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Gay in the Life: John-Michael Korpal
by Ross Forman
2013-04-10

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Born and raised in rural Indiana, John-Michael Korpal quickly became connected to nature and though he moved to Chicago in 1988, where he now lives, Korpal hasn't forgotten his roots, literally.

Korpal is an environmentally conscious artist, focused on an eco-friendly lifestyle.

He also has been a certified, licensed massage therapist for more than 20 years—the last five at Toujours Salon, where he uses a mix of popular forms, including Swedish and deep-tissue massage as well as reflexology, into what he calls "personalized integrated massage." He also does advanced reflexology, hot-stone massage and aromatherapy-raindrop technique. Plus, he is a certified provider of pre-natal massage.

He also teaches calligraphy.

Much of Korpal's art features environmental objects for texture or the concepts behind the piece. Korpal often incorporates such objects into his artwork as twigs, pine cones, rocks, chain-link fence, sand, broken safety glass and more. The items, he said, "create a topographic map of their previous life," he said.

"I'm trying to find a balance in nature and myself," Korpal said. "I've been an artist for 20 years, but am still exploring what an artist is for me.

"I have fun with [art]."

THE STATS

Age: 44

Relationship status: Partner, Pablo Escriva

Neighborhood: West Rogers Park

Job title: Artist and massage therapist at Toujours Salon

Hobbies: Cooking, baking, bicycle riding

Favorite local restaurant: Frida's on Southport

Favorite movie: Fame "Inspired me a lot as a kid."

Little-known fact: Is a vegetarian.

Photos courtesy of Korpal


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