Northeast Ohio’s art scene is vibrant and diverse. It’s also constantly growing, a dynamic fueled in part by the region’s art schools and area galleries that showcase and support up-and-coming artists’ work.

Canvas believes it’s important to champion emerging talent, too, which is why we’re proud to present “Who’s Next,” a section that aims to celebrate and call more attention to artists early in their career.


Meet the artists


Who’s Next 2019


Who’s Next 2018

Years 22 • Hometown Westlake • Creates Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Mich. • Learns  BFA in drawing and printmaking from Cleveland Institute of Art; Expected MFA from Cranbrook

Story and photo by Amanda Koehn 

The natural-looking forms Cass Penegor creates are familiar, like something you saw in a science textbook, but can’t quite name.

Using gouache, acrylic and water-based inks on paper and making drawings, prints and low-relief installations, the artist relies on repetitive movements. Using their brush or scissors with a machine-like method, the aim isn’t to define the “organic friends,” as Penegor describes them – maybe a cell, virus, geologic matter or even a bubble – but rather to draw you in and reflect on how you might connect to the smaller beings that make up our bodies and earth.

“Some people see bacteria, or something maybe even like a virus, cells under a microscope,” Penegor says. “And those are all the right answers, because they are not any one thing – they are all of the things. It’s really about unity and connectedness between us and nature, how we are a part of these things and they are a part of us, and really taking the time to notice and appreciate that and spend time with the things.”

Penegor started becoming interested in biomorphic art – where sculpture, painting or other media are used to create abstract depictions of natural forms like plants, cells, organisms and body parts – a few years ago during their sophomore year at the Cleveland Institute of Art.  

“It was something that I couldn’t get away from, it was always in my mind and I was always drawing these organic biomorphic forms,” Penegor says. 

“Agate (4)” (2020). Gouache, 22 x 30 inches. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Although they had an interest in science and nature previously as a high schooler in Westlake, Penegor says they didn’t do so well in those subjects at the time. Instead, they gravitated toward theater and visual arts, and ultimately decided on the latter after getting into CIA. 

A spring 2020 graduate of CIA, Penegor began a print media master’s program at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., in September. 

Penegor’s work often takes on a blue, moody and intricate palate with patterns similar to a tree ring, yet occasionally will take on a bright color scheme and more circular or unique shapes. The colors and careful shapes have a quality that gives the viewer a sense of satisfaction they can’t quite place. 

When Canvas first met Penegor at their CIA studio in March, the artist described a potential interpretation of their organic creations as a “virus.” Just one week later, the entire state shut down due to a deadly virus that eight months later continues to devastate. Now, Penegor says that although viruses’ structures have an intriguing look, it might now be healthier, mentally, to think of their work differently.

“After that, I had to put that out of my brain and focus on some of the other ways that my work is read and interpreted,” Penegor says. 

When the pandemic hit, Penegor says the shift to learning and working remotely – while completing their BFA thesis – was a challenge.

“It was extremely stressful, especially as a printmaker and someone who was planning on making a lot of print work for my thesis, I could no longer do that because I can’t make litho prints at home,” Penegor says. 

Instead, Penegor ended up shifting toward making more gouache paintings and working on a large installation, which is now up in their studio. The focus of the project was on the biomorphic forms that are, “things that feel familiar, but they’re not directly representing something, so you can’t really name them.”

“Cranbrook Friend” (2020). Hand-cut paper, gouache, digital print, ink, marker, monoprints, spray paint, acrylic paint, desk, folding chair, paper tube, cloth bin and portfolios. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Over their years at CIA, Penegor had several opportunities to show work in spaces like Cain Park’s Feinberg Art Gallery in Cleveland Heights, Beck Center for the Arts in Lakewood, Eastern Michigan University’s Ford Gallery in Ypsilanti, Mich., and CIA’s Student Independent Exhibition. Penegor also was selected to be a student curator for the sixth annual Cain Park Collaborative Exhibition at the Feinberg Gallery – in conjunction with CIA – this past summer. However, the exhibit was canceled due to the pandemic.

Penegor says one of their biggest successes as an artist this early in their career has been having the opportunity to be a part of several shows – many of which CIA connections helped facilitate. Among challenges, Penegor points to narrowing their focus and dealing with mental health challenges. They also write poems and personal essays, and their experiences with obsessive compulsive disorder sometimes plays a role in developing creative works.

“OCD is a large part of my work a lot of the time, and the kinds of compulsions to be doing certain things, that can be challenging – and like channeling that into making these things,” Penegor says. 

At Cranbrook, the curriculum resembles more of a residency than a normal college program – there are no real classes, students are mostly “in the studio, doing your own thing,” Penegor says, with meetings and critiques interspersed. Penegor says they have also become interested in exploring more video and audio work during their first few months there. 

On breaks at home in Westlake, Penegor teaches at a KinderCare day care center, and hopes to stay connected to the Northeast Ohio art scene. For example, they hope to become an alumni ambassador at CIA. 

“Hopefully that happens because I’d really like to stay connected,” Penegor says.  


Denk-Leigh

They are passionate about finding themself as an emerging maker and artist, and interested in connecting different groups of people. I think sometimes artists and especially students, they are interested in putting their work out there. I think what Cass was interested in was connecting this group from their life over here, and this group from their life over there, and then this group of artists that they met through school, and they were interested in building bridges. And they did that with their internship project and then they did that again more recently after they graduated.

Maggie Denk-Leigh, chair of printmaking department, Cleveland Institute of Art


Years 26 • Lives and creates Cleveland’s AsiaTown • Learned Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, Ore.

Story by Jane Kaufman | Featured photo by Amber Ford

For printmaker and painter Juliette Thimmig, the artistic process often starts with a walk to uninhabited spaces within Cleveland’s AsiaTown.

She carries a sketchbook with her, along with pencils, pens and sometimes watercolors, using them to make drawings and notes about the slices of the world she observes.

“It’s so quiet down here,” Thimmig says. “There are so many pockets that are seemingly city that don’t feel city at all once you’re standing in them.”

Thimmig’s portfolio includes prints, mostly bold black woodcuts that speak to the state of the world and the environment, and colorful paintings with a powerful use of black, referencing that opaque woodcut style.

Thimmig grew up in Bainbridge Township on the Auburn line. As a child, she found herself drawn to both animals and nature. It was then that she first did observational drawings.

“I really liked growing up in rural Ohio,” she recalls. “It’s beautiful. It’s quiet, lots of frog sounds. And there was plenty to draw.”

