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Hanging off an entry wall in the Gateway Film Center is a colossal wooden sandworm—a zebra striped serpent with dull red eyes and conical teeth, hosting a smaller, fiercer snakehead inside of its mouth. Beside the sandworm is another Tim Burton touchstone—the head of a sulking goth man with scars on his cheeks and scissors [...]
Danny Hamen

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Hanging off an entry wall in the Gateway Film Center is a colossal wooden sandworm—a zebra striped serpent with dull red eyes and conical teeth, hosting a smaller, fiercer snakehead inside of its mouth. Beside the sandworm is another Tim Burton touchstone—the head of a sulking goth man with scars on his cheeks and scissors for hands.

Paul Giovis’ artwork is juvenile.

Not his methodology or execution, but in the themes that are presented in his work, reconnecting us with whimsy, adventure, and that often forgotten playful idealism.

The most demonstrative of this concept lies on the opposite wall—a three-part homage to the classic Spielberg pirate drama, Hook. The triad of scenes is stylistically cohesive with the rest of the series—skillfully painted, film-inspired birch wood cutouts protruding from a mural of decomposing trees and jutting metal stars—but the Peter Pan-inspired series “All Grown-Ups Are Pirates” wholly articulates the sentimentalities of his message—that growing up kind of blows.

“There is such a positive message in never growing up,” Giovis said. “All of these movies are something people can relate to when they were a kid.”

Giovis’ Hook series was chosen by Gateway to be expanded for a gallery on fear, a perfect way to initiate their Halloween season. You will find Zuul from Ghostbusters kickin’ it with a hockey-masked Jason, chilling beside an endoparasitoid extraterrestrial from the Aliens saga.

“All of these characters I have painted could have been what you feared as a child—especially the fear of growing up and being miserable.”

Giovis explains how his time at CCAD helped combine the artistic lessons of the past with the cultural mindset of today—a postmodern attitude juxtaposing art nouveau sensibilities. He cites Alphonse Mucha as a major influence, whose aesthetic is reminiscent of what you might find on the label of an old absinthe bottle or on a new age tarot card—theatrical portraits of ladies surrounded by nature, adorned with flowers. “That stuff goes back to late 1800s early 1900s, and I guess in my work it is a mix of that old style and newer aged stuff, like tattoo and street art.”

He cites skateboarding culture as another influence on his creativity, a sentiment that echoes the juvenile spirit of his work, using his knowledge of building skate ramps and decorating boards to create his sculptural paintings.

“Art and skateboarding are my two outlets, where you just get away from everything. The stuff I have made for this has come across for building other things. Also, skateboarding is a huge art community in itself. Every single deck is a piece of art. A skate shop is essentially a gallery of graphics. It is these two things that I care about the most. I get so into it that it feels like it they are the only things I want to do.”

We finish talking while sitting at a small table in the corner of the Torpedo Room, an enclosed restaurant inside the Gateway Film Center. Beside us are a half dozen circular TVs fashioned to look like submarine windows, exhibiting an animated ocean flowing onscreen. The room is dimly lit and feels almost magical, a sensation that movie theaters should evoke. After all, this is why we see movies, to take us to that place.

Giovis’ work accomplishes just that—he reminds us to covet our imagination, to embrace our intrinsic romanticisms, and to remember that we are all just big kids running around in adult’s clothing. As that tiny, twinkling pixie that took us to Neverland once said, “imagination has no age, and dreams are forever.”

The Gallery at Gateway Film Center is a movie-themed art space housed in the theater and free to all ticket holders. Hours are 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.

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Q&A: Columbus artist Mandi Caskey wants to bring us together

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Context plays one of the most important roles in our understanding of art. For instance, if you saw the unveiling of Columbus artist Mandi Caskey’s latest masterpiece, you’d probably equate the message to the daily protests that have been held in Columbus over the past week.

When the mural on the abandoned highway overpass near Scioto Audubon Metro Park was started, that wasn’t the case. It was a message meant to distract us from the hardships that COVID-19 flooded our lives with.

Now, to some people, the mural’s message, which stretches over 400 feet, takes on a new meaning.

