Connect with us

Arts & Culture

Gallery Space: Uko Smith

Uko Smith has had a passion for comics since his days growing up in Baltimore, hanging around at Geppi’s Comics. The Columbus transplant has come to the right place, though. The capital city is home to The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library, as well as hot comics spots like Laughing Ogre, Packrat Comics, Comic Town, and [...]
614now

Published

on

Uko Smith has had a passion for comics since his days growing up in Baltimore, hanging around at Geppi’s Comics. The Columbus transplant has come to the right place, though. The capital city is home to The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library, as well as hot comics spots like Laughing Ogre, Packrat Comics, Comic Town, and Heroes and Games. We also host a mean con. Comic conventions are no longer merely the territory of nerds. Well, they are definitely the territory of nerds. But that term has been reclaimed and monetized. Gatherings like Mid-Ohio Con are teeming with opportunities for artists to meet publishers, and show off their latest artwork. (614) caught up with the CCAD instructor and jack-of-all comic trades to get a glimpse of his latest work, and hear his musings on the galaxy of comics, and his place in it.

I got my first start in comics when I stopped walking around with my portfolio at conventions trying to get work, and decided to start purchasing my own table at Chicago Comic-Con and Motor City ComicCon in Detroit. I did not know at that time that editors and art directors would be walking around looking for artists. I was initially just looking to sell my own work to the visiting crowds.

I believe that it is better to develop your own style… Because over the course of your art career, you don’t want to hear that your art “looks like someone else’s.” …I do believe that being versatile in what you do is a way to stay fresh as well. I can go from doing a really serious rendered illustration to something [whimsical] and [flirting with] erotic art. Having that versatility has served me well from doing illustrative work to concept art with various companies.

Currently I am working on a few different things from cover art with publishers, to having a solo art show, to my creator-owned project, 1500. This project is such a passion for all things that I love illustrating. I love drawing women and just female characters, period. So, I have 3 main characters, all female, who are fashion models but double as assassins. It’s incorporating a lot of the things I love doing such as action scenes, high fashion, weapons, vehicles, and concept art. It was borne out of doing specific concept art I wanted to see in a book. I’m currently working on the first issue, as I have a good six issues planned on the first installment and [I’m] looking to do a Kickstarter for the first issue or until I find the right publisher for it. Spring 2019 is the planned print date.

At the early stage when I was looking for work as an artist, [I] was just going to the big conventions. Then, as my thinking and art evolved, it was a combination of doing good art, being able to tell a story, and being able to create my own branding. Once I started investing into myself and creating my own content is when I started to see how people were taking notice of what I was doing. Today, it’s a lot of social media and constantly posting new works to show people that you are producing and creating really good content. Also, knowing the value of your work.

That is a price. Also, just know what it is you want to do, whether it’s as a penciller, inker, colorist, letter, cover artist, or maybe you just want to do it all. [Comics are] a medium that has always tried to get noticed by the local community. It was a combination of things, but probably because of the Marvel films that folks started to take notice. I know CCAD started to take notice. Since I began teaching, students were always interested in comics and sequential storytelling. My classes were nearly full every semester. And now, CCAD has a Comics and Narrative Practice Major. Comics is an outlet for any individual, either as a creator or reader.

There was a time when I and a group of close friends started Quest Studios in downtown Columbus. It was such a great experience being with like-minded people all for a common purpose in creating great art and stories. The lot of us from my Quest Studio days eventually parted and moved to the left and right coast because that was where the work was. I’ve seen it grow year by year, and it is good to see that comics is being known as a viable medium again. But, like with anything in this town, it needs support. 

For more, follow @ukosmith or visit ukosmith.com

Continue Reading

Arts & Culture

Arts Fest Preview: Kate Morgan, 2D mixed media artist

614now

Published

on

SPONSORED

Kate Morgan began developing her ghostly, layered two-dimensional portraits after going back to school at the Columbus College of Art & Design in 2005. She already had some background in visual arts through her work in fashion and commercial photography, so the transition to drawing and painting was organic.

Morgan’s textured collages are inspired by folklore, mythology and a variety of artistic periods — especially Byzantine art. The 2011 Columbus Arts Festival Emerging Artist alum and 2019 exhibiting artist welcomes a wide array of complex themes into her pieces — including symbolic, cultural, historical and spiritual themes — while utilizing layers of vintage paper and original drawings to create visual depth and a sense of mystery.