Thimmig, who works as a shop technician and shop manager at Zygote Press also in AsiaTown, says it was her grandmother, Heidi Stull, who inculcated her interest in and appreciation for the making of art.

Stull, a native of Germany, opened a gallery in her Bainbridge Township home in 1988 through the early 1990s, introducing friends and neighbors to the works of European artists. Later, when Stull hosted Thimmig and her three siblings on visits, she encouraged them to produce works of art while they were with her – be it pottery, watercolor or prints.

“Rear View Mirage” (2019). Woodcut, 36 x 48 inches. | Image courtesy of the artist

“She really made it a point and made it a priority to make something with our hands,” Thimmig says. “So she kind of gave us the confidence that, if we make something, it’s worth something in the world.” 

Thimmig attended Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, Ore., where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in intermedia. She is largely a self-taught painter.

As well as giving her a grounding in her art and craft, living in Portland shifted Thimmig’s experience of living in rural versus urban settings. 

“I think in the country, it’s easy to feel safe when you’re there,” she says. “And then when you move to a city and you’re surrounded by people, you feel even safer for some reason.”

She says AsiaTown is “insanely quiet.”

“It’s so comforting. The people, the food, the energy, the sounds,” she says. “It’s home for sure.”

“We’ve Forgiven One Another” (2019). Acrylic and chalk on canvas, 24 x 24 inches. | Image courtesy of the artist

After her walks, Thimmig spends time in her studio and plays music while she practices her craft: swamp pop, swamp blues, Motown, funk, blues, Thelonius Monk and Nina Simone.

“It plays a big part in my studio practice,” she says. “It kind of generates the mood and the intention.”

With eight presses available to her at Zygote Press, Thimmig has decisions to make – both about process and technique.

“It’s really wonderful in some ways, but if you are someone that has the attributes of, ‘I really love to learn, I love process, I love labor,’ I tend to try everything and like everything,” she says. “So it turns into a little bit of an indecision sort of situation.”

Eventually, though, Thimmig will settle on a process and begin creating, sometimes with a plan in mind.

“And sometimes that doesn’t even work to try and organize those things,” she says. “Sometimes it’s just a very emotional pull. … So just listen to my intuition, put on some music and get going.”

“Parallels” (detail), 2019. Acrylic on canvas, 36 x 60 inches. | Image courtesy of the artist

She said working during the COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging as an artist. While there has been plenty of material to work with, there has also been what Thimmig describes as a heaviness in the air.

“It’s a really odd sort of time because you would think it would be perfect for an artist that is an introvert and wants to be in the studio making things constantly and not worry about … social gatherings and things like that, but I think it takes a toll,” she says.

Thimmig, whose prints particularly say a lot about the state of the world, says she sees art and politics as intertwined.

“Even if you’re making landscape paintings and it feels irrelevant, it’s very much a political statement in my eyes,” she says. “It’s a pause from capitalism. It’s referencing the environment, so it’s got a lot underlying that is political in a sense. … Words right now are really polarizing. So I feel like images, in a sense, are sort of a way to disseminate information a little more broadly and bring people back together.”    


Maugans

Juliette is a rare gem, and like a well-cut diamond, she brings this same integrity and dedication to her craft. This clarity shines in her paintings and prints. Her work deals with difficult themes through the perspective of the millennial generation, where her message is not particularly hopeful. In her painting, she delves deep into depictions of global warming outcomes and manufactured disasters in industrial wastelands like Cleveland. Her vivid relief prints, in contrast, explore cheerier landscapes but with a more uplifting curiosity. Her relief prints explore off-road escape routes through strawberry fields filled with carefully cut botanicals that take you on timeless road trips. Juliette has an innocence and appetite, much like Dana Schutz does, in discovering the stories and narratives of her time. 

Liz Maugans, co-founder and former executive director of Zygote Press, and curator of the Dalad Collection and director of YARDS Projects at Worthington Yards

On View

• View Thimmig’s work in Zygote Press’ virtual letterpress exhibition, “Make Ready for the Revolution!” on view through Nov. 30 at makereadyfortherevolution.tilda.ws.

Years 24 • Lives and creates Cleveland

Story by Amanda Koehn | Featured photo, self portrait by the artist

Da’Shaunae Marisa Jackson’s intimate, bright photos are a product of her ability to capture people in their true, relaxed forms. With each photoshoot, her aim is to make her subjects comfortable and open, allowing them to give more of themselves to the viewer.

“And by giving me more,” she says of her subjects, “I’m just showing their true selves in their most happy or peaceful moments. And I think that says something, I really do. I don’t want people to be uncomfortable when I’m photographing them, I want them to be themselves.”

While many of her photos evoke a sense of peace and lightness, it’s not because the subjects necessarily look happy or any specific way: it’s because you feel you are getting a snapshot into the life of someone new. That feeling of connectedness to a stranger brings about a sense of satisfaction that Jackson makes easy for the viewer.

Growing up in Cleveland and its suburbs, Jackson says when she was a child, her mother could always be found with disposable Kodak point-and-shoot cameras to snap family pictures. Her mother would send off Jackson to special days of school, like the first day or field day, with a disposable camera of her own.

“I was used to taking pictures that way of my friends,” Jackson says. “And I enjoyed it, I really did, but I didn’t think of it as a career until later in my life.”

After graduating from Garfield Heights High School, she attended Cuyahoga Community College but didn’t finish after an internship helped her get enough freelance work to make a go of it as a photographer. In addition to doing photoshoots, teaching and assisting other photographers, she also creates installations from her photos. 

“You Are the Standard of Beauty” by Da’Shaunae Marisa Jackson. Clothing by William Frederick of Cleveland.

A special opportunity came last year when she was one of more than 20 mostly local photographers who documented Cleveland and its residents for exhibit “Cleveland 20/20: A Photographic Exploration of Cleveland.” The project, a partnership between Cleveland Public Library and Cleveland Print Room, sought to capture the diversity and everyday happenings in the city. The photos have been on display at Cleveland Public Library’s main branch in downtown Cleveland since early this year and will be cataloged there.

She says “Cleveland 20/20” was, “a very big rediscovering of what’s here,” that came at the perfect time. It allowed photographers to “fully experience Cleveland,” capturing a moment in history of people at community festivals and gatherings, right before gathering was no longer permitted or wise after COVID-19 hit. 

