Autobiography at end of

MakingArt By Jack:


So, my history and credentials:  In grade school teachers recognized an artistic bent and sent me to summer art school.  During my early life I drew a lot in charcoal and pen and ink and did a large cartoon statue of Santa Claus riding a drone bee that was put at the entrance of an air force base in Florida. 


But art was always on the back burner during the first half of my life.  I was deeply involved otherwise and elsewhere. I earned four university degrees including one each from Harvard and the University of London, where I was a Fulbright Scholar.  I was a U.S. Air Force officer, a Wall Street lawyer, taught law at Harvard and was later a tenured professor at Northwestern University.  I formed, directed, and participated in several law and development research teams in African countries.  I wrote and had published many articles in journals and 3 book treatises:  First on law, and then on evolutionary biology and human behavior while teaching in the Anthropology Department of Northwestern.


In the 1980s it became clear that if I was going to pursue my apparent aptitude for art, I had better get with it.  Already in my 50’s, I decided to make a clean break.  I withdrew completely from academia and became a full-time artist—soon concentrating on sculpture.  At this writing I have been at it for 22 years.


My academic nature pushed me assiduously to read art history and biographies of artists when I was not actively producing sculpture.  I have visited all the major art museums of the Western World. 


My art output is permanently installed in a gallery/museum in Chicago.  See the gallery section of this site.

I am currently the Vice President of Chicago’s Palette and Chisel Academy of Fine Arts, where my workshop is located.


Given the way my life has evolved, I should relate an interesting coincidence. I was photographed, at age 6, with the sculptor of Mt. Rushmore as he gave instructions to stonecutters about to ascend to the presidents’ faces in a cable car.  Notice that we both were wearing bandanas.  Artsy clothing?



John H. Beckstrom,

author, a.k.a., Jack

Beckstrom, artist.

(312) 664-9294