Her pieces are purposely vague, leaning toward more minimalistic ideas to allow for wider interpretation by audiences. Largely her art depicts the female form, with as many layers and stories to tell as that of every human being. This is done with an eclectic assortment of materials — including sheet music, German Biblical pages, newspaper and maps — to add detail in both a topical and textural sense.

BROUGHT TO YOU BY

And yet, Morgan still continues to look for a challenge. From venturing away from her familiar blue hues to exploring different mediums like ceramics, her work knows no creative limits.

Morgan has exhibited at the Columbus Arts Festival nearly every year since 2011. She has gone on to win two jurors’ choice awards in the 2D category at the Columbus Arts Festival, as well as sell and have work juried at other major festivals across the country. In Columbus, her work can be seen as part of the Columbus Makes Art and Donatos Pizza collaborative mural “Every Piece Is Important” at the John Glenn Columbus International Airport.

Morgan has a BFA from CCAD and currently works out of her Franklinton studio in Columbus. Experience this stunning work first hand when you visit her at booth M572 on the Main Street Bridge during the Columbus Arts Festival from June 7-9 at the downtown riverfront.

Continue Reading

Arts & Culture

Be Square: Changes coming to arts community at 400 W Rich

Mike Thomas

Published

on

If you haven’t visited the thriving arts community at 400 West Rich street in awhile, you might be surprised to see how much things have changed. Now, the minds behind the city’s hub for the arts are changing things up to better reflect the area’s evolution.

400 Square is the new collective moniker for the array of concepts that currently occupy the buildings on the 400 block of Rich street in Franklinton. The rebrand seeks to unify the community of artistic innovators who call the area developed by Urban Smart Growth their creative home.

Promo art for 400 Square by Anthony Damico

Spaces encompassed in the rebrand include Strongwater, The Vanderelli Room, and Chromedge Studios, and of course, the studios at 400 W. Rich. While the name may be changing, the group remains committed to providing and sustaining a thriving hub for creatives through education, resources, and entertainment opportunities in the area.

BROUGHT TO YOU BY

With the launch of 400 Square, Urban Smart Growth Director of Operations Seth Stout has led his team to develop new offerings for each of the growing spaces. Food and Beverage Director Lauren Conrath and Events Director Molly Blundred have taken the lead with changes to the Strongwater brand, while Community Director Stephanie McGlone and Art Director AJ Vanderelli are facilitating programming for all ages and abilities on the artist side.

Through all of the changes on the way, the staff at 400 Square are committed to bringing the public the same high quality of workshops, events, exhibitions, and more that have always been part of their unique creative community.

Stay tuned for more info—the new 400 Square officially rolls out during the weekend of Columbus Arts Fest 2019, June 7-9.

Continue Reading

Arts & Culture

Arts Fest Preview: Cousin Simple to wow crowd with energy, passion

614now

Published

on

SPONSORED

As a young up-and-coming band, Cousin Simple is excited to play at this year’s Columbus Art’s Festival. In their two years as a band, they have already done a lot of really cool things, such as making a single with L.A. multi-platinum music producer David Kershenbaum, playing at Vans Warped Tour at Blossom Music Center, and selling out shows at the A&R Bar, the Basement and The Big Room Bar. But there is much more they want to accomplish including recording more music, making a music video and playing more shows in and out of Columbus.

The band members are all Columbus born and raised. Four members currently attend The Ohio State University, while their drummer Joel is finishing up his junior year at New Albany high School. Cousin Simple brings an energy and passion to the stage and gives everything they have to their performances, regardless of the crowd size. They just released a new single in February called Honeybee, available on iTunes and Spotify and have a single set to release May 10 titled “Star Destroyers.”

BROUGHT TO YOU BY

Columbus is a great city for musicians. Whether you’re in the indie, rock, or hip hop scene, there are other musicians and music industry people willing to help you out. Columbus also takes a great sense of pride in its “local gems.” People love to see musicians who are doing well in their hometown and are willing to support them in many ways.

There are so many organizations that have taken this to heart and are helping bands get great opportunities. CD102.5, WCBE 90.5, PromoWest Productions and the Columbus Music Commission have helped Cousin Simple get airtime, shows and support. When it comes to music cities, Columbus may not be the first place that comes to mind, but there are so many bands and musicians doing exciting things it’s making the future bright for them and the Columbus music scene.

But Cousin Simple recognizes that none of this would be possible without the support of their family, friends and FANS that come to each and every show. They are humbled and motivated by their audiences who energize them to make every performance an experience their fans won’t forget. 

Cousin Simple will perform on the Big Local Music Stage on Rich Street on Friday night, June 7 at 7:45 p.m.

Continue Reading
X