Maryam for “You Are the Standard of Beauty.” The photoshoot was made into a mural in Public Square earlier this year. Photo courtesy of Da’Shaunae Marisa Jackson.

During the pandemic, Jackson has been busy taking portraits and has been hired by national news outlets like The New York Times to take photos in Cleveland and surrounding areas. Her first Times assignment was in the spring, and the demand for her craft grew from there. 

“It’s been nice to talk to more people that live here and see what they’ve been going through throughout this time,” she says of her work for news publications. 

She’s also created a series called Instax portraits. For Instax, or instant camera stills, she’ll cut portraits taken at various angles of the same person into pieces. She combines them into one re-imagined collage, depicting the individual in a new form.

“I take different options based on my sketches so it comes to life,” she says of the Instax portraits. “I’ll expand from that first piece and then it just blossoms from there, whatever ideas I add onto it or materials.”

Jackson has developed a wealth of YouTube videos of her creating the Instax portraits, which can be viewed on her channel, DaShaunae Marisa, as part of an ongoing project to capture her friends in their natural states. She also teaches instax and digital photography at the Cleveland Print Room in Cleveland.

Another ongoing project involves her own family photos, for which she received a grant from the Cleveland Foundation to create an exhibit at the Cleveland Print Room early next year. The project began as a way to document her family and its dynamics, and morphed after her mother passed away this year. 

“It will be interesting, that’s all I can say,” she says of the project. “(It’s) something I believe everyone can relate to, and I hope that a lot of other people will be able to understand and take something from this project.”

Kent State University basketball player Kalin Bennett for an Instax portrait. Photo courtesy of Da’Shaunae Marisa Jackson.

One challenge during the pandemic has been the inability to get people together for shoots, which is part of the reason Jackson has gravitated toward Instax – it only requires her and one other person. Moreover, the events of the past several months have refocused Jackson’s mind on the many issues facing our world and communities, and how she can document them as a photographer. 

“I have the ability to really show what those problems are in different ways through the people that are actually experiencing them,” she says. “It’s encouraging me to follow through with the projects that I want to, which mostly have to do with health, basic human rights – all of that stuff – and human connection and being able to connect with your neighbor, because we are all human and we are all going through this together.”   


Wilkins

Da’Shaunae’s work really resonates with me. At the heart of her diverse body of work is the documentation of the world around her, inspired with curiosity in the search of others’ individual stories.

Shari Wilkins, executive director, Cleveland Print Room

On View

“Cleveland 20/20: A Photographic Exploration of Cleveland,” will be on view through Spring 2021 at Cleveland Public Library, Main Library, Brett Hall, 325 Superior Ave., in Cleveland. For more information, visit 
cpl.org/eventsclasses/exhibits. The project can also be viewed online at cpl.org/eventsclasses/exhibits/cleveland-20-20/virtual-tour

Years 25 • Lives and creates Cleveland Heights • Learned BFA from Cleveland Institute of Art

Story and photography by Amanda Koehn

It only takes seconds to see there is so much more going on. A striking combination of mythological and Christian imagery, and complex psychological narratives make it hard to look away. 

For the 25-year-old artist who creates out of his Cleveland Heights home, ideas come from personal history and trauma. 

Davon Brantley’s portraits can draw in a passing viewer with just three elements: their polish, precise colors and unique textures.

“Where I start is, usually I recount back my childhood – especially the trauma that I experienced,” he says. “When I recount those experiences, I go into my family book which has just general family photos and that kind of stuff, and I’ll pick out which ones have a vibrant or interesting color scheme, and I’ll choose ones that have a great composition – where the people are communicating with each other or they are interacting with each other in a specific way.”

Then, he recreates the photos to express his vision, mood and feelings. He draws from a psychiatric term, dissociative identity disorder, which refers to a mental disorder experienced overwhelmingly by people who have experienced trauma and who psychologically separate into different identities. Thus, some pieces take on a manic, happy personality, while others depict depressive episodes and others, a more neutral, yet hopeless romantic character. 

“I see them inside myself, so I manifest it into paintings and drawings,” he says. “But I also see these (identities) as not necessarily a problem, but something that’s common among others as well.”

Brantley says he loved art as a kid growing up mostly in the eastern Cleveland suburbs. He jokes about getting into “a little bit of trouble” as a high schooler, selling his art inside school. 

Wanting to “ace every subject though to get a good GPA to get into a good college,” he seriously gravitated toward art during his senior year. He sought a mentor in an art teacher who helped him develop his portfolio, despite him never taking a formal art class. 

When he first got to the Cleveland Institute of Art, his work was “surface level,” he says. Dealing with and talking about traumatic childhood experiences, he began to work through them in his artwork. 

“I think that I really grew as an artist when I started to discover myself, and I started seeing a therapist about all these problems and just made art my modality,” Brantley says, adding that he sees studying and working in art therapy in his future. 

Right: “ON SIGHT” (2020). Sepia conte, pastel and charcoal on sepia toned paper, 70 x 42 inches. The piece was also made into a hoodie. | Photo courtesy of the artist.

Two years after graduating from CIA, the pandemic has been a time of creative inspiration and productivity for the artist. In response to the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement that aims to reckon with and reform our country’s long history of systemic racism and racist violence by law enforcement, Brantley saw several opportunities to create commissioned murals. He was among a group of local artists, organized by Graffiti HeArt and Random Acts of Kindness Everywhere, in June that painted a “Black Lives Matter” mural on East 93rd Street in Cleveland. 

From that, more mural opportunities came to Brantley, including at the West Side Catholic Center in Cleveland and on a wall along the railroad tracks in Bedford, the latter of which invoked the history of the Underground Railroad in Bedford and was also organized by Graffiti HeArt. 

“Then since the murals – that was kind of like a new thing for me – I already had certain exhibitions set up that couldn’t happen when the pandemic started,” he says. “And so after the murals and during the murals, those organizations opened back up their galleries.”

Since, he’s shown his work at the Waterloo Arts DayGlo show in Cleveland, Mahall’s in Lakewood and Artists Archives of the Western Reserve in Cleveland. He also has solo shows planned for Young’s Art Center in Fairview Park in January and BAYarts in Bay Village in August.

His current work is increasingly focused on experiences of racism, colorism, contemplating life and death, “and how being a Black man … kind of gives you a different perspective on how to handle those issues.” 

“I’ve created a lot of stuff that deals with those topics, kind of showing people what I actually feel as an African American male, the injustices that I see and I deal with on a day-to-day basis,” he says. 

