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Jonathan Franklin



University of Michigan,    BFA


    Born in Michigan, the son of a civil engineer, Jonathan Franklin spent much of his childhood in Vietnam, Bangladesh, and Indonesia.  After studying art at the University of Michigan, he moved to Israel where he lived on a kibbutz and began painting and working as printmaker.  During that period he also served in the Israeli Army.


     He is a teaching artist in public schools and has worked in theater both as a set designer and performer.   Jonathan has been a visual artist for over 45 years and lives Oak Park, Illinois. 

Brief Statement

              Figurative subjects and portraits have always been central to my work.     

          Whether on canvas, paper, or a mix of media, I enjoy exploring many     

          versions of the face and figurative form we see in our minds eye. 

               As I attempt to portray these images, I wrestle with competing forces of

          harmony and disorder. The shape of this tension is expressed in the form

          of dissonance.  It is a struggle I welcome every day.

Links to Articles

Devin Rose, Oak Park artist connects with his viewers while painting murals on train embankment, Wednesday   Journal, July 19, 2012.  

Ken Reif, "Meet Jonathan Franklin," Oak Park-River Forest Patch, May 25, 2012.





Active Activities


Visual Artist - Has been a widely exhibited artist for over 45 years, 

              concentrating on painting and works on paper


Teaching Artist - Conceived, planned and taught art and programs with

              students ranging from pre-K  to 8 in public, charter, and parochial

              schools for over 20 years.  Presented professional development art

              workshops for teachers as well as multi-week/month residency

              programs for students that integrated art into the classrooms.   


Muralist – Has conceived and created many murals in public and private 

              settings.  Also planned and created numerous murals with   

              students in public school settings


Writer - Has written over a dozen short stories, two plays, and hundreds of


              Also dozens of books related to his own artwork, numerous

              children’s books and political parodies based on our Beloved



Past Activities


Set Designer /Scene Painter  (1999-2010) – conceived and built sets as

               scenic designer for numerous theater companies 


Mask Maker/Prop Builder (1999-2010) - Conceived and created works for

               many adult and children’s theatrical productions, designing, 

               painting backdrops, constructing sets, also building props,

               masks, puppets, and costumes.


Puppeteer (1982-1984) – performed and traveled with Rusty Steiger



Printmaking Assistant (1979-1981)   

                Artist and Sculptors Studio, Tel Aviv, Israel - was a teaching

                and printmaking assistant as well as printed special artist




  • OPAL 'Stone Soup'  2nd Place, 2015

  • Illinois Arts Council Fellowship, 2003     

  • Hemingway Centennial Exhibit, Award of Merit, 1999

  • Art Matters Fellowship, 1995

  • Illinois Arts Council Finalist, 1990

  • First Place, Regeneration Art Auction, 1989




A broader view of the range of work that I do on paper and canvas.



A personal perspective on some of my latest works and projects.

2010 - present

2010 - present

Commissions and Murals

2021  Twins, Oak Park, IL

2018  The Magician, Oak Park, IL

2012   The Three Mikes, Oak Park, IL

2016   Man in a Box, Oak Park, IL

2012   Katie’s Wahl,  Oak Park, IL

2011   Brush Ups, Oak Park, IL

2000-2007  Viaduct Stories, Hephzibah House, Oak Park, IL

2005   CSS 25th Anniversary Mural, Brookfield, IL    

1999   Life Notes, Open Door Repertory Company, Oak Park, IL

1997-99, 2005 (reinstalled) Rush Hour, Oak Park, IL

1995  Flying, Children's Museum of Oak Park , Oak Park, IL

1994-95  Irving School, 1125 Cuyler, Oak Park, IL

Public Art 

2008  Pigs,  Oak Park, IL

2007  Cool Globes, Chicago, IL

2006  Dinosaurs, Sci Tech Museum, Aurora, IL

2006  Pigs on Parade, Oak Park, IL

2001  Suite Home Chicago Project, Chicago, IL



Represented in collections in both the U.S. and Europe

The Art Institute of Chicago



© 2022 by Jonathan Franklin    Call 708-415-7129

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