Tony Fitzpatrick’s Birds in Cages-A Peek-a-Boo Project

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I discovered Tony Fitzpatrick on Pinterest after a foot surgery many years ago. In his ongoing series “The Secret Birds”, Tony Fitzpatrick intricately draws and layers images, poetry and found materials onto the page. He combines inspiration from his working class roots in Chicago, and influences from folk art, comic book characters, and tattoo imagery in his trademark style on view. Each drawn collage depicts a specific species, ranging from the Peregrine Falcon, to the common “immigrant” Starling. Tony Fitzpatrick’s earliest drawings as a child were of birds. He credits his Grandmother for instilling in him a sense of wonder and reverence for a creature she believed inspired hope, telling him, “for the price of a crust of bread you can hear God sing”. “Each bird becomes a “visitation to her”, says Fitzpatrick.

As a mixed media artist I was intrigued by his collage like images with layers unifying diverse and eclectic items. He is the inspiration for this artwork.

  1. Gather Supplies.
  2. Print Tony Fitzpatrick Images Sized to Fit into GSLC Cages with Solid Backs.
  3. Paint Top Layer of GSLC Cages with Metallic Paints.
  4. Add Patina by Making a Wash of VanDyke Brown Hue Paint and Water.
  5. Find Magazine Images To Use as Backgrounds of Your GSLC Cages.
  6. Trace and Cut to Size.
  7. Use a UHU GlueStick to Glue Magazine Images to back of GSKC Cages.
  8. Cut Out Birds from Printed Images.
  9. Use a Green Highlighter to Soften the Edges of Bird Cutouts.
  10. Glue Birds to Backgrounds with an UHU GlueStick. 
  11. Use a UHU GlueStick to Glue With Pieces of GSLC Cages with Solid Backs Together.
  12. Dry Completely Pressed Down with a Heavy Object.
  13. Use Acrylic Paints in Autumnal Colors to Paint Wooden Leaves.
  14. Secure Painted Wooden Leaves With Heavy Matte Gel Medium.

Final Thoughts

“Fitzpatrick’s is a narrative journey and the birds become a catalyst for self examination. They play symbolic roles some delivering otherworldly messages and cautionary tales, while others serve to commemorate and eulogize late writers like Gabriel García Márquez and he gives a soulful tribute to the Chicago songwriter and rhythm and blues legendary musician Otis Clay. His interests are numerous, and his narratives are reflections on his travels, social and political concerns or they become commentaries on the inequities and injustices found in Chicago and beyond.”

I like that Tony Fitzpatrick is a self taught artists as I am. As self taught artist does not follow the rules. They follow their hearts and create what they want. Because I never have had a class on Color Theory I do not know that some colors are not suppose to go together and I use colors that appeal to me. I take inspiration from nature with its wildness, unbridled regard for our wants or desires. Nature speaks its own language and surprises us with it beauty and recklessness. 

There are many name given to my style of art: Art Brut, Outsider Art, Neuve Invention,Marginal Art, Art Singular, Folk Art, Visionary Art, Intuitive, and Naive Art. 

 Our art is raw, “uncooked”, created uninhibitedly.  We are eccentric if only in our own minds. We may see ourself on the fringes or run the margins. My backwoods upbringing caused me to be resourceful and creative. Folk Art was in my blood as my mom’s family were crocheters, tatters, knitter, yard art not quite whirligigs but more of junk art sculptures.

A famous Bob Ross Quote: “We don’t make mistakes, just little happy accidents.”

I always like this quote by Jacob Nordby-

“Blesses are the weird people: Poets, misfits, writers, mystics, painters, troubadours, for they teach us to see the world through different eyes”

Supplies:  GSLC 2 Inch Cage with Solid Back , 3-GSLC 3 Inch Cage with Solid Back , Printed Images of Tony Fitzpatrick Birds, Magazine Images, Scissors, UHU GlueStick, Metallic Paint, Van Dyke Brown Hue Paint, Paintbrush, Green Highlighter, Wooden Leaves, Acrylic Paints In Autumn Tones, Heavy Gell Matte Medium,

I cannot wait to see your interpretation of this project. Share it on the Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts Craft Group Page on Facebook. I would love to see what new creations you are working on!



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