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Third Fridays at 78th Street Studios

 This past Friday, my pal Gary Dumm took me to 78th Street Studios to introduce me around.  Quite a fantastic trip!

The Studios are home to dozens of galleries and individual art studios (51 separate enterprises currently listed on their site.)  I believe there are a few cozy, safe commercial ventures tucked away in the sprawling three-story complex, but the vast majority of creators represented here are edgy contemporary visual artists working at the top of their game.  It’s a walking tour through a mine-field of color explosions, design detonations, and conceptual cataclysms. To put it another way, we didn’t even make it to the third floor, Gary had to drag his dazzled, muttering buddy out of there before it was too late.

Among the highlights:

Eileen Dorsey Studios — Dorsey excels in super-saturated nature renderings on large canvases; interestingly, she also has a number of incredible abstract paintings done in a similar pallet. Of everything I saw, these pieces are the ones I would most crave to take home and hang on my wall, if only I had the money and the wall space.  I plan to bring Lynn to the studio sometime soon; browsing this gallery is like visiting heaven.

Jennifer Omaitz — Omaitz was exhibiting in a dual show with Arabella Proffer titled “Illustrious Decay” at the Cleveland West Art League studio. Both artists are extremely talented; Proffer (who was not on site) creates surrealistic mandala-like compositions, quite striking and unique. Omaitz’s current works are paradoxical paper assemblages that suggest suburban houses that have passed through a hyper-disruptive space warp. I felt so privileged to meet and converse with Omaitz, whose conversation was boiling over with energy, observations and ideas about young artists, architectural trends, Case University’s Think[Box] and the Cube Houses in Amsterdam.

Dott Von Schneider — Schneider show “Road Trip” was exhibiting at the Hedge Gallery.  She’s such a genial, down-t0-earth person that I found myself immediately drawn into her world, a wacky twilight-zone where a giant-sized puzzle piece might be unearthed while hiking in the desert. Schneider relishes in the process of her creations, incorporating raw earth and expansive insulation materials into surfaces rich in texture and connotation. After chatting with us, she took questions from an inquisitive youngster, and it was lovely seeing the artist’s own inner child engaged.

Comix Events

Cartoon Crossroads Columbus

Oh my, this is a fantastic event!  Could only visit for a few hours this year because family was visiting back in Cleveland, but my mind was thoroughly blown by the talent and enthusiasm displayed at this show!  Spent a lot of time catching up with my old pal Bruce Chrislip (author of The Minicomix Revolution 1969-1989).  He maintains this incredible sketchbook with works by all the great cartoonists– Howard Cruise, Peter Bagge, William Stout, hundreds of legendary luminaries.  He asked me to do a sketch for him– the pressure was ON!!  It took me two drawing sessions, referencing a photo of Harvey Pekar I googled from my phone.  See Bruce and sketch below. 🙂