Word Tattoo

I invite you to join me on a journey to explore memories of the future.

a blog by john-michael korpal

Third Estate Art ~ Bird Project

Last night while you were sleeping Third Estate Art was out and about hanging hand-sewn pigeons in trees and bushes in the Rogers Park neighborhood.


This was the second bird installation of the Birds Project


Attached to each one of the birds is a cloth tag that carries the name of an individual that was killed by gun violence.  


The names that have been used to date are archived at thirdestateart.org with more information about each person.  Individuals may submit names of people they would like to be included in the project through the website.


This particular birding was more difficult for me personally as I added two names of members from my own family that died through gun violence earlier this year.


People who find the cloth pigeons  on their travels are encouraged to take home a favorite one.


This will be an ongoing project for as long as gun violence threatens our communities and the safety of our loved ones.



Third Estate Art is  501(c)3 organization donations are tax deductible. (Thank You)

Wedding Calligraphy Workshop

Have you been dreaming about creating your own wedding invites?
This workshop could make your dream come true!


Bridal Calligraphy Package~

(3 Two-Hour Sessions)


This Calligraphy workshop is customized for individuals or small groups (up to 4 individuals). You will receive three weeks of intensive instruction (3 days, two hours per week). You will learn the graceful Chancery script and explore different styles of layouts for addressing envelopes and learn about the different range of papers. Students learn to work with both markers and dip pens.


If you are able to commit to practicing what you learn in class for at least 10-15 hours outside of class, you will be well on your way to reaching your goal.


This workshop is great way to share your creative side with your guest and prepare for your special day.

Email to request your dates and times.

Workshop Fee: $350

My Story

Growing up in northern Indiana, I was always surrounded by nature, its discarded objects were the catalysis that established my early artistic path of discovery. Challenging my preconceived ideas of how things fit together and how their observed value transformed when incorporated with other non-related objects. These objects started to communicate with each other and a new story began to evolve ~ this informs my creative process everyday.

Moving to Chicago in 1987 to pursue a double major in Journalism and Psychology at Roosevelt University. I had planned, but was only able to afford two years with what I had saved and the few grants I received. The savings account was empty and I had to search out fulltime employment and my education was placed on the back burner.  In 1991 the savings account had money again and I decided to embark on a journey in Natural Therapies and obtained my certification in Herbal Medicine and Clinical Massage Therapy and established a private practice. Currently my office Integrated Bodywork with John-Michael is located in Andersonville on the north side of Chicago.


In 2003, I transferred my class credits and return back to school to pursue my original dream of receiving my degree in Art. This took me seven years while working full time, as I was only able to take one class per semester. In 2010, I received my BA in Fine Art and started daydreaming of becoming a full-time Artist, building up my recourses and networking with other creative individuals



In 2013, I created my second business, Flying Dolphin Studio, a live / work environment that provided space for me to create art and support my creative process, while teaching classes and workshops to pay the rent.


Shortly after launching the Studio, I really wanted to take it to the next level by creating a space that would encourage students with diverse interests and backgrounds to explore their creativity. This was the perfect opportunity to invite my artistic community and expand the scope of the studio. This also required me to reevaluate my infrastructure and realized the need for a more effective business model to operate from.


After several days of research I came across the Paul Klein Works Program, this seemed to have a potential of answering all of my questions that were spinning in my head. I applied for the program and was accepted and was able to participate thought a grant awarded through the Illinois Arts Council and completed the Program in 2014.


The year of participating in the program allowed me the opportunity to better understand and expand and grow my artistic practice and create a self-supporting studio through the teaching of classes and workshops that include calligraphy, painting, drawing and Origami.  The studio also started to offer on-site Corporate Art workshops that explore various forms of creative expression that help to build team skills and encourages collaboration between employees.



2017, I decided to pursue my education again and applied for the Visual Art Certification Program at Graham School – University of Chicago and completed the program in spring of 2018



As a visual artist I have worked in many different mediums over the years but most of my work has been expressed in a two-dimensional form on canvas with oil paint, etching ink, calligraphy, handmade paper, fiber and reclaimed objects. In the past several years I have become more fascinated with the space that exists between the art and the viewer.


Exploring this through the creation of immersive spaces that allows the viewer to experience the work within interactive, multi-sensory life-size environments that engages all their senses. Inviting them to become more of an active participant, elevating their experience from “looking through a window” to constructing a larger opening that invites them to wander from their current reality and persuades them to explore their internal dream world.


In my practice I am always exploring different disciplines and techniques to expand my understanding of what the work looks and feels like to me.


In those late night hours when not actively creating art, I am applying for potential exhibitions, Artist Residencies and Grant applications to help supplement my artistic vision and exploring how I can better engage with my artistic community.



I’m one of the founding members of the Rogers Park Art Alliance, a board member of  Third Estate Art and a member of the Chicago Calligraphy Collective