Learn How Gallery 37 Helped Shape Jonathan Carradine’s Career in Art

Introduce yourself

My name is Jonathan Carradine. I am a visual artist, illustrator and graphic designer from Chicago. Born and Raised in West Humboldt Park.

When did you get into drawing as a kid?

It was in 1997 and I was a quiet kid in 3rd grade. Michael Jordan and The Bulls were ongoing for the 5th championship that year and Growing up here you couldn’t escape and deny the impact they had in the city. One day during my gym period, I remember one of my friends showed me this Basketball With a very detailed Bull drawn on it. I think it was a 7th or 8th grader basketball. After school, I went home and started drawing what I remembered how the bull looked. While I didn’t get it right the first time, I didn’t give up. It eventually led me to my interest in art because my mom would buy me “how to draw” books and art supplies to practice when I’m not playing PlayStation games. Since then, Art has always been apart of me.

Was illustrating and graphic design just the natural transition from drawing?

At first, I would like to think it would be a natural transition but then I found out it’s not. Going to college for graphic design, it was something new and challenging so I didn’t back down from it. I learned more about the Adobe Creative Suite, typography, vectors, photography and digital pre-press that it made me a more versatile creative. I still remember my Portfolio 2 teacher pulling me aside and said: “While you are improving in your design work, Illustration is your biggest strength.” Most of my digital art is created using Adobe Illustrator and I use Adobe Photoshop for animation, mocking up for a project and my urban photography work.


How much did Gallery 37 help develop your creative talents?

Gallery 37 was very important to me as a teen. I was an apprentice for drawing and painting in 2005 and an advanced apprentice for animation in 2006. To be learning new techniques and tools in art and animation with creative peers and instructors was an incredible experience. It taught me a lot about collaboration, hard work, and dedication to your craft to create something memorable. It was also great to showcase our finish product to our family and friends at the Chicago Cultural Center. Plus, the check was an added incentive too.

What was it like creating the artwork for the book “The Unlikely Tale of the Royal Elite Squad”

It was an unforgettable experience. When the author, D. A. Alston, and Vital Narrative Press reached out to me about creating the cover and illustration for her book in 2015, I was extremely honored and grateful for the opportunity. They sent me a brief about the story and It was something I wanted to be a part of. The story is about 4 girls from diverse backgrounds in high school, who became superheroes from an accident. While each one came from different cultures, they became close and be a powerful force. I created the illustrations using Adobe Illustrator and everything was created within April 2016 through June 2016. I even created the marketing for the book release. Before the book release in October 2016, I found out that my sister would have a baby girl so I look forward to the day that she can read the book, inspired her to do extraordinary things, and Be proud of her uncle’s artwork. Can’t wait to show my best work for the next one.


Out of all the pieces you’ve made over these past 10 years, what has been your favorite?

I can’t really pick a favorite because I do have a few favorites. I can speak about two though. For my senior project in college, I’ve created a Chicago Magazine called AreoSoul. While I sent numerous emails to artists for the main interview, None didn’t reply back. My friend and classmate Jamal helped me get one with Max Sansing. We went to his apartment on the Southside, did the interview, shown me his amazing paintings and hung out afterward. I’ve learned a lot from him. He was and still is a great person and one of the best artists in the city today. That was one of the days that I wanted to become more serious with my art. Another One that stands out was a drawing I did of Jean Baptiste DuSable for the “Happy Birthday, Chicago” by Echoes of Chicago at Block 37 in 2015. I found out about the founder of Chicago through reading about the city at a young age so doing a piece of him would make sense. A lot of people don’t know about the founder of the city so after speaking to people about his life, his entrepreneurial spirit, and how it influenced the city was something unbelievable and special.