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Dustin Eckhardt
Rockford, IL

From murals on buildings to designs on beer cans, Dustin Eckhardt’s work can be found all over the Rockford region. When he’s not painting or showing off his work you may see him slinging drinks behind a local bar chatting it up with his local community and finding inspiration for his next piece. 


Dustin is bringing his bright, colorful and vibrant style to DEVIATE where you can check out his most recent work and even watch him live paint a special piece. If you’re looking for something that makes you feel inspired and promotes conversation, be sure to check out Dustin’s work on October 15. 

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october 15

How would you describe your work? 

I am a mural artist and painter that uses spray and acrylic paints to create vibrant works of art using bold colors and crisp lines. My newest body of work showcases hand built, die cut, layered plywood canvases.

Where do you find your inspiration? 

I take a lot of inspiration from nature, introspective thinking, environmental studies, and a curiosity for the world. I do a lot of research when planning a piece and find that educating myself about new things often is the driving force for my artistic inspiration.

How long does it take for you to do a piece from start to finish? Depending on the grandeur and size of my work, a piece can take me anywhere from 10 to 100 hours of work. I take a lot of care in researching, building compositions, making color a color palette, and materializing my art.

Where can we find your work? Examples of galleries, stores, and events you have been involved in. You can find my murals sprinkled around local businesses in the Rockford, Madison, and Chicago areas. From breweries/restaurants, to beauty salons and public art spaces. You can find my canvases hanging at local coffee shops and galleries around Rockford, as well as find my art on beer cans at local breweries!

Is this your full-time job? If so, where do you work? I am a full time artist, between making murals, commission work, and creating for galleries and events, there is always something in the hopper for me. I share creative space at Fraim & Mortar studio on the west side of Rockford. We have hosted dozens of art scenes, shows, and acts of art and collectively have a pretty influential hand in custom work all around Rockford. I also work a few days a week as a bartender for some consistent cash flow, and the opportunity to socialize and connect with my local community.

What are your future goals for your pieces?  I have hopes to elevate the mural game by taking these built canvas concepts to a large scale. I desire to work with my team to create unique installations that would not only paint walls, but build onto them with a sculptural effect. I hope to connect with the communities I work within and honor their locality while improving quality of life for the people who may get to enjoy the public art I can be involved with. I hope to inspire mindfulness for future generations of people and the planet. Ultimately, I wish that the work I create and the connections I make with others will transcend my life and create ripples of positive change through time beyond my years here. 

What do you want us to know about your art, your design, or anything at all?

My art hopes to inspire conversation. It doesn’t have an agenda. It wishes to stir thought and move emotion in those who exchange looks with it. It hopes to brighten the spaces it lives, spark curiosity, and invoke happiness.

What is your background? Like most artists, I started drawing at a pretty young age. I was much inspired by my older sister who was painting murals using an old overhead projector with transparencies in her bedroom as a young teenager. I doodled more than I took notes in school, and eventually took a liking for tattoo art after graduating high school. I started practicing more seriously when I decided I wanted to try and get a tattoo apprenticeship, and eventually did get one. I tattooed as an apprentice for a year, and lasted another six months independently until life took me in a different direction. I kept practicing through commission work for friends and family until eventually seeing murals being painted right down the street from my apartment some years back and thought to myself “I could do that”, and now am! I did not go to school, but learned much from my mentors, peers, practice and the school of YouTube.

What are you most excited about for DEVIATE? I imagine this show being an eclectic display of art. I expect there to be a lot more vibrance than your typical art fair. I wont say what people SHOULD do, but if you feel drawn in by my work, I will be there excited to meet and speak with anyone who stops by. You might even catch me doing live painting if you come through at the right time!

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