The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Around Town: The Artwork of Dmitry Samarov

By Chuck Sudo in Miscellaneous on Nov 5, 2010 5:00PM

Today we're doing something different for "Around Town." I was going through the site's Flickr pool last night when I ran across the series of ballpoint pen artwork and other sketches that made today's cut. The pen sketches, in particular, stood out for their clean line work and the way the artist captured his scenes.

The artist is Dmitry Samarov. Samarov was born in Russia and came to the US in 1978. He attended the Art Institute, Parsons School of Design and Indiana University, has had his artwork featured at Rainbo, the Chicago Tourism Center, Tony Fitzpatrick's Big Cat Press, and other places throughout the city, and currently works as a cab driver. "I like the portability of a pen and sketchbook," Samarov said. "There are also stretches where you're waiting for the next fare and this helps to pass the time."

Samarov got to know Fitzpatrick while driving him around in his cab. "I was something close to being Tony's 'personal chauffeur' for a two year stretch," Samarov told me in a phone interview. "I literally saw him every day. He's a one-of-a-kind person in Chicago and gravitates to folks off the beaten path easily."

Samarov has also dived headfirst into the world of blogging. "Hack" combines his artwork with some solid storytelling to give readers an empathetic look into his life as a cabbie. Samarov said that "Hack" is being developed into a book by University of Chicago Press for release next year. I asked him if he sees a day where his artwork affords him some financial freedom. "Of course, but one of the perks of being a cab driver is you get to set your own hour," he said.

"The dream is to be unemployed."