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Prof's art to be shown in elite competitions

Submitted/Barry Fitzgerald

Barry Fitzgerald, associate professor of design, submitted his portrait of jazz musician McCoy Tyner, top, for the Society of Illustrators 49. His 'Wine, Women and Song' paintings from his 'Muse Series' will be featured in American Illustrator 25. The competitions accept only about 5 percent of the thousands of entries received each year.

A KU professor's art was selected from among thousands of entries to be included among the best in the world of illustration. In fact, it was chosen twice.

Barry Fitzgerald, associate professor of design, was chosen to take part in a pair of international illustration competitions and exhibitions, "American Illustration 25" and "Society of Illustrators 49." The annual competitions draw 5,000 to 7,000 entries and roughly 5 percent to 10 percent of entries are accepted.

"Both of them are pretty prestigious in illustration circles," Fitzgerald said.

The Society of Illustrators exhibition will be later this month at the American Museum of Illustration in New York. Judging took place earlier this year. For the juried competition, he entered a portrait of jazz musician McCoy Tyner he painted for the Playboy Jazz Festival in Hollywood. The acrylic painting is entered in the advertising category. The society has had a strong reputation in the field for more than a century. This is the fifth time Fitzgerald's work has been accepted for the competition.

"They've got a long history of being the cornerstone for contemporary illustrators," Fitzgerald said of the society.

For the American Illustrator exhibition, he entered a pair of paintings. The art comes from his "Muse Series," which celebrates wine, women and song.

"They are more experimental paintings," Fitzgerald said of the muse series. "I was trying to expand on some of the subject matter of my work, which I think is important for constant growth as an artist."

American Illustration staged a book release in December acknowledging the accepted work and has produced a book of select images as well.

A professor at KU since 1993, Fitzgerald teaches illustration, drawing, painting, visual media and visual concepts classes.

Winners of the design competitions receive certificates of merit and medals, but Fitzgerald said he is honored to have his work selected from the thousands of international entries.

"To me, just being part of the exhibition is an honor in itself," he said.

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