(614) caught up with Caskey to find out the inspiration behind the piece and how she feels about subjectiveness in art. Check out a brief Q&A below and some incredible aerial footage from photographer/videographer John Thorne.

Obviously a project this big can't be tackled alone. Who all helped bring this idea to life?

From what I've read, it seems like your idea for this was greenlight very quickly and easily. Why do you think people responded to the idea in your message so strongly?

What roadblocks did you run into during the process of creating the mural?

How do you think art helps people during times of unrest and uncertainty like we're in right now?

I think there's something to be said about how the mural was made on the basis of the coronavirus pandemic and bringing people together and now it can take on the meaning of the social change that needs to happen in this world. What are your thoughts on that?


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Columbus artists employed to paint boarded-up downtown for #ArtUnitesCbus

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The Columbus arts community has really stepped up to the plate when it comes to trying to unite and inspire during tumultuous times. One of the latest efforts from visual artists around the area includes CAPA and Greater Columbus Arts Council (GCAC) latest partnership, #ArtUnitesCbus.

“When I do these projects, I try to remember to have fun and enjoy my loved ones. Even though it’s a bad time, there’s always room for love,” visual artist Hakim Callwood said.

The creative venture will exist to employ around 20 Columbus visuals artists. Their job will be to paint murals in place of the broken windows at the Ohio Theater and GCAC office. 

The art installations are expected to be finished by the end of the week.

“#ArtUnitesCbus is just one small way the arts community is trying to help. These murals are not the answer, simply a message that we ALL can, and must, help heal our community,” said Tom Katzenmeyer, President & CEO of the Arts Council, in a GCAC press release on Monday

Now more than ever is an extremely important time to give our community artists a platform. 

“The Columbus artists are more of a family than I think people understand,” Callwood said. “Whether we all talking every day or hanging out together; it doesn’t matter. When there’s times of need we always use our talents to support.” 

Check out the progress of their murals below.

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Weekend Roundup: 5/29 – 5/31

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With Ohio slowly starting to fully reopen, initial in-person gatherings have trickled into our news feeds.

Below are a few things you can check out over the weekend if you’ve been itching to leave your house and are capable of following COVID-19 guidelines.

Friday

Fair Food Weekend @ Oakland Nursery

One of the most disappointing summertime cancellations was the axing of the Ohio State Fair. For those still wanting to get their elephant ears or deep-fried oreo fix, Chester Foods will be bringing a pop-up food truck to the Oakland Nursery. Corn dogs, funnel cakes, fried oreos, fresh-cut fries, and lemonade shake-ups will all be on the menu. Fair food will be set up on both Friday and Saturday.

Time: 12 p.m. - 8 p.m. | Address: 4261 W. Dublin Granville Rd.

Saturday

Sonic The Hedgehog/Jumanji: The Next Level and The Hunt/The Invisible Man @ South Drive-In

With movie theaters in Ohio still closing their doors, the drive-in revival has been sweeping the state, nation, and world. Once drive-ins were given the go-ahead by DeWine, South Drive-In began to provide the double feature experience to eager moviegoers. Admission is $9.50 on Friday/Saturday and $7.50 on Sunday for those 12+, $2 for ages 5-11, and free for those under 4.

The showings for this weekend are as follows: 

Screen 1:

  • 9:05 p.m. Sonic The Hedgehog (PG)
  • 10:53 p.m. Jumanji: The Next Level (PG-13)
  • 12:56 a.m. Sonic The Hedgehog (Friday/Saturday only) 

Screen 2:

  • 9:25 p.m. The Hunt (R)
  • 11:05 p.m. The Invisible Man (R)
  • 1:09 a.m. The Hunt (Friday/Saturday only)

Check out the South Drive-In website to see what social distancing guidelines need to be followed.

Time: Arrive 1-2 hours prior to first showing | Address: 3050 S. High St.

Sunday

Reggae on the Patio @ Skully’s Music-Diner

If you’re in search of a relaxing Sunday, look no further than Skully’s. The music venue/bar will be opening its patio for those to have socially distance hangs, drinks, and wings. Skully’s will be setting the mood perfectly for a chill Sunday by spinning reggae music all night long. Get yourself out of the house and go catch some island vibes.

Time: 7 p.m. - 2 a.m. | Address: 1151 N. High St.

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