There is no secret as to why Ian M. Sherwin is one of the featured leading artists at the Field Museum. However, there is a magical essence to his creativity which makes his collective artistic abilities seem boundless. An expert in drawing, sculpting, and painting, (just to name a few), Ian also has a profound passion for teaching, specializing in helping one cultivate their inner artist.
Ian grew up in a coastal community, Marblehead, MA, which is located just near the outskirts of Boston. Throughout high school, his ingenuity was constantly recognized and he earned the prestigious Wilhelmina Denning Jackson Art Scholarship. In addition, with his assiduous artistic activity, he also received a full scholarship to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
It was during these first few years at the Art Institute where he would meet a teacher named Peggy Macnamara. She emerged to become a mentor in his life as she guided him to accept and use his internal voice. Peggy and Ian’s relationship would grow and they inevitably have become life-long friends.
When they first met, Macnamara immediately recognized Sherwin’s talent, especially in sketching, as well as his ability to adapt to other new materials and utilize the invention of his own style and manner. She encouraged his mastery and finesse in these mediums by challenging him to be the best at his creations. Peggy was also the foundation Ian needed in order for him to appreciate his own capacity and craftiness, which was one of the most valuable lessons he has ever learned that would influence his future. It was during his junior year at the institute when Peggy presented Sherwin with a rare opportunity: Macnamara gave Ian his first chance at teaching, and it was this which opened the doors for his career as an educator.
After graduation, Ian continued to develop his aptitude for teaching, as well as experiment with other artistic forms and techniques. In the meantime, Ian also became a dad and experienced the joys of fatherhood for the first time when his daughter Chloe Isabelle Sherwin was born. A few years went by and his days were abundant with classes to teach, art to create, as well as another addition to the family, a son, Charles Sherwin.
Then a most unforeseen tragedy took place.
A freak accident occurred which would permanently blind Ian in his left eye- he had lost all depth perception and only had partial vision, forever affecting his site. It was feared that his livelihood and career were over.
Fortunately, for every mishap, there must be hope, because it was this affliction that would lead Ian to the comfort of the paint brush. Although he was adequate in other forms of artistic expression, Ian preferred the effect of pencil and graphite, but this misfortune would demand that he explore other materials and methods of translating his prolific imagination.
While in recovery, Sherwin taught himself to master the ancient and intricate Japanese art of origami. He also began to incorporate certain sciences with art. With this, he explored his new-found excitement for painting and discovered innovative practices for creating unique textures and designs.
The rest is recent history.
Today, Ian has the ability to sketch to his full potential again! He uses the unexpected combination of dark room and candle light to enhance the shadows needed to perceive depth in order produce his uncannily accurate drawings.
Ian also composes written curriculum and directs art programs for the Field Museum, teaches and tutors children of all skill and development levels, as well as takes on numerous projects to quench his creative thirst through his new pride and joy, Sherwin’s Gallery.
Although, the Sherwin’s Gallery dream didn’t come into fruition until art collector, Eric Cybak, was introduced into the picture. Eric acknowledged Ian’s exquisite skill of creation within his masterpieces, as well as Ian’s natural desire to nurture and inspire the inner artist in everyone. Eric and Ian decided to partner up to create what is now Sherwin’s Gallery.
Ian is now the father of four beautiful children. Aileen is the his love, inspiration, and mother of his children, and the entire family reside close to the gallery in neighboring Roscoe Village, so he can maintain his dedicated affection for art and teaching.
“In my early days I had limited myself by only drawing. My transition into painting forced me to explore new materials pushing various scientific principles. As I continue to discover painting, it becomes more and more intriguing. My art is not driven by creating finished work but merely the courses I take to get there. In a sense I am a problem solver…. The choices I make will overall impact the final piece. As I continue to practice my craft, these complex decisions become more instinctive. I feel my best art takes form when I follow that innate voice. Art is less a struggle and more a natural pursuance of ideas. As I grow I hope to find harmony between each material to illuminate the influence of these instincts.”
-Ian M. Sherwin