He says some of that work has focused on the idea of “subverting a lot of the dark fantasies” stereotypically attributed to people of color. For example, he points to a painting with themes of lust and greed – but not what one may commonly associate with those words. 

“It will be more so about someone’s lust for care, life and having a heart and emotion, and trying to protect that at all costs, even though it seems like it’s pouring out of them at an exponential rate,” he says. 

He shows another piece – a 7-foot drawing of himself, made into a hoodie Brantley wears – inspired by religious Renaissance era work. A red dot encircles the subject’s head, which could resemble either a halo or the red target one sees when looking down the barrel of a gun – reflecting how Black Americans are targeted by law enforcement. A black square surrounds his body, as a nod to the “blackout” social media trend to shift attention to Black voices and pain. But in the drawing, “I made the Black body visible, so you had no choice but to see it.”

“And I drew myself in kind of a more classical pose – I’m sitting upright and everything, and it kind of just makes you think about the absence of African Americans in Renaissance paintings, Baroque paintings, art history and in general the lack of the stories being told about us,” he says.


Cooper

Some artists are really concerned with being trendy with their work. Davon’s not like that. He’s really emotionally raw and real. He’s constantly leaning into his work both in terms of how he makes it and in terms of putting it into the world. His work telegraphs out a very human experience. You don’t meet many artists that are just that forthright. His work is so satisfying to spend time with.

Lane Cooper, associate professor, painting department, Cleveland Institute of Art

On view

• Brantley’s work will be on view through Dec. 6 at Mahall’s Museum of Creative Human Art, 13200 Madison Ave., Lakewood. 

• “About Body | About Face,” which features Brantley and Ohio artists Lawrence Baker, Jacques P. Jackson, Amanda D. King, Yvonne Palkowitsh, LaSaundra Robinson and Tony Williams, will be on view through Jan. 16, 2021 at Artists Archives of the Western Reserve, 1834 E. 123rd St., Cleveland. Virtual artist talks will be held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Dec. 2 and Dec. 9, with more information at artistsarchives.org.

Northeast Ohio’s art scene is vibrant and diverse. It’s also constantly growing, a dynamic fueled in part by the region’s art schools and area galleries that showcase and support up-and-coming artists’ work.

Canvas believes it’s important to champion emerging talent, too, which is why we’re proud to present “Who’s Next,” a section that aims to celebrate and call more attention to artists early in their career.

To select the artists featured, we tapped local gallery directors, educators and other influencers for their expertise and insight. The end result is a group of rising stars who are putting in the work and whose art we feel you should see any time their names are affiliated with an exhibition.

Their disciplines include painting, sculpture and drawing. What they have in common is that they all represent the next generation of talented artists in Northeast Ohio.


Who’s Next 2018

Years 28 • Resides & Creates Lakewood • Learned BFA from Cleveland Institute of Art

Story and photography by Michael C. Butz

To indulge in an Alex Overbeck drawing is to enter another world – a complex, multi-layered world in which fantastical creatures traverse landscapes of perfectly patterned shapes and rich, vibrant hues, a world in which tranquility arises from collision between organization and disorder.

The scenes are surreal and unpacking them becomes an enveloping – and satisfying – endeavor.

“It becomes kind of a submersive experience just on this piece of paper,” Overbeck says. “I enjoy that. I enjoy the fact that you can play with everything there in your own way. I’m not really aiming to say anything specific, but I do want people to find a little bit of themselves in the work.”

“Hope to Find What You’re Looking For” by Alex Overbeck. Image courtesy of the artist.

In each piece exists liminal spaces where it isn’t necessarily clear what’s happening but something about it is intriguing. It’s from those spaces Overbeck’s art connects emotionally. 

“I try to find this weird middle ground between serenity and mania. That feeling of peace you get from that meditative aspect, meditation, or just in finding some sort of balance in yourself, and then also, the absolute insanity we live in on a day-to-day basis,” she says. “I guess it’s a way of processing that – the insanity I feel inside myself, but I think everybody feels (that) from time to time.”

Drawing has been an interest of Overbeck’s as far back as her childhood in North Muskegon, Mich. Her mother tells her she drew her first face when she was 3 years old. 

“It looked like an alien, I won’t lie,” she says, “but it had eyes, an actual head, hair and everything – it’s just really squiggly.”

But when she attended and graduated from the Interlochen Arts Academy, a fine arts boarding school in Michigan, it was as a vocal-performance major, and in college, she continued to pursue music.

She left school after a couple of years and later worked in the catering business around Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. While at work, she’d often see Cleveland Institute of Art students carrying their work around the neighborhood, which inspired her to pursue a career in art. When she graduated in May 2018, her BFA was in both drawing and painting.

“I’ve always been more of a drawer than a painter,” she says, “but I wanted to double major in painting and drawing. Drawing was a strong skill set I had but I wanted to strengthen my understanding of color and material handling.”

Overbeck still sings, and in fact, her creativity doesn’t end there. In recent years, she became interested in flow arts – namely hula-hooping. To pursue those interests, she joined Anadano, a group of artists that performs and puts on workshops at festivals. In some ways, she says, hula-hooping provides a brief respite from drawing and painting. Being an architect of artistic worlds can be draining and exacting work. 

“Precarious” by Alex Overbeck. Image courtesy of the artist.

As Overbeck begins to execute an idea, she has a sense of what she hopes takes shape but acknowledges the process is pretty open-ended. It begins with general, gestural mark-making with loose ink and unfolds from there. 

“It’s a lot of repetitious mark-making, mostly because I love the way it looks. I think it’s stunning. Dot stippling is pretty common, a lot of cross-hatching with some shading. You’ll see it in a lot of this work. It’s all done by hand,” she explains. “It has this sort of ‘staticky realism’ to it with all the accumulated marks, it has this really cool optical effect I’m attracted to.”

Along the way, and in every piece, she says, she discovers something new. That dynamic stokes her creative fire and encourages her to expand her artistic practice. 

“I’m always trying to push it in a different way, experiment a little bit,” she says. “There’s so much play with it. I get to play with colors, I get to do whatever I want on this blank surface, and I feel like that’s the most rewarding aspect of it.

“It can be frustrating at times, especially when I’m on deadline and I’m like pushing myself to work hours and hours and hours at a time just to finish it, but seeing the finished result gives me that feeling of satisfaction that I made something beautiful, something cool. … That’s a good feeling.” C


On View

“Emergent 2019” will be on view from April 26 to June 9 at Heights Arts, 2175 Lee Road, Cleveland Heights.


