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.
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.
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
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org