One of a Kind Show


Art that Moves You: Get to Know These One of a Kind Makers

11 . 10 . 2021

With the wide range of art offered at this year's One of a Kind Holiday Show, you are sure to find something that "speaks" to you or your loved ones! We caught up with three talented visual artists to find out more about them and their work ahead of the upcoming show.

Contemporary artist Kevin Lahvic participates in more than two dozen art openings annually, including the One of a Kind Holiday Show each December. He also operates a studio and gallery in the historic Flat Iron Arts Building located in the heart of Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood.

Describe your work.

Kevin: Primarily, textural mixed media paintings on stretched canvas. My paintings extend to the edges of the canvas and the pieces are meant to be hung up framed.

My paintings normally fall into one of several ongoing “Series” of works, each with their own theme. Like Faces, Shelter, Doodle Abstractions, and Seeing Red. I am told that my work makes people happy. I like that.

Where does your inspiration come from?

Kevin: Life, nature, people, in general the basic human experience of living. I like to feel like I’m contributing something positive to the world with my work…a smile, a laugh, a sigh of contentment.

What is the best gift you ever received?

Kevin: The gift of creativity. I’m thankful every day.

Catherine Elizabeth is a Chicago-based collage artist. Her pieces, constructed using exclusively upcycled newspaper, exist to both tell stories and preserve memories. Each piece takes a minimum of 20-30 hours to create and is made with over 100 hand-cut or torn pieces of newspaper. Catherine Elizabeth’s unique medium beautifully captures places special to her and images she dreams up.

How and why did you decide to become an artist?

Catherine: Well…it really fell into my lap. I was working in corporate events for five years when March 2020 hit, and I was laid off from my job due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I used my time in quarantine to finish a collage I had started years before. From there, I continued to be inspired and just kept creating. At the urging of friends and family who loved my work, I opened an Etsy shop and launched Catherine Elizabeth as a full-time business.

Where does your inspiration come from?

Catherine: I grew up spending summers in Northern Michigan near the beautiful Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. In summer 2011, while visiting my grandparent’s cottage, I wanted to create something that captured, visually, what I see each summer and the nostalgia I feel when visiting a place that has been in my family since the 1970s. The only tools and materials I had available were a pair of scissors, a local newspaper, and some glue. So, I started cutting, tearing, and arranging. Today, I continue to be inspired by everyday objects, places unique to me, and scenes I dream up. My work has expanded to include more of the Great Lakes states, landscapes, florals, and Chicago residential architecture.

What does handmade mean to you?

Catherine: Handmade products are a labor of love.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

After losing my job, I felt a bit lost and unsure of what would come next. The past year and a half have been defined by the word “adventure.” The adventure of saying “yes.” It’s a short word but one with a potentially significant impact. When success is measured by effort and improvement, it becomes something we can control. That encourages mastery and confidence, taking you places you never thought you could go. All because you said, "YES!" So, to those yearning for an adventure or change, choose a direction and just go. However, hold your plans loosely. You never know; you may end up being an artist!

Dara Schuman is a ceramicist based in Chicago, IL. She works full-time out of The Digs Chicago, an artist run studio collective that houses ceramicists and other artists. The bulk of Dara's work includes vases of varying funky shapes in a spectrum of colors. Aside from this style of work, Dara also focuses on creating highly detailed, fine artwork.

How and why did you decide to become an artist?

Dara: Becoming a full-time ceramicist was never my plan. I took my first ceramics class in high school and really loved it. I had a natural talent for it but thought it was something that would always be a hobby and not an actual career. So, I went to college and studied ecology and environmental studies instead. Throughout college however, I was constantly thinking about what to create and spent every minute of my downtime making ceramic art. My passion for the art form increased even more in college. After graduating, I began to look for jobs. Nothing excited me and I felt that I was conforming to the path that I was supposed to take: get a career-oriented job right after college and work my way to higher positions.

For a year after college I felt completely lost and was working at Whole Foods to pay rent. All the while, I felt ceramics pulling me. I was always upset that I couldn't dedicate all of my time to art. I decided that I would quit my job at Whole Foods and try to make and sell ceramics. It hasn't been easy but that was the best decision I have ever made and I am so happy that I decided to follow my own path in life. There is this misconception that being a full time artist is a constant struggle and cannot be a career, but I'm proving that notion wrong one day at a time.

Apart from creating things, what do you do?

Dara: Making art takes up most of my time but when I am not creating I like staying active and going on bike rides, runs and skiing in the winter. I like to visit home in Wisconsin where I garden with my dad and take walks through forests with my parents looking for mushrooms and insects. I also really enjoy listening to music and dancing with friends at shows or clubs. I am most importantly an avid dog-petter.

What handmade possession do you most cherish?

Dara: I have a handmade necklace that was passed down to me from my great grandmother. It is around 100 years old and I wear it imagining what the world was like during its creation and what my great grandmother was doing. I am in awe at how intricate the piece is and find it fascinating that it was handmade by a jeweler so many years ago. It's amazing how art is passed down generation after generation and is cherished by so many people.

Meet these talented artists and more when the One of a Kind Holiday Show returns this December!