Tony Ingrisano

“Alex’s densely detailed, variegated drawings are portals to secret universes. The profuse mark-making and plays on spatial depth and scale shifts are a primer on world creating. Alex’s work never hesitates to get astounded reactions from viewers. Utilizing chance and gravity as stepping-off points, the artist meticulously builds kaleidoscopic mindscapes where the unexpected is always just around the corner.”

Tony Ingrisano, assistant professor, Cleveland Institute of Art

Years 23 • Resides & Creates Cleveland • Learned BFA from Cleveland Institute of Art (expected May 2019)

Story and photography by Michael C. Butz

To fully appreciate Bianca Fields’ art, it’s best to familiarize yourself both with what’s on the surface and what’s underneath it.

The latter is more abstract but more easily recognizable. Underneath the surface – in the psychological sense – are postcards to Fields’ past, replete with identifiable pop culture references like Pee-wee Herman, various Muppets or Dr. Seuss characters. A recently completed piece, “Boom Boom,” is a riff on the alphabet-teaching children’s book “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.” 

 “I’m very interested in the feelings of nostalgia. I’m very fascinated in cliché objects and experiences, such as cartoons or such as a book or such as an experience or a stencil of a letter I used to put this painting together,” she says, the latter note referring to “Boom Boom.” “I’m very fascinated in taking those things and bringing them into our reality once again. By the way I’m painting them allows you to be reminded of my visceral experience of those things.”

“Boom Boom” (detail),​ 2019; resin, acrylic, oil and spray paint on canvas; 52 x 84 inches. Image courtesy of the artist.

Fields grew up in Northeast Ohio and counts her creative father as an early artistic influence. 

“He was a very meticulous drawer and he would always draw pictures of me. It sort of rattled me that he was so good, and that was something I always wanted to become better at,” she says. “He was totally an influence on me.” 

In high school, she was drawn to painting, enjoying the challenge of formally learning a new medium as well as the experimentation it afforded her. Color provided a new vocabulary, one she continues to employ to project attitudes or feelings and trigger responses among her audience – and herself. 

“I love color because when thinking about color and talking about color in my artwork, it’s sort of an excuse to be able to talk about feeling and talking about what makes me excited about something or what makes me actually feel something or relate to something,” Fields says. “Color has been one of the most guttural or evocative things for me. Being able to do that with my artwork has become something I’ve been able to apply to real life, and I’ve been able to activate color through that.”

That longing to connect, or for genuine connection, also figures prominently. The nostalgia-soaked yearning is at times at odds and also in agreement with the manner in which her generation, she says, is consumed by viewing and presenting itself through the lens of social media. What’s the truth and what’s obscured by filters? The resulting dissension plays out in her art as “visual noise.” 

“When making a piece or work, or the way that I paint, it may reference abstract expressionism, neo-expressionism, impressionism – things like that, where you’re sort of responding to painting as a thing,” she says. “For me, visual noise is a way of metaphorically responding, like trying to contain this chaotic noise. That’s why I work in these frames and sort of paint in a very goopy, visceral, tangible way, where it’s almost like you’re trying to choke out a noise and mute it but also the noise is there.”

“Applause,”​ 2018; acrylic, oil and spray paint on canvas; 38 x 38 inches. Image courtesy of the artist.

How she approaches a painting is a point of pride with Fields. This is where understanding what’s on the surface – in a physical sense – comes into play. She’s a maestro with her materials, starting with the literal foundation on which her pieces take shape. 

“Surface preparation and building the structure, things such as that, my experience in the wood shop is very important to me. It’s very meditative, and it allows me to care more for the surface I’m working on,” she says. “The surfaces in my pieces are very important and I care for them a lot. Which means that (when) applying gesso, I do that in a very nurturing way. I apply 10 to 12 layers and scrape them off to get the surface to almost be like a dry-erase board. 

“When I start a painting, that already allows for there to be a mess. So, when I’m painting, the painting already starts drooping down and warping, and that already takes away the preciousness of making what someone would consider a beautiful painting.”

“Post Ghost,”​ 2018; acrylic, oil and spray paint on canvas; 40 x 36 inches. Image courtesy of the artist.

This summer, Fields will take her talents to Kansas City, Mo., where she intends to mine artistic material from a landscape other than Northeast Ohio. She also hopes to do the same someday in London by way of a residency. Regardless of her environs, her art and her techniques are all but certain to continue evolving in intriguing and fascinating ways.

“When working on a piece in the past, I was very obsessed with portraiture – taking an image, painting it just as I saw it, trying my best to get it there first and then do all of these extra things that implied my hands were in it, such as laying a picture down and then putting words over it,” she says. “Now, I’m really involved with the paint as a material and less concerned with the actual image. If the original image is still identifiable, then that’s an extra layer to the read.” C


Liz Maugans

“Bianca is the real deal. Her paintings are a display, a feast of swashbuckling gesture and varying surfaces and meditations. When you talk with her about her work, she gets excited telling you about all her approaches, journeys and challenges making the canvases. She really throws it all in there – pop culture, nostalgia, politics – and it is her athleticism and confidence that shines in her dance with the paint.”

Liz Maugans, director, YARDS Projects at Worthington Yards

Years 26 •  Resides & Creates Kent • Learned BFA from New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University in Alfred, N.Y.

Story and photography by Michael C. Butz 

Ella Medicus wants to make you question your surroundings. Her largely sculpture-based practice revolves around manipulating the mundane to toy with your sense of familiarity and challenge your notions of worth and functionality.

Her artistic distortion is aimed at everyday objects ranging from elongated bar codes and Amazon boxes to mechanized plastic grocery bags. Each is recognizable but no longer operational – at least not in their customary way, and that’s the idea. 

The objects often take on new meanings. For example, that motor-powered plastic bag moved around a gallery floor and was playfully anthropomorphized by viewers rather than avoided, as a wind-blown plastic bag on the street – similar in appearance – might be.

“Elongated Amazon Box” by Ella Medicus, 2018; wood, inkjet print on paper. Image courtesy of the artist.

That’s the type of re-evaluative, perspective-shifting interaction Medicus seeks. In a show on view through May at The Sculpture Center in Cleveland, “SubFunction,” she employs a vending machine filled with snack-like objects to explore themes of worth and the value of art. 

