Kapheim Studio's New Exhibit Highlights Love of Drawing

  • "The Elephants" by Thom KapheimThom Kapheim

    "The Elephants" by Thom KapheimThom Kapheim

Updated 7/29/2021 4:25 PM

On July 31, Kapheim Studio presents its latest exhibition, "Drawing, My First Love", honoring Thom Kapheim's artistic roots. Drawing may be Thom's first love, but drawing is also what made an audience begin to love Thom's work. "Drawing is the heart and soul of my art," Kapheim says, and this particular show will highlight an extensive exhibition of important drawings from all eras of his career. Thom Kapheim grew up in North Chicago and Waukegan - the rich colors of Lake Michigan and the industrial fluidity in the lines of the factories embedded themselves in his psyche. But as a young artist, his creative passions were not outwardly nourished, although Thom's father had an artistry that was expressed in the foundry. Rather, this astonishing talent sprang from merging the environment with his observations of the human condition.

As the viewer walks through this show, it is clear that the themes of dark and light play with and off each other. By using colors and symbols that resonate deep within our collective unconscious, Kapheim's art explores the dichotomy of life and death, which is both the great human tragedy, and the only reason for living. It's hard not to be incredulous looking at his work; even one drawing is a marvel of both technique and primal creative expression. The studio as a whole, with hundreds if not thousands of pieces, is gloriously overwhelming.


The Kapheim Studio relocated to Waukegan and is housed in a beautiful downtown, 3-story building with a gallery that showcases a variety of Thom's work in many media. The 2nd floor allows Kapheim space to create sculpture and paintings of mammoth proportions. Carol, Thom's wife (and his actual first love) is a weaver and teacher of handweaving, and her many looms are warped and ready for shuttles. A 3rd floor loft overlooks Lake Michigan and is a respite away from the world. However, the loft has sculpture that some may find discomforting - there is a sense of the macabre in many corners of Kapheim Studio.

Kapheim Studio is not a place you can visit once and feel satisfied. Around each bend, behind every door, is a new intrigue. Kapheim Studio is a cornerstone of New Waukegan, and Thom's work is the foundation. The studio is a lifelong dream of Carol and Thom's come to fruition, a working studio that showcases and celebrates art while exploring the human consciousness. "Drawing, My First Love" will introduce you to a world of playful fantasies and dark realities, but Kapheim Studio will require deeper investigation to understand. Drawing, My First Love" exhibition opens Saturday, July 31 and runs through August 31 at Kapheim Studio, 122 W. Washington St. Waukegan, IL 60085.