Chicks in the East…Dudes in the West

“Chicks with Balls” is now a phenomenon.


And my growing, living, traveling portrait exhibition called “Chicks with Balls: Judy Takács paints unsung female heroes” returns to Northeast Ohio with a solo show at Tri-C Gallery East, opening October 29th from 6:00 to 8:30.


Back in 2010, “Chicks” was just a nutty painting idea: I asked female friends and family to take off their tops and pose for me, holding balls to cover their breasts. Oddly enough, many said yes…and here’s why.


These chicks have balls…and not just the kind it takes to have fun and show some skin. They are the unsung heroes of their ordinary lives, and that’s why I chose them for my epic portrait project.


Chicks with Balls honors ordinary women whose daily acts of courage go largely unnoticed.


I blog about my portraits and chronicle the challenges and triumphs these women have faced, at They create, they laugh, and write and learn. They start, triumph, and start again. They care for and fight for. They help, they lead, they heal, they love. And quietly and efficiently from the shadows, they make sure the people in their charge, thrive.


The women in my series are magistrates, nurses, artists, professors, arts administrators, and caregivers. They are widows, divorcees, mothers, wives, daughters, sisters and all are independent souls. They are you and they are me.


My Chicks with Balls paintings also honor the female form in all its forms.


The 35 (and counting) realistic, life-size oil portraits welcome the viewer to the group as a kindred spirit. The likenesses are true. Joyous with laugh lines or introspective with concern, each face is celebrated for gifts it alone offers. Bodies are realistic too. Delightfully stretched, comfy middle-aged bellies boast inspiring histories, as do expressive working hands that clutch symbolic balls.


These portraits beckon the viewer to recognize heroism in their own friends, moms, sisters and wives…and in themselves. Many women have volunteered to pose…an act of courage in itself.


In 2013, “Chicks with Balls: Judy Takács paints unsung heroes” made its debut at BAYarts. The publicity, the fun, the art, the connections, the solidarity, the magic and the people came together beautifully and the show opened to record crowds on a warm midsummer night on the shores of Lake Erie at BAYarts.


Since that exhibition, Chicks with balls has grown, traveled and collected all kinds of momentum.


After its debut, the collection grew and in 2014 traveled to Pennsylvania for its first trip out of state. The gallery director at Luzerne County Community College connected with the project because she was caregiver for her own mom, wheelchair-bound with MS.


During my time in Pennsylvania for the opening and workshop, several people volunteered to pose for Chicks with Balls. One in particular broke the mold for what it is to be a Chick with Balls.


My painting diptych, “Becoming Shannon,” shows this special woman transitioning through gender re-assignment. He is becoming a she. As I finish her portrait, I blog about her paintings and story on


My paintings of Shannon will be shown for the first time at Tri-C Gallery East, as part of, “Chicks with Balls: Judy Takács paints unsung female heroes” and I look forward to the eyebrows it will raise and questions to be answered. It was fun, fascinating and educational for me to meet and paint Shannon. I hope to share some of the understanding and insights I gained through my portraits of her.


This growing and traveling portrait exhibition has enriched hundreds of lives it has touched…especially my own, as I discover and meet Chicks with Balls, quietly, fiercely at work all around us.


So what about the dudes in the west?

October will be a busy month. Just one short week before my Chicks show opens at Tri-C East, I will also part of a group portrait show called “About Face” at Tri-C Gallery West. About Face opens with a reception from 5 to 7 pm Wednesday October 21.


My work will be shown with some of the Northeast Ohio painters of people whom I admire and have been inspired by over the years: Lou Grasso, Milan Kecman, Billy Ritter and Diane Fleisch Hughes. To keep myself from getting too confused with two simultaneous art shows, I decided to feature only portraits of men at Tri-C West…“Dudes in the West.”

Please join me for the opening receptions for one or both exhibits, or plan to stop by both shows during this very busy October and November!


Chicks with Balls: Judy Takács Paints Unsung Female Heroes

October 29 – November 24

Opening reception 6-8:30 pm October 29

Tri-C Gallery East

4250 Richmond Road

Highland Hills, Ohio


About Face

October 21-November 13

Opening reception 5 – 7 Wednesday, Oct. 21

Tri-C Gallery WEST

Second Floor of the Technology Learning Center/Library
11000 Pleasant Valley Road

Parma, Ohio