“The objects are technically art objects that are being sold out of (the vending machine) because I’ve altered them, and when you think about buying art, there’s a whole realm of who has access to buying art, who’s selling art (and) what are the prices,” she says. “Putting little objects into a vending machine is like saying, ‘Anyone can buy this.’”

In the same show, she uses side-by-side gumball dispensers – one filled with plastic capsules of American soil, the other filled with capsules of soil from Paris, where she recently completed a monthlong residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts – to question Americans’ idealized perceptions of The City of Lights. 

“Dirt Dispenser” by Ella Medicus, 2019; capsule dispenser, capsules, dirt.

“Things from Paris are seen as romantic and special, so I was thinking, ‘How can I talk about that?’” she says. “I was looking a lot at things that were on the ground – the actual soil, litter, things that were discarded – and thinking, ‘What if those things are put on a pedestal instead of the automatic ones, like the Eiffel Tower?’”

Sculpture is the conduit for Medicus’ conceptually nuanced projects but it wasn’t her first medium of interest. 

“I thought I was going to be a painter when I went to college, but then I was exposed to sculpture during my schooling and started realizing it made more sense to my mind and I could use objects in different ways,” she says, noting another favored medium is video. “Every project I do is different. When someone asks, ‘What kind of artist are you?’ it’s hard for me to say I’m a sculptor or I’m a video artist because everything is really fluid to me. It really depends on what message I want to have – that’s what determines the medium.” 

Process is important to Medicus. She credits conversations with peers – whether her classmates when in school or current artistic collaborator, Eric D. Charlton – with helping her projects take shape. That isn’t to say there haven’t been growing pains. She acknowledges her overall creative process is something to which she’s still adjusting. 

“I had a hard time understanding and accepting the way that I work, which is very sporadic. I’ll have an idea or be influenced by something I see, and then things kind of come together,” she says. “I used to think that to be an artist you had to be in your studio laboring away for hours over one thing, and I used to beat myself up about that because I saw a lot of people who did that in school and in life but I could never really make myself do that. And then I realized, ‘OK, I don’t have to do that and can work the way I actually work,’ which is pretty random, and with strange inspiration, suddenly, and then for a while, nothing. (laughs) I’m coming to terms with that.”

Installation view of “SubFunction” at The Sculpture Center. On the right is “Vending Machine” by Ella Medicus, 2019; mixed media, vending machine. On the left is “Lamp” by Eric D. Charlton, 2019; atex, lampshade, lamp hardware.

If other budding artists are facing similar struggles, Medicus hopes they can follow her example. 

“For young artists, if (you) feel stuck in ‘you have to work this one way’ (or) ‘you have to make your work look like it’s made by one person,’ you don’t have to do that. It doesn’t matter. You can do whatever you want – and you should do whatever you want because that’s where something interesting will happen.” C


On View

“Ella Medicus & Eric Charlton: SubFunction” remains on view through May 24 at The Sculpture Center, 1834 E. 123rd St., Cleveland. The show is part of The Sculpture Center’s Window to Sculpture Emerging Artist Series.


“Ella Medicus’ artwork flirts with both humor and the sublime, subtly tweaking mundane objects to unexpected and often hilarious effect. Her work is quiet and initially unassuming, but closer inspection reveals the artist’s subverted sense of humor through mimicry or manipulation of everyday materials.”

Gianna Commito, professor of painting and drawing, Kent State University

Years 38 • Resides & Creates Richmond Heights • Learned BFA from Southern University A&M College in Baton Rouge, La.

Story and photography by Michael C. Butz

Antwoine Washington is an artistic dual threat. A skilled portraitist, his precise, life-like drawings pull people in with rich detail and invite them to relate to the subjects. His paintings, with topics ripped from the day’s headlines, are more visceral, and when he wants them to be, less refined, yet they convey equally compelling messages to viewers. It’s a powerful combination of talents.

“I always say it’s like, using basketball terms, you got a basketball player who can play street ball and he can play in the NBA,” he says. “When I really want to get personal with a piece, or intimate with it, I’ll draw it. It’ll take me longer, and I’m really just fleshing everything out. But when I paint, I use my painting as, like, a lot of emotion. I just want to get it out and I don’t want to waste a lot of time. I want people to see the emotion in it.”

In other words, his paintings earn him a game at Rucker Park in Harlem, his drawings – his primary passion – get him on the court at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. 

Washington grew up in Pontiac, Mich., and from an early age, he drew Saturday morning cartoon characters for fun. Despite showing promise, he never thought about pursuing art professionally. 

“How I grew up in a poor neighborhood, art wasn’t seen as a way out. You either rapped or you played basketball – those were the popular things,” he says. “I stuck with art. I always said I wanted to go to college and do the art thing in hopes it would eventually take me there.”

Even in college, however, Washington often had to be pushed by professors to enter his work in shows or pursue a career in art. Instead, he says he took on 9-to-5 jobs in order to “make some money,” the most recent of which was as a United States Postal Service mail carrier – a job that left him feeling unfulfilled.

To fill the creative hole, he’d come home from work to draw and paint, often posting the results on social media. The chorus of those encouraging him to focus solely on art – his wife, his friends, even his co-workers – grew louder, and he eventually decided to pursue art full time. The results? Fulfilling. 

“Powernomics” (Man), 2019; graphite and charcoal on Bristol board; 19 x 24 inches. Image courtesy of the artist.

In the first Northeast Ohio show Washington’s work was included, the Artists Archives of the Western Reserve’s “New Now 2018,” he received the People’s Choice Award – Honorable Mention as voted on by viewers. Not long after, he was awarded an honorable mention award at Valley Art Center’s 47th Annual Juried Art Exhibit.

Amid those successes, Washington endured what could’ve been a serious setback. In November 2018, he suffered a stroke that left the entire right side of his body numb, including the hand he uses to draw and paint. He persevered and has since regained full use of his hand. He also gained a renewed sense of confidence.  

“I feel like I gained an actual super power with that,” he says. “At first, I’d second guess myself, but I think maybe that part of my brain died and made me feel like, ‘Hey, screw it, I’m going to just go for it and try it and see what happens.’ It gave me … (a sense of) no fear. That super power of ‘no fear,’ I feel like that’s what happened after that.”

From the beginning, Washington’s art has been rooted in personal experience and representative of his surroundings. The 1992 assault on Malice Green by two white Detroit police officers that killed Green, who was black, left a mark. 

“That always stuck with me,” he says. “I always said if I ever did art and was able to go into museums and do it professionally, that I’d paint about those types of things.”

