Press and Media Coverage

Artist Combs Chicago Beaches for Materials and Inspiration

In December of 2021, Chicago's PBS affiliate WTTW met John Soss on the beach and at the art gallery for a feature focusing on his current photo exhibit. To watch the segment, which ran on the Chicago Tonight program, click here.

Maybe the Debris Found on the Lakefront Could Be Art

In support of John Soss' first photo exhibit in January of 2020, veteran Chicago Tribune reporter Rick Kogan wrote a feature-length column for the Sunday Arts & Entertainment section that focused on the origins of a hobby that would eventually yield a couple of thousand photographic documents of objects found on the beach. To read the full article, click here.

The Mix: Things to Do in Chicago [December 2, 2021]

"John Soss, longtime marketing guru at Jam Productions, has in recent years found an outlet for his artistic side as a collage artist. His side project began on bike rides and walks along the Lake Michigan shoreline where he collected all types of things that washed up or were left behind, ranging from lake glass and beach toys to rocks and driftwood. You name it, he’s probably found it. Photographs of the colorful and striking collages Soss compiles are the focus of the exhibit On the Beach from Dec. 3-30 at Tony Fitzpatrick’s The Dime Gallery, 1513 N. Western. Admission is free."

Beach Artifacts Become Beautifully Arranged Art [Jan. 20, 2022]

Artist John Soss takes "junk" from Chicago beaches and turns it into compositions that move, delight and tell you a lot about our city. His "On The Beach" show is finishing up a run at The Dime in Wicker Park at the end of the month.

The inspiration: Soss says it started 10 years ago when sent pictures of neat beach glass to his sister, who Soss says, "took me on my first beachcombing walk back in the 80s. I said, 'Hey, look what I just found!' and never looked back."

The art: Selections include artfully arranged drug paraphernalia, shotgun shells from years of skeet shooting along the lake, firecrackers, doll parts and, of course, smooth soothing sea glass.

The aim: "It's gratifying when I see [visitors] smile or laugh or get otherwise engaged with the images. I know I've succeeded if I can make them feel something."

"The lakefront has worked (its) magic on ... John Soss, who works as the vice president of marketing and advertising for Jam Productions, the venerable concert and special events producer... I wrote about him in 2020, when he had the first exhibition of his photography at Tony Fitzpatrick’s Dime Gallery. This photography consisted of things he found on Lake Michigan beaches. As I wrote, “What he is seeking are remnants of this world, specifically things that have been lost or tossed or otherwise found their way into the waters of Lake Michigan. Thousands of these things eventually wash up along the shore and Soss grabs some, looks them over and takes a few home, there to arrange together in patterns and takes a photo.”"  [Nov. 28, 2021]

"[Soss] wandered the city’s beaches and gathered things he found there — from feathers to sunglasses, toys to credit cards, golf balls to squirt guns and piles of other things — and artfully arranging them for photos and posted those on Facebook and Instagram. These caught the eye of artist/gallery owner Tony Fitzpatrick and he convinced Soss to exhibit his work. That show took place early in 2020 at The Dime, his gallery at 1513 N. Western Ave. Fitzpatrick... convinced Soss to have another exhibition [in December 2021] with some 40 new works on the Dime walls... One of the best things about Soss’ work is that it makes you think and imagine. As he told me, 'it makes my mind wander, concocting fictional stories about where they came from, who may have owned them, how did they get in the lake.'" [Nov. 30, 2021]