Saturday, December 11, 2010

Chuck Wilkinson: Illustrator, artist, spiritual mentor, friend.

Note: please click on the pictures for a larger view!

Sacrificial Lamb

Obituary (partial)

Wilkinson, Charles W., age 78, December 4, 2010. Chuck was born in Detroit, Michigan, and studied art at Pratt Institute in New York. ...his illustrations have been widely used in both publications and advertising as well as limited edition prints and originals. His works have been on exhibit in New York and Detroit and have received numerous awards. His life style paintings, done in egg tempera, evoke an elegance of an earlier era and have become synonymous with American Nostalgia.

Chuck was one of my teachers at College for Creative Studies in Detroit, back in the late 1970s. I was in his Illustration class, of which I have many fond memories. I stayed in touch with Chuck off and on over the years. Withing the last ten years, we were in much closer contact, I'm happy to say.

Chuck enriched my life in so many ways-- as a teacher, an artist, a spiritual mentor, and as a dear friend. You couldn't find a kinder, gentler, more giving person.

Chuck was very successful as an illustrator. He worked out of Detroit, but was also represented by a major artist rep in New York, providing him with a lot of nationally-based work as well. Chuck did his share of advertising illustration over the years, but his work had more of an "editorial" look, and in fact, that is where much of his work appeared-- as illustrations for magazine articles, stories, book covers, etc.

Chuck was a committed Christian; he dedicated his life to Jesus. As the years went on, he did less and less commercial work, and focused on what he referred to as his "parable paintings". This is not your typical saccharine "Christian art". Chuck's allegorical paintings are rich with symbolism and metaphor, filled with deep meaning, and often with a bit of Chuck's subtle sense of humor as well.

Today, any serious working artist has a presence on the Internet-- usually a personal website, sometimes just a blog (ahem). Chuck's years as an illustrator of note were before the Internet came into play. As pretty much an "old school" type of guy, he didn't even have a computer (as far as I know). Thus, there has been little to no work of Chuck's to be found online. I've been meaning to rectify this situation for some time; there is no time like the present.

I shot these photographs of Chuck's works a few years ago. too bad it has taken his passing to get me motivated to post them. Better late than never, I suppose.

Guardian Angel

Son Ship

According to Chuck, the "angel" is actually Lucifer.
Chuck: "Look-- Jesus is wearing a Timex! Hahaha!"

World Prison Systems Inc.

Note the paintings by Impressionist masters on the wall-- Cezanne, Monet, Degas, etc.

Pentecost Junction
(Sorry about the reflections-- this one is under glass.)

God bless Chuck Wilkinson-- he has been a real blessing to many, many people over the years. Chuck's legacy lives not only in his art, but especially in the way he has touched so many of us. God willing, hopefully we can pass at least something of this on to the other people in our lives.

Note: I have done my best to give these paintings their correct titles-- I have probably made some errors.