Ed Paschke was born in 1939 and raised in a middle-class family on Chicago’s North Side and in its northern suburbs. Paschke, who was sometimes referred to as “Mr. Chicago,” is one of the city’s most beloved and recognizable artists. Along with Roger Brown, Jim Nutt, and Karl Wirsum, Paschke is considered a preeminent Chicago Imagist.
Artistic Style and Influence
Paschke was interested in art from an early age and especially fascinated with comic books. Throughout his youth, he devoted himself to various creative pursuits. In 1961, he earned a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Throughout the 1960s, Paschke’s early work was heavily influenced by pop culture and mixed scenes from television, cartoons, magazines, tattoos, the circus, and even Mexican wrestling. By the 1970s, his palette had become increasingly neon and his subjects were generally lone figures floating over fields of solid color. Quite often, Paschke’s subjects in the 1970s and 1980s were street hustlers, burlesque dancers, and others at the margins of society in Chicago.
During his own lifetime, Paschke was a local celebrity and recognized around Chicago at sporting events, bars, and restaurants. He passed away in 2004 from heart failure. One year after his death, a section of Monroe Street in downtown Chicago was named “Honorary Ed Paschke Way.” In 2014, The Ed Paschke Art Center opened on the North Side of Chicago to help preserve his artistic legacy.
Paschke’s paintings are in private collections and museums around the world, including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago), Brooklyn Museum (New York), Musee D’Art Moderne Nationale (Paris), and Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris).Contact a Specialist View all Artists/Makers