Featured Artist Antonia Ruppert

Artist Antonia Ruppert shares a stunning portfolio and her story of a life dedicated to the betterment of her community. See more of her work on her website.


Portrait of a mother and child by Toni Ruppert

“Beautiful Joy” Oil, 12″ x 16″


I am Antonia Ruppert, a community artist, art educator, illustrator and songwriter based in Chicago. I must say, it’s been a journey. When I first heard about Artsy Shark years ago, it sparked a desire in me to be featured. What has transpired from that day to this is nothing short of miraculous. Please let me share.


portrait of a young girl dreaming of being an artist

“Genesis of an Artist” oil, 24″ x 36″


First, I acknowledge God’s divine intervention in directing me to phenomenal opportunities. In 2008, I took a leap of faith and started my own company. Little did I know, I’d be challenged. My hope of connecting with a Chicago gallery was rejected, forcing me to venture out and find my own opportunities.


mixed media portrait of a black man

“Jon Veal Speaks” oil, acrylic and Sharpie collage, 20″ x 20″


Upon seeing a sign for the opening of a new library, I met with the director to see if they needed art. I was told to come back. That I did consistently for six months, refusing to give up, until I was offered my first contract. It was a beautiful multi-artist project at the Markham Public Library in Illinois.


painting of a community of people by Toni Ruppert

“A Dream of Serenity” acrylic, 42″ x 42″


Next, I have seen God’s hand opening doors for me. When we moved to our new town, I quickly connected with the Mayor’s office hoping to get a welcome. That did not happen, and once again I was deeply disappointed. 


charcoal portrait of two women by Toni Ruppert

“Libations for George” (detail) charcoal, 22″ x 30″


Nevertheless, I pivoted and decided to connect with other community mothers. We established relationships, and I began painting them to share their stories. This collection of portraits was exhibited at Loyola University Chicago and Cicero Public Library.


portrait of two women by Toni Ruppert

“Peaceful Transitions” acrylic, 36″ x 36″


Finally, God has divinely provided for me during dry seasons. During the pandemic, I was still gaining contracts, all glory to God! I was fortunate to work for multiple months on a mural project with another artist. My friend Tony recommended I apply to a call for artists being offered by the city of Chicago. Pastor Steven Epting prayed for me at that time. Little did I know that he was on the committee to give the final “yes”. God knows how to provide. I was invited to be the Artist in Residence for Chicago’s Austin community. 


Portrait of a mother and son by Toni Ruppert

“Hope in the Desert” acrylic, 20″ x 20″


The residency was a game changer. Since then, I have worked with the Chamber of Commerce to do a beautification project, bringing in 13 artists. The What About Us Charitable Enterprise brought in-person arts programming to youth. I’ve been a part of the Chicago North Austin Branch Library’s ongoing art projects, serving 100+ people, and the City of Refuge Chicago, where I worked with volunteers to provide art programs for 60 youth.


watercolor portrait of a young black woman

“That Look” watercolor, 12″ x 12″


Other projects include working with artist Rob Moriarty to bring murals to Youth Crossroads in Berwyn, involving 30 teens, and with artist Terrin Sharp to bring murals to Moving Everest Charter School. At the Addison Public Library, I completed a suite of projects, including a community mural.


watercolor portrait of a mother and children by Toni Ruppert

“My Heart’s Peace (Vanessa)” watercolor, 12″ x 16″


My recent accomplishments include a solo exhibit at Moraine Valley Community College, and being awarded the 2023 Peggy A. Montez Unsung Heroine Award for Cook County.


whimsical painting of a neighborhood

“Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” oil, 20″ x 24″


Keep pivoting, persisting and depending on God’s divine intervention. You never know what may happen on your journey.

Antonia Ruppert invites you to follow her on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and SoundCloud.


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