Picturing Evanston

Leopold Segedin

What brought you to Evanston?
We moved to Evanston in 1967 because my wife and I wanted to raise our kids in a varied cultural environment. Also, Evanston had the best qualities of urban Chicago and suburban North Shore with few of their disadvantages. We had easy access to both with the ‘El’. We were able to find a house with adequate space to raise children and for me to work.

How does your environment inform your art?
It doesn’t. In so far as environment affects my work, I am still a West Side, Chicago painter circa, the 1940s.

What is your medium?
Primarily acrylic, but I also use oils, inks, graphite, wax crayon and colored pencil.

Describe your art, in a hundred words or less.
For me as an old artist, painting has not been a philosophical activity. I am not interested in defining art or in pushing its boundaries. I don’t believe in progress or in breakthroughs in the Arts. I don’t believe that my subconscious has anything especially profound to offer and I don’t want to explore
materials, express my emotions or demonstrate my creativity and originality. I still want my paintings to be about my experiences in the world, not about itself. I see my painting as the making of meaningful objects, in the same way that novels, poems, plays, films, TV presentations and symphonies are meaningful.

What are you currently working on?
I am trying to make images which encompass my life as a whole, which include the past and present as if they were one.

Name one piece of art, by any artist, that blew your mind or otherwise inspired you.
I would have to say, Michelangelo’s ‘Last Judgement’ in the Sistine Chapel, although I have been wowed by Van Eck’s Ghent Altarpiece in Bruges. I also still respond to the works of Goya, Rembrandt and the Flemish painters.

Why art?
Through painted images - we have access to the thoughts, feelings and values of peoples for whom we have no written record. From the paintings on the walls of the caves at Lascaux and Altamira - to the tombs and temples of ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome and China - the stained- glass windows at Chartres cathedral - Michelangelo’s murals in the Sistine Chapel and beyond - images have served as a means for man to give form and value to his world. In this sense, contemporary painting is part of a 35,000- year-old history of image making. Although it has no dictionary - it has its own language. By understanding this language - we learn to see the world. We apprehend the power of religion - the evils of society - and the psychology of people - as we do through any of the other Arts. The works of Monet, Michelangelo, Goya and Rembrandt can hold their own against any media. In this sense, also, painting can never disappear as a legitimate, contemporary art form any more than books or movies can.

Leopold’s website

The book
Leopold Segedin: A Habit of Art

Listen to the Lisa D Show podcast with Leopold →


Leopold Segedin:
A Habit of Art

The first book about Leopold Segedin's art,
Leopold Segedin: A Habit of Art has just been published. To learn more please visit http://www.leopoldsegedin.com/book.cfm