About Cape Horn Illustration

phil thompson

I'm Phil Thompson.

Working mainly in pen and ink, I create artwork dedicated to architecture, history, and the city, with a special love for Chicago. I'm fascinated by the ways that history carves its marks. I see the great architecture of the world as the artifacts of one generation passed to the next. I make work that features classic home styles, icons of the city, with my drawings and illustrated maps.

I sell prints of my work here and through a variety of great retail partners throughout the Chicagoland area (click on the tab below to see a list). You can find me at shows like the One of a Kind Show, Renegade Craft Fair, and Show of Hands, among others. You might have seen my work displayed at the Chicago Architecture Center, the Field Museum, or on screen in "The Big Sick" and Netflix's "Easy." I've done commissions for breweries, agencies, architects, real estate investment and management companies, and restaurants.

Here are some write-ups on me and some of the things I've worked on: ArchDailyApartment Therapy, Block Club ChicagoChicago TribuneChicagoistCurbed, Daily CandyDNAinfo, Modern Luxury InteriorsThrillist, Washington Post.

Even more background: I've lived in the Ravenswood neighborhood for about ten years with my wife, Katie, and dog, Vincent. I've been drawing all my life, but my professional background is international relations/trade. I studied the field at Penn State and University of Chicago, then worked as a consultant for ten years to companies from Sweden. Katie has an MFA from School of the Art Institute, works at Jellyvision, and provides a huge creative boost to Cape Horn Illustration. She and I love reading about war and survival stories, hate strip malls and big box stores, and our favorite dish to make at home is this recipe.

The name "Cape Horn Illustration" has its origins in a deep love and fear of the ocean. Before the Panama Canal was opened, sailors could only get from one coast of the Americas to the other by rounding the southernmost tip of South America at Cape Horn. It was a treacherous passage at a latitude where two major oceans clash and churn. The name is an homage to the voyagers who took on that challenge.