“Black Family” (The myth of the missing black father), 2019; acrylic paint on canvas; 24 x 30 inches. Image courtesy of the artist.

Among the topics he explores in his art is the parallel he sees between antebellum slavery and the disproportionate imprisonment of African-Americans in the United States. It’s a complex subject, he admits, but one – like others – he hopes to make “more digestible” to a broader audience through his art. Washington says his goal isn’t necessarily to change minds, it’s to get people to listen. 

“I’m just trying to be a voice for the voiceless,” he says. “Sometimes, people in the black community don’t have an opportunity to tell their stories. So, if I’m going to be in front of people, I feel like, ‘Hey, this is me, I’m letting you know what’s going on around me. These are the people talking through me, from my ancestors to now.’

“When viewing my art, just give it a chance. … Because I talk about some heavy stuff, some people probably are afraid to latch onto it, but don’t be afraid to look past the racial element and find something in it for yourself. A lot of times, like I say, I always speak from my perspective, but you can also get something from it because we all go through the same stuff. We’re all human, so we go through human stuff.” C


On View

  • “The Art of Realism” will remain on view through Oct. 31 at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (5300 Riverside Drive, Cleveland) as part of the airport’s Temporary Art Exhibition Program.
  • “Fabulism” will be on view from May 9 to June 28 at YARDS Projects in Worthington Yards, 725 Johnson Court, Cleveland.
  • “Rooms to Let CLE” will take place the weekend of May 18-19 at various locations throughout Cleveland’s Slavic Village neighborhood.
  • “seenUNseen” will be on view from Sept. 20 to Nov. 16 at the Artists Archives of the Western Reserve, 1834 E. 123rd St., Cleveland.

“Antwoine Washington’s art succeeds in bridging cultural divides. Its subject matter is urgent, its delivery impassioned and its ability to spark important conversations significant. On several levels, it connects – and Northeast Ohio is fortunate to be home to an artist of his caliber and potential.”

Michael C. Butz, editor, Canvas 

Years 40 • Resides & Creates Cleveland Heights • Learned BA from Cleveland State University

Story and photography by Michael C. Butz

Danté Rodriguez isn’t new to the scene. He emerged as an artist several years ago, receiving an honorable mention at the Cleveland Museum of Art’s prestigious “The NEO Show” in 2005 and even co-founding his own gallery, Wall Eye Gallery, which showcased artists from 2009 to 2011 in Cleveland’s Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood.

Now, the draftsman is re-emerging with experimental and potentially transformative techniques. His art has long grappled with identity – still does. But his focus has shifted from solely exploring personal, relational themes to examining his process and approach to drawing. He’s challenging the identity of his art. 

“Throughout art history, people have always questioned the idea of painting. ‘What is painting?’” says Rodriguez, noting the degree of experimentation the medium allows. “I want to do the same thing for drawing. I want people to question the reality of what I’m presenting, if it’s a drawing, if it’s a sculpture. The new work is related to that. Just, think differently. Shift your thinking a little bit. It still can be considered a work of art, for sure. A drawing? Maybe, maybe not.”

His boundary pushing can be seen in his “fur drawings,” recent works in which he cuts intricate designs into canvases of faux fur. The concept was inspired by his mother, a beautician. 

“I was thinking, ‘What else can I use to draw?’ And I was thinking about barbers – they cut into people’s hair, but it’s temporary. So, can we make it permanent?” he says. “I was just drawing with clippers instead of charcoal.”

“Self-Portrait,” 2017, charcoal and linseed oil on Yupo paper. Image courtesy of the artist.

Rodriguez’s latest body of work involves yet another unique medium: charcoal mixed with linseed oil. He’s applying his “charcoal paint,” as he calls it, to found wood panels, metal objects, paper and fiber to conceal the identity of its form in a uniform black coating.

The masking darkness of that medium is intentional. In stark contrast to an earlier series consisting of brightly colored portraits of various Latino identities or his vibrant 2018 mural “La Ofrenda De Xochipilli” in the Gordon Square Arts District, both of which outwardly celebrate Latino culture, these new works – his Black Sun Series – convey sorrow, gloom and introspection stemming from personal hardships. The  relatable emotions emanate from his canvas and swirl in viewers’ minds and hearts.

“I’ve been going through a dark period of my life for the past year-and-a-half that has culminated in ending of my marriage,” he says, adding he’s also still coming to terms with learning at 21 he was adopted. “I’m also learning about how many of us adoptees experience trauma when we are separated from our birth mothers at birth.

“So, this new work is delving into my subconscious to face a reality that I’ve been fearful of facing. Between the trauma of discovering late in life my adoptive status to my current divorce, this new series of work has taken on a therapeutic nature of healing for me,” he says. “The feeling of covering objects or boards in black is symbolic of my memories and feelings buried deep in my subconscious.”

In that way, art is a safe space for Rodriguez. In the wake of learning of his adoption, as he wrestled with questions of identity and belonging (he was raised by a Puerto Rican family in Lorain but learned he was born in Mexico), art afforded him an opportunity to express himself and share his journey. 

“Being 12,” 2017, charcoal and linseed oil on Yupo paper. Image courtesy of the artist.

When he isn’t making art, Rodriguez is helping display it at the Cleveland Museum of Art, where he’s a mount maker within the exhibition and design department. In that role, he makes armature, custom brackets or whatever other support structures might be needed to make safe the relics the museum receives and displays.

Rodriguez credits having so many different materials in his hands at CMA with challenging him to try different things in his own practice – one of many inspirations that lead him to continually reinvent himself and his artwork

“One of the biggest critiques I got from one of the professors I loved was, ‘Danté, you have to pick a style and focus,’” he says. “You know, I’m not interested in creating a brand of my art, I’m just interested in exploring what I’m feeling, what I’m thinking – because how I thought 10 years ago is totally different from now. We’re constantly growing and always gaining new knowledge or insight, and I want my work to express that. … I don’t want to be stuck.” C


On View

  • “Fabulism” will be on view from May 9 to June 28 at YARDS Projects in Worthington Yards, 725 Johnson Court, Cleveland.
  • “Unidos per el Arte” will be on view from May 17 to June 21 in Gallery 215 at 78th Street Studios, 1300 W. 78th St., Cleveland.
  • “America’s Well-Armed Militias” will be on view from Aug. 16 to Sept. 27 at SPACES, 2900 Detroit Ave., Cleveland.

