Sunday, March 22, 2020

1. Go for Truth
2. Rewrite History
3. Redefine "Expert"
4. Rethink "Big"!
5. Focus on the Art



These two oil  paintings are from Onli's growing "Passion Fruit" Collection".
Both 24" X 24" on archival canvas.  Both are for sell.


What an opportunity for many curators, educators and art lovers of all types and styles."


Onli posing with a recently completed oil painting.

"Dancers' Trust" 50" X 50", oils on linen.: Price upon request:

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Pencil Drawings as Art,  in progress:

I happen to be a life long visual artist who loves to draw. I started drawing as a small child. I still love it.

My more recent preliminary sketches are being considered for development and processing to raise them to the level of being finished Rhythmistic Fine Art. I like  to do most of my work without using photo references of models.  It challenges my imagination and skill set while reducing any resulting issues related to works being too derivative or such.

The above image shows a photocopy on the floor, from a sketch-book.  Above it is a primed archival board that is 36:W X 24".  It is being drawn.  The question is will it remain a work in pencil or will that delicate penciling be a foundation for painting.  At either rate it is destined to be a completed Rhythmistic fine art work.

The top and bottom images are likely to be included in my growing "No Evils" collection that recontextualizes the ancient proverb of See No, Hear No and Speak No evils into the future-primitif Rhythmistic context..

Saturday, February 29, 2020

"Inspired By The Greats" was a recent group members' exhibition at the Box Factory For the Arts in the trendy town of St. Joseph, Michigan USA.  Onli showed his 1994, acrylics on 36: Square canvas "Breaking Bread" Rhythmistic treatment of the masters in art "Dinner at Emmaus". Rembrant and Carravagio were among the greats to visualize this moment in their practices.

 The Rhythmistic painting at the top is called "Every Mother's Son" and has been in the private collection of a Chaplin in Chicago since 1998.  It is an homage to the Pieta by Michaelanglo.  The Chaplin was impressed that the contextual message was not lost in the painting that was derived from a classic well known statue.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Rhythmistic Residency: Summer 2020 at the Hyde Park Art Center of Chicago. Prof. Turtel Onli, M.A.A.T., is delighted to announce his being selected for a unique Visual Artist residency at the Hyde Park Art Center where he will focus of producing his Rhythmistic future-primitif textile works of fine art that re-contextualizes selected traditional world icons.

 His blended channeling of various ism-schisms results in a universal expression that challenges "otherness"  with a visual creative expression of "us"!

 While Onli is often recognized for his indie Rhythmistic treatments using the classic American art form of the  'comic-book", he is a life long Rhythmistic visual artist who has tapped long ago, into aspects of his genetic-memory to afford a flow of images and creative narratives in experimentation and practical application. Be they fine art or applied commercial art.

 Prof. Onli teaches Art Appreciation, Studio Drawing along with 2D Design at the downtown Chicago Harold Washington College. He is a retired Chicago Public Schools Arts Educator plus former Coach of Girls Varsity Basketball & Boys Varsity Volley-Ball along with Varsity Chess.  Those experiences kept Onli in touch with the beautiful emerging energies of so many intelligent young folks while giving him the priviledge of teaching and reaching so many for over two decades.

Onli has collaborated with master quilter Patrick Whalen to complete his growing Rhythmistic Quilts body of fine art.  During this residency Onli plans to produce a set of four panels that will later be embellished by Partick's amazing excursions of stitches and textiles.
This year, the Art Center also hosts Chicago-based residents Zakkiyyah Najeebah (October 13–September 30, 2020) artist, curator, and co-founder of CBIM (Concerned Black Image Makers); Chris Pappan (October 13–September 30, 2020) whose work reinterprets the Plains Native art tradition, Ledger Art, to explore and reclaim distorted images of Natives peoples; Mujeres Mutantes (February 3–September 30), a Latinx collective who mobilize mural painting, graffiti and zines to drive social change in Chicago communities; Nikki Patin (December 3–February 28, 2020) whose interdisciplinary practice addresses issues of body image, sexual assault, and the needs of the LGBTQ community through writing, performance, and teaching; Joelle Mercedes (March 1–May 1), who uses narrative, space, time, cuisine, and improvisation to reframe cultural and personal mythologies; and Turtel Onli (June 1–August 30) whose Afrocentric comic books and graphic novels fuse primitive and futurist ideas.
For more information on The Jackman Goldwasser Residency, please visit

Monday, February 3, 2020

Note to curators, collectors, art historians and art lovers

Sale 2528 | Lot 65
Price Realized: $4,500With Buyer's Premium
Show Hammer Price

  • Click Image To Enlarge
    • Sale 2528 Lot 65
      Family Group.

      Oil on cotton canvas, 1970. 610x508 mm; 24x20 inches. Signed "Turtel" and dated "3-5-70" in oil, lower right.

      Provenance: the Johnson Publishing Company, Inc., Chicago.

      Turtel Onli is a Chicago artist, author, art therapist, educator, and publisher. Onli has authored, illustrated and published numerous comic books and graphic novels. He is associated with the "Black Age of Comics," a movement dedicated to the promotion of Afrocentric comic books and graphic novels. Onli earned a BFA from the Art Institute of Chicago and later returned to earn a MS in art therapy. In 1970, Onli founded the Black Arts Guild in 1970 which included fellow Chicago artists Dalton Brown, Obie Creed, Kenneth Hunter, Espi Frazier and Jim Smoote. Now a retired as a public school art teacher, he worked in the Chicago Public Schools for more than two decades. Recently Onli was included in the 2013 exhibition Africobra: Art and Impact at the DuSable Museum of African American History, Chicago. Zorach p. 288.

      Estimate $500 - 750

      Price Realized (with Buyer's Premium) $4,500

Saturday, January 11, 2020

 SWANN GALLERIES is hosting a unique auction of 100 selected original works of art from the prestigious Johnson Publishing Collection.  It includes an early Rhythmistic oil painting created by Onli when he was 18 years old. Already a total departure from the orthodoxy of images created by what is now called the Black Art Movement that were wedded to images of suffering and oppression along with tributes to selected historic figures and moments.

 The youthfully enigmatic Onli saw his path via a future-primitif approach to visual art. Genetic memories, counter-cultural advancements and dymaxion sciences resonated with him. The looming nexus of creativity, culture & commerce often led to Onli being minimized in those same Black Art Movement circles, anthologies, exhibitions and celebrations.

 "Family Group" is a personal statement as at that time in the young Onli's life he was being kicked out of the home of his grandfather, who had raised him since age 2.  Being confronted with the thrilling opportunities and challenges of living life on his own...separate from the only family he had ever known, is symbolized in the small child on the lower right....detached.....alone......poised.
This is evidence to the power and potential of Onli's decades long experimentation and Rhythmistic practices that covers fine and commercial artistic expressions.  So far, without being represented by commercial galleries.  Johnson Published produced the highly successful Ebony and Jet magazines along with a child's edition called Ebony Jr.  Onli did a tenure as a freelance illustrator for Ebony Jr.
Onli states he would love to be represented by a major gallery.

 Fortunately his Rhythmistic works have found themselves in the likes of The New Museum of Contemporary Art, The Chicago Children's Museum, The Tubman Museum and the pages of major publications.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020