Artists celebrate 50th birthdays at Kortman

John Deill, Jim Julin celebrate their shared birthday by opening exhibits at Kortman Gallery

Two of Rockford’s most accomplished and admired artists will turn 50 on the same day. To celebrate this milestone, John Deill and Jim Julin will exhibit their newest works at the Kortman Gallery in downtown Rockford. The exhibition, titled “John Deill & Jim Julin @ 50,” opens with an artists’ reception and birthday party Friday, March 31 from 5:30 to 9 p.m.

Both Deill and Julin create works utilizing found objects that they manipulate and integrate into their work resulting in distinctive and compelling pieces of art. Deill describes his work as “paintings with sculptural tendencies,” while Julin says his work “is born out of a combination of old world Swedish craftsmanship, the simplicity of the Japanese aesthetic, and a touch of Dr. Suess.”

According to Kortman Gallery Director Doc Slafkosky, Deill’s and Julin’s art appeals to a masculine sensibility. “The materials, the colors, the craftsmanship and the imagery in their art makes for work that’s especially appreciated by men,” Slafkosky says. “I don’t mean to imply that this art is just for guys, since visually exciting work appeals to everyone.”

In 1996, as acquaintances, Deill and Julin first discovered they were born on the same day, just a few hours apart in SwedishAmerican Hospital. Acquaintances became friends, and more coincidences about their artistic backgrounds were discovered. This exhibition celebrates not only their art and birthday, but friendship and creativity.

The “John Deill & Jim Julin @ 50” exhibition runs through May 2 at the Kortman Galley upstairs at J.R. Kortman Center for Design, 107 N. Main St., downtown Rockford. Admission is free and open to the public. For more information, call (815) 968-0123 or visit

From the March 29-April 4, 2006, issue

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