Adam Tully & John Farina

“Through his search for better understanding his identity, his journey has brought him into multiple art mediums. If you viewed his work during the CAN Triennial, you would see brightly colored faux fur works that were intricately shaved and layered. Also around that time, he dedicated time completing a mural next to Astoria Market in Detroit-Shoreway that depicts of Xochipilli, the Aztec god of beauty, poetry and dance. His homage is beautifully rendered in his striking color palette and the piece seems to undulate on the wall. We have been collectors of his work for years. We’ve seen his ideas change, but each time we see something new, we see something more refined and interesting.”

Adam Tully & John Farina, owners, Maria Neil Art Project

Years 59 • Resides & Creates Moreland Hills • Learned BFA from Cleveland Institute of Art

Story and photography by Michael C. Butz

Kimberly Chapman remembers well the moment she decided to leave behind her 25-year career in marketing to become a full-time artist. The fateful encounter occurred at Ursuline College in Pepper Pike, where she was marketing director.

“There’s a woman there I really admire, Sister Diane Pinchot, who came over for lunch one day. When I answered the front door, she had a beautiful pot she’d made and had kiln-fired – I swear it was still warm when she brought it – and I looked at that pot and thought to myself, ‘That’s it, I’m going back to school,’” she says. “It was black with these beautiful metallic blues. I just fell in love with it immediately and thought, ‘This is what I want to do.’ It was almost an immediate decision. She left after lunch and I called CIA.”

Fast-forward a few years and she has a BFA in ceramics from the Cleveland Institute of Art. And Sister Pinchot’s pot? It’s now in Chapman’s home studio.

“Heard ‘Em Coming Reliquary,” 2019; porcelain, glaze, luster; 15(l) x 8.5(w) x 6(d) inches.

Nearly as swift and certain as her decision to pursue art has been her ascension within the local arts scene. Within the first four months of 2019, her work had already been accepted into shows at Valley Art Center in Chagrin Falls, Heights Arts in Cleveland Heights and BAYarts in Bay Village – and with good reason. 

Her porcelain work is hauntingly beautiful. It’s both eerie and elegant, as moonlight and shadows, and its unearthly aura captivates. Chapman’s connection to the clay and her craft is evident in every piece.

“There’s something about clay, there’s something about ceramics – it’s very tactile. You always have to touch it; you always have to hold it in your hands and feel it,” she says of her medium of choice. “It’s so personal. Clay is a very personal medium. … It has such an incredible capacity for memory.”

Chapman’s work is turning heads across Northeast Ohio. In fact, one of her pieces was recently awarded best in show at the BAYarts Annual Juried Exhibition. 

“I always thought if I could get best of show maybe just once in a lifetime, wouldn’t that be amazing?” she says. “The jurors for that show really gave me a vote of confidence I don’t think I had before. So, you start skipping around thinking, ‘Wow, this might be possible for me to be a ceramic artist and to show my work and to have a message.’”

“‘A’ is for Active, ‘S’ is for Shooter” Series (combo image), 2018; porcelain, glaze; average 7(l) x 7(w) x 5½(d) inches.

Messages are central to Chapman’s art. The piece that won was from her “‘A’ is for Active, ‘S’ is for Shooter” series consisting of three pieces named “Sitting Duck,” “Be Brave” and “M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E Gas Mask” – costumed figures that represent children’s vulnerability and uncertainty at school that offer poignant commentary on the state of school safety. Other narratives include domestic violence and immigration. 

“What I’m most interested in is looking at situations where people are in a very difficult situation and how they survive. How do the asylum seekers survive these terrible trips they make to come to America or other countries in search of a better world? How do parents survive after losing children who’ve been killed in a shooting spree at school?” she says. “One of the things I’ve always been interested in is what’s left behind. When everything is over and finished, what’s left behind? What are the feelings that are left behind? What are the actions one might take with what’s left behind? I think I really like looking at struggle and human nature. How can you persevere against impossible odds or sorrow or loss?”

“Ghost Ship” & “Star Gazers” (combo image), 2019; porcelain, glaze, luster; “Ghost Ship” 24(l) x 22(w) x 6(d) inches / “Star Gazers” average 4(l) x 3(w) x 4(d) inches.

Chapman’s early success may make it easy to forget her art career is so young or overlook the fact that she earned her BFA not as a 20-something but at the same time she became a grandmother.

Her age and experience were assets. A strong work ethic and skills honed during her previous career – organization, writing, networking – have all helped her as an artist. She says she’s an advocate for education at any age and encourages others considering late-in-life career changes to become a nontraditional student like she was. 

“Go for it,” Chapman says. “If you have the opportunity to go back to school, take it, because there’s nothing like it in the world. It will expand your horizons and make you a better artist.” C


On View

  • “Observation/Conservation” remains on view through May 8 at Valley Art Center, 155 Bell St., Chagrin Falls.
  • “Emergent 2019” will be on view from April 26 to June 9 at Heights Arts, 2175 Lee Road, Cleveland Heights. Chapman will also take part in related programming – “Ekphrastacy: Artists Talk + Poets Respond” – at 7 p.m. May 23.
  • “2019 Summer Mash-Up” will be on view from June 7-28 at Ursuline College’s Florence O’Donnell Wasmer Gallery, 2550 Lander Road, Pepper Pike.

Mary Urbas

“Balancing beauty with the macabre, Kim’s nonfunctional porcelain sculpture centers on ‘what’s left behind.’ Childhood and ancestral memories loom large with a strong sense of home. Kim has an affinity for pure white, translucent porcelain clay because of its soft, sculptural and ethereal nature.” 

Mary Urbas, gallery coordinator and exhibition curator, Lakeland Community College 

Northeast Ohio’s art scene is vibrant and diverse. It’s also constantly growing, a dynamic fueled in part by the region’s art schools and area galleries that showcase and support up-and-coming artists’ work.

Canvas believes it’s important to champion emerging talent, too, which is why we’re proud to introduce “Who’s Next,” a section that aims to celebrate and call more attention to artists early in their career.

To select the artists featured, we tapped local gallery directors – both independent and university-affiliated – for their expertise and insight. The end result is a group of rising stars who are putting in the work and whose art we feel you should see any time their names are affiliated with an exhibition.

Their disciplines include painting, photography, sculpture, drawing and fiber arts. There’s even some stage acting involved. What they have in common is that they all represent the next generation of talented artists in Northeast Ohio.


Who’s Next 2019