Popeye Gallery is proud to present our first exhibition of 2016. Our largest group show to date, Pop Goes Cleveland features emerging and established local artists who share a distinctly illustrative sensibility; often inspired early by comics and cartoons, which themselves have a rich history in Cleveland. In addition to professional comic artists and illustrators, Pop Goes Cleveland includes projected animations and large, free-standing sculptural work, as well as acrylic and oil paintings and more.
Pop Goes Cleveland features new and recent work by Steve Ehret, Jake Kelly, Clare Kolat, John G., Ashley Ribblett, Noelle Richard, Daniel Roth and Justin Michael Will.
Steve Ehret has been exhibiting his work throughout the region since he was 19 years old. Roughly a decade later, Steve has established himself as one of the area’s hardest working muralists and gallery artists. He often creates fun yet sophisticated portraits of monsters, creatures and other oddities from his own imagination. Their personalities are often amplified by their direct eye contact with the viewer; shattering the “Fourth Wall” and directly engaging the viewer. His work is influenced by our experiences’ more obscure realms – depicting characters and scenes in dreamlike settings. Steve’s work has been exhibited in Cleveland, Akron, Canton, Pittsburgh and several times in San Francisco. Additionally, his work has been showcased in Cleveland Scene Magazine, Cool Cleveland, Paradigm Magazine, London Street Design, Akron Life, Pink Eye Magazine, Akron Life and Leisure and more.
Last year, Jake Kelly had his first solo show in Cleveland in 10 years. A Heavy, Humid World at Gallery 160 included the release of Flyers: 2000-2015, a 420-page collection of 15 years worth of black-and-white local concert flyers created by Jake. Over the years, he has drawn thousands of original flyers for local and national bands for various local venues. Also a muralist, Jake’s larger paintings can be seen on the walls of Melt Bar and Grilled (various locations), Blue Arrow Records and the Grog Shop. Additionally, along with John G., he is the co-creator of the comic book, The Lake Erie Monster.
Clare Kolat earned her BFA in Illustration from the Cleveland Institute of Art in 2012. Along with fellow Pop Goes Cleveland artist Ashley Ribblett, Clare is a founding member of the local artist group, the Scribble Nerds. She currently pays her bills as a freelance artist and designer, working in both traditional and digital media. She also writes and illustrates her own original, independent comics. Along with fellow Pop Goes Cleveland artists John G. and Justin Michael Will, her work was featured in last week’s Annual Comics Issue of Cleveland Scene Magazine.
John G. was recently awarded a highly coveted Creative Workforce Fellowship. The recognition was long-overdue for one of the hardest working and most prolific comic artists in our region in recent memory. John is well known for a variety of reasons; including his sandwich-themed posters for Melt Bar and Grilled, co-founder of Genghis Con, the largest independent comics and small press convention in the region, as well as co-creator of The Lake Erie Monster (along with his high school classmate and fellow Pop Goes Cleveland participating artist Jake Kelly). In fact, John, Jake, Clare and Ashley all participated in Genghis Con 2015. Last year, John was the subject of TurnStyle Film’s documentary, Draw Hard. He also selected comic artists for Mimeo Revolution at MOCA Cleveland last year.
Ashley Ribblett is the co-organizer of Cleveland’s Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School. Dr. Sketchy’s features life drawing with burlesque-style models posing in themed costumes, outfits and various states of undress. Naturally, she specializes in pinup art. As an illustrator, Ashley enjoys working with both traditional and digital tools. As stated above, along with fellow Pop Goes Cleveland participant Clare Kolat, Ashley is a founding member of the Scribble Nerds. Her drawings have an intelligent, often sarcastic and humorous tone; often like an illustrated diary of the thoughts society tells us to keep in our heads.
Noelle Richard is currently a senior at the Cleveland Institute of Art, working on her BFA in Drawing. She is the co-chair for CIA’s 70th Annual Student Independent Exhibition, which will be the first time this student-organized event is held at the new Reinberger Gallery inside CIA’s unified campus on Euclid Avenue in University Circle’s re-branded “Uptown” neighborhood. Her work has been exhibited locally at venues such as Forum Artspace and HEDGE Gallery (both also located inside 78th Street Studios). Noelle is the only current student to have work permanently residing in the Reinberger Gallery’s Study Collection at CIA. Noelle’s handmade drawings are frequently animated and projected onto walls.
Daniel Roth earned his BFA in Sculpture (with an emphasis in Industrial Design) from the Cleveland Institute of Art last spring. In addition to several exhibitions at CIA, Daniel’s work has been exhibited at Forum Artspace, Waterloo Arts and Rotten Meat Gallery. Additionally, his work was featured on Reclaim Cleveland’s blog in early 2013. Daniel has work residing at Popeye’s sister organization, the Waterloo Sculpture Garden, founded by Popeye co-director Omid Tavakoli.
Justin Michael Will was very busy last year. In addition to exhibiting at Genghis Con 2015, Justin competed in (and won!) the invitational Ink Wars live drawing event at Weapons of Mass Creation Fest. Justin also created numerous band fliers for local concerts, as well as original zines. As we mentioned previously, you can see his work in last week’s Annual Comics Issue of Cleveland Scene Magazine. Follow the link for more comics by Bryn Adams, Gary and Laura Dumm and Nathan Ward. (Disclosure: Popeye Gallery co-director Josh Usmani is the Visual Arts Editor at Scene)
We hope you’ll join us to celebrate these tremendously talented artists and their incredible work during our opening reception from 5 to 9 p.m. this Friday, Jan. 15 during Third Friday festivities at 78th Street Studios.
The exhibition remains on view for next month’s Third Friday Closing Reception on Friday, February 19th from 5 to 9 p.m. (Live music presented by Brian Straw at 9 p.m.) Additional viewing hours are available by appointment.
(Flyer design by Justin Michael Will)