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  • Writer's pictureLake Shore Dive

Spotlight On: Dail Kirkpatrick, Visual Artist

Updated: Nov 11, 2018

Inspired by linear elements and organic shapes, Dail shares how her story as an artist and educator came full circle.

Dail Kirkpatrick felt a pull towards the arts at a young age. Taking as many classes as she could starting in the fourth grade until the end of high school, art programs introduced her to her first mediums of graphite and colored pencils. It was in high school that her art teacher pushed her to pursue art education as well as her personal artistic development, which resonates with her to this day. The importance of arts in the school system is powerful; it helps kids find balance, creates a healthy outlet of expression, and in Dail’s case, shaped a career path.

Dail Kirkpatrick, Instagram

Now an art educator herself, Dail teaches art at a junior high school on the west side of the city, and is currently pursuing a graduate degree in Professional Education.

Dail's medium of choice still happens to be gel pens and colored pencils, and her artistic style is easy to pinpoint: look for the “large organic shapes of color with linear elements.” Those linear elements started out as depictions of piles of yarn, inspired by her failed attempt at learning to crochet. Now, they’re a staple that have taken on different forms.

Color is significant in Dail's work as well, experimenting with color theory in many of her drawings. She’s fond of using combinations of monochromatic, cool, and warm color schemes with flashes of primary color. “My color choices are reflective of the mood I am in when I sit down to create.” The use of color can evoke certain emotions, which is another aspect that Dail incorporates into her art.

Dail Kirkpatrick, Instagram

Many artists find it pivotal to be recognized and acclaimed for their work, which Dail has experienced in thorough participation in art shows and galleries. Even as a teacher, her skills have been recognized with multiple teaching awards. In combining art and education, Dail gets to blend two things that she loves everyday, but her biggest career achievements happen inside the classroom. “Making connections to my students who don't always fit in and who can really feel like themselves in my classroom - that's why I do what I do.”

Follow Dail on Instagram to keep up with her recent work.

Get to know Dail below and check out her custom playlist on Spotify!

Favorite part about the Chicago creative community?

The support and inspiration.

Favorite TV show?

The Office.

Favorite cocktail?

Moscow Mules and Margaritas.

Favorite Chicago artist?

This is tough! I'm a big fan of Nick Cave, and Kerry James Marshall, but also Lauren Asta and Hebru Brantley.

Favorite spot in Chicago?

I actually have two favorites: 1) The Art Institute of Chicago (I volunteer in the Ryan Education Center every other Saturday and 2.) Handlebar


"Spotlight On" is a weekly series highlighting Chicago creatives with a twist. We share a slice of their stories and what they love, hoping to inspire and connect.

Words by Jasmine Muldrow


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