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The Artists of Visionary

Visionary is proud to host local artists’ work in store, alongside eyewear from independent frame lines.

We want to tell you about them and have you experience their art firsthand. Pay us a visit and see…while helping you see even better with our top rated doctors and opticians! We’ll start with our very own Matt and Brian:

Green Window: Matthew Cochrane and Brian Estep

Matthew Cochrane is our General Manager and Merchandiser Supreme! A skilled optician, with a strong background in Retail Merchandising, he keeps our store looking beautiful. Together with Brian Estep, they create gorgeous window displays that highlight the personality of our business, our neighborhood and exhibit the incredible frame lines we carry in store. Matt is also a licensed fitness trainer, and is proficient in ASL. 

Brian Estep is a multi-media artist and drag queen based here in Chicago. His creativity extends from drag and special effects makeup to drawing and acrylic painting, but doesn’t want to stop there. He finds inspiration in television, film and even optical design. He brings his artistic vision to all of our window displays, and we are proud to have several of his paintings adorning the walls inside!

Current featured Artist: Aaron Wooten

I picked up painting about ten years ago as a hobby. I paint cityscapes, political cartoons, portraits, pretty girls and nudes. I’ve been featured in The New York Times, Chicago Reader, Art & Beyond and a number of other national and international arts magazines and journals.  I have contributed to the Chicago area art scene for nine years.

My work focuses on the theme of nostalgia.  I do this in a number of ways.  With my cityscapes and figures and portraits I reflect on photos of the past, bygone styles, dead celebrities and with the use of vintage maude colors. By working with acrylic on canvas I allow the roughness of the paint and the grids of the canvas to show through.  

The theme is a bit of a post-aesthetic one.  My work deals with memories of temporary constructs rather than grand narratives.  The content is one of “happenings”.  That is, my work consists of captured events that are taking place and are simply taken out of time of a Proustian nature.

My hope is to feel beauty that is removed from intent.  Like a Kantian sublime my work gathers distinction and indeterminacy.

Visit us in store to see his works in person (one is permanently housed in our Loop location), or see them on his website:

Incoming Artist: Nicholas Harazin, Kindred Woodworks 

Originally from MN, Nicholas now resides in Chicago where he has, for the past 15 years, made his living as a professional actor. Enter 2020 and with the closing of all things performance, Nick found his way into his woodshop more and more.

For years he had created large scale furniture, built-ins and other works, but when prompted by a friend to go smaller scale, he jumped into the task of designing wearable, usable pieces of art. Using zero paints, stains or dyes his focus is to highlight the beauty of Mother Nature herself. All the colors and textures are Hers, and each piece is finished with beeswax and oil, keeping harmful chemicals and allergens far from the work. 

Through a series of repeated processes called laminations, Nicholas layers the wood, adds, and subtracts pieces, until the desired design comes to fruition. Inspired by Nature, all pieces are small batch, having only 2 to 3 pairs for any one design, promising an ever-evolving collection of unique wearable works. 

It’s called Kindred, because we are all connected. We are all a part of Nature’s family and our commitment is to honor that relationship, to stay connected, to stay Kindred.

Come inside to see and purchase his pieces in person, or visit his Etsy shop:

Thank you to our artists for being true Visionaries!