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Artist captures Dillinger in unique portrait

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CROWN POINT — Tony Reyes has always been connected to art.

“Ever since I was younger, that’s all I did was just draw, so it just comes naturally,” said the local artist and owner of Blacklisted Tattoo Lounge and his private studio, REAPER, in Crown Point.

Reyes’ talents were on display recently while he participated in a live painting during the inaugural Fourth Fridays event last month in downtown Crown Point.

“I loved it,” Reyes said. “I was real ecstatic to do it.”

He said he immediately was inspired to paint a portrait of John Dillinger for Fourth Fridays because he wanted to paint something interesting that people could easily recognize.

“When they came to me about it, that was the first thing that popped in my head,” Reyes said. “This is like the perfect thing to paint.”

His next task was to find a photo of Dillinger. Reyes said there are many pictures of him that are constantly used, and he settled on a mugshot of Dillinger.

Reyes depicted Dillinger’s face in different tones in the unique portrait.

“With every painting that I do, I try to change it up,” Reyes said. “Even when they are larger scale portrait paintings, I always like to do something different in each painting.”

Artist captures Dillinger in unique portrait

Artist Tony Reyes said he depicted John Dillinger's face in different tones to make the portrait unique.

He said that when he’s painting, and he knows how he wants the artwork to look, it gets exciting when he reaches the point that his work has turned out as he envisioned it.

“I can still get shocked and step back from that painting and just still be amazed by it that like, 'Wow, I did that,'” Reyes said. “So I really like it. It’s always fun to have those challenges.”

The portrait will be featured as the Fourth Fridays event continues from 5 to 11 p.m. Friday at the Crown Point Courthouse Lawn.

Reyes said he’s received some offers for the Dillinger portrait, but he isn’t yet ready to sell it.

“The longer I have them, the more I have to get a connection to them,” he said of his artwork.

Besides viewing Reyes’ painting, the Fourth Fridays event will feature public art galleries, youth artists and several art vendors. There also will be a pop-up beer garden and food vendors.

Artist captures Dillinger in unique portrait

The finished portrait of John Dillinger by artist Tony Reyes will be on display from 5 to 11 p.m. Friday at the Crown Point Courthouse Lawn during the Fourth Fridays event. 

Local 219 developed the idea for the Fourth Fridays art festival, which also will take place Oct. 28 and Nov. 25.

Toyota of Merrillville is sponsoring the event, and proceeds from the festival will benefit the St. Jude House.

Reyes said he’s worked with Local 219 on other projects, and he’s enjoyed the Fourth Fridays festival.

“I love what they’re doing with everything,” he said. “They’re bringing artists and different people with small businesses together. It’s just a really fun concept.”

General admission is $5 and a VIP experience is $100. The VIP access includes an exclusive underground art crawl, interactive art experience, specialty cocktails and food, a VIP bag, two drink tickets and a beer line fast pass.

Visit for tickets and for information about the Fourth Fridays festival.


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