transcends a thoughtful message to the viewer I can't help but to also think of Darryll Schiff's The Parade Commences as part of his "Descending to Heaven" series, a photographic body of work that reflects on the way humanity is easily swept up in ideals and movements.  Often times people find themselves eager to follow like flocks of sheep, whether it's an articulate dictator or Ghandi leading them.  The works serve as an expression of mankind, moving out of the darkness to further enlightenment.  But Schiff allows for the viewer to interpret themselves, whether it is true enlightenment or a false belief.  Schiff hopes to convey through this piece a bright side to humanity, as it calls upon viewers to reflect on the prophets we follow and the paths we choose freely.  The work reminds individuals that power comes from movement, but we must think introspectively and see true good before we can follow blindly.

"The Parade Commences" ©Darryll Schiff All Rights Reserved 

Both Hebru Brantely and Darryll Schiff are socially mindful artists offering their perspective of life, and more commonly, life in the urban sprawl of Chicago Illinois. Both artists call Chicago their hometown and place of work.  Check out their websites to see more art: and

Stay tuned for more news on fine art photographer Darryll Schiff, the Chicago art scene and exciting announcements regarding the Wabash Arts Corridor! - Lauren Ike