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This project was successfully funded on August 15, 2017

"Altered Translation- The Butterfly Project"

by James Jankowiak


My name is James Jankowiak, and I’m an artist, born and raised in the great city of Chicago.  I create abstract paintings that explore color, simple form and visual rhythm.  I also teach painting to Chicago teens through local arts organizations.

This September, I will be having a solo exhibition "Altered Translation- New Work by James Jankowiak" at Corner Gallery, in the Avondale neighborhood, a space that has traditionally served as an artist run, non-commercial venue dedicated to experimental, installation, performance and socially engaged art. 

Built in 1905, Corner Gallery’s space had first served as a Polish grocery store before it became a school for newly settled Polish children, followed by a travel agency, and finally a Mexican Bridal Boutique from 1990-2008.  During that time, the business had an anonymous artist paint a scene of flowers and butterflies, intended to draw customers into the boutique.  After almost 20 years, the mural is beginning to weather, and the owner of the building, artist Lynn Basa, knowing my history of public art experience, has offered me the opportunity to produce a new mural which coincides with my art opening on September 10th.

I want to keep the original essence of the mural intact, and intend on using butterflies as a visual resource.  Butterflies represent migration, development, transformation, life, and death. They are beautiful, graceful, yet they typically fly away from us. We chase them with nets, collect them, pin their corpses into sheets of satin and frame them. Humans have complicated relationships with these little insects.  The title, "Altered Translation" refers to both the fact that the wall I'll reimagine and reinterpret is keeping its butterflies, and to the business of "alterations" that went on during it's days as a custom clothing boutique.

Touching on the transformative aspects of collectivity and connectivity, I will incorporate in the mural the name and birthplace of every single person who donates to this project as an acknowledgment to the results of combined efforts and civic engagement.  Where you were born and raised will be included in the artwork.  This is not an advertisement, this inclusion is integral to the concept and message of the artwork, and am hoping to have donor's permission to use it.  It's also a reflection of the many places butterflies migrate to and from over their life cycle, and a metaphor for our cumulative human existence.

After the wall gets reprimed, I will create a painting to fill the 32’ long x 13’ high wall of a design that utilizes one wing from a different butterfly from all over the world, no wings will be repeated, so it will be different than my present mock-up is a cut copy paste repeat of Monarch butterfly wings.

I will employ three assistants to help with production, research for visual references of butterfly wings, photoshopping mock-ups, prepping and priming of the wall, and painting the mural alongside me. Two of the assistants are high school students who I previously taught through other art programs.  These young artists come from low - income neighborhoods where access to art is limited.  The opportunity to work on this project, will enhance their resumes as they begin their journey into the mainstream art world.

My goal of $8000 will cover all expenses, including all materials, the prepratorial process, and assistant's/artist's labor.

I decided to take this grassroots funding route because I know that there are supporters of the arts who find it critical to donate to a project like this, knowing that their contribution can be offset in two different ways.  First, I’m offering a selected limited edition prints and original artworks for donors who love to collect art directly from the artist themselves.  The second option is to forego the artwork and receive a charitable tax deduction for your donation from Hatchfund, a U.S. nonprofit with 501(c)(3) status.

Your donation is a critical way to show your support for the local art scene during times like these. 

Project Perks


A $10 or above donation will get a thank you on James Jankowiak’s Facebook page on social media!


A shout out on my James Jankowiak's social media and your name credited in the exhibition leaflet mailed to you.


13/50 Remain

An 11" x 14" limited edition two color silk screen print signed and numbered 1-50 by James Jankowiak and your name included in the exhibition leaflet, and a social media shout out!


0/5 Remain

"Class Dismissed" signed and numbered, limited edition of 14, three color silkscreen pulled by James Jankowiak in 2014, 11" x 14" plus your name included in the exhibition leaflet and a shout out on social media!


2/6 Remain

An original 6" x 6" painting by James Jankowiak, your name included in the exhibition leaflet, and a thank you on social media featuring the painting you acquired!

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