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E.K. Buckley grew up outside of Chicago in Park Ridge. She graduated from the University of Kansas in Lawrence and later attended the Pallet & Chisel School of Fine Arts back in Chicago. She rented a studio in 1999 in Chicago's Flat Iron building where she connected with the artists that would lead to CHARCOLL.

Buckley and her husband, Christopher Johnson, founded the Chicago Artists' Collective in early 2000. Buckley found spaces and produced shows while Johnson created this website. Together they organized exhibitions. Buckley and Johnson ran it themselves until a 3,000 square foot warehouse was offered them by local Chicago real estate royalty, the Podmajerskys. Buckley and Johnson lived a block away from the space in her favorite Chicago neighborhood, Pilsen.

That was in 2004. CHARCOLL ran back to back shows in Pilsen on Halsted's gallery stretch between 18th and 19th Street. CHARCOLL evolved into a tight collaboration led by Buckley and Johnson with directors Zsofia Otvos, Clara Batton Smith and Melissa Kolbusz. These core artists produced shows that exhibited up to thirty artists and performers at a time, and they continued to work together through 2007.

Buckley moved to Brooklyn in '07 and began showing in Red Hook, a neighborhood doppelganger of Pilsen. On the first of the year moved her studio to the MadArts warehouse a few blocks from her home in South Slope. For more information about Charcoll, visit For for more about Buckley, you can visit her blog at

artist's statement
I make subconscious figurative imagery. I'm drawn to martyrs, whores and the sea. I'm fond of birds. Music and writing fuel a lot of the imagery that evolves as paint is applied. I love savage and brutal work that maintains beauty. Some of the work I think of as stained glass windows for my imaginary church. I make up the saints. Others I would describe as bookplates, some from real texts, some not.

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