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Uncovering Columbus: @columbusvisuals

While Instagram is filled with talented photo-graphers trying to use that powerful little square to get their work out there, a select few are also using it as their curatorial canvass. We decided to talk to Columbus Visuals’ founders for this month’s Uncovering Columbus feature—in the only way that made sense: from our photographer and [...]
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While Instagram is filled with talented photo-graphers trying to use that powerful little square to get their work out there, a select few are also using it as their curatorial canvass. We decided to talk to Columbus Visuals’ founders for this month’s Uncovering Columbus feature—in the only way that made sense: from our photographer and editor, all in the DMs.

@briankaiser: So, tell us a bit about @columbusvisuals. How long have you been around and why did you start it?

@mitchgeiser: Zack (@inthemidwest) and I started the page just over a year ago. When we looked at Columbus feature pages we felt like they fell in two categories. Half were highly followed pages that tend to feature businesses/tourism and [the] occasional skyline shot. While the other half were under-followed, yet featured a lot of amazing art/artists. We really wanted to bring these two worlds together. We are shooting for a page that artists follow and look to be featured on but also your every day user would be interested in as well. We want a page where not only photographers are inspired but so is the user who just wants to follow a Columbus page to see somewhere new to visit in their city.

@briankaiser: With over 3,500 followers and more than 18,000 uses of the#ColumbusVisuals hashtag, you guys have clearly found an audience. I think a big part of that has been the distinct images you find and feature. What goes into that process of selecting images to feature? Is there anything in particular you are looking for?

@inthemidwest: When Mitch and I talked about creating a page, it was because we wanted it to be something different. We wanted to share unique styles and perspectives to inspire our community to get out and explore Columbus. We wanted to share more than the same 10 photographers, and we actually wanted to find photographers who have never been featured on any page, but deserved it. The process is a lot of work. Enough so that we brought on three others to help run the page. A lot of time is spent digging through random hashtags and locations. We try to make sure we keep a diverse feed in both style  and content by constantly featuring new artists daily. Another way we have been able to discover new artists is by asking our Takeover Tuesday hosts to share what inspires them. Some of my favorite photographers have been found through others sharing their work during their takeover.

@briankaiser: Who have you guys found via the hashtag or a takeover recommendation whose work has really blown you away? Someone you weren’t already following?

@mitchgeiser: @xmarterz was a guy we found through this page. It was pretty exciting finding him because his style was unlike anything I’ve seen in Columbus. He isn’t from Columbus so our community was the first he got involved in. If I remember correctly our first meet up was also the first he had ever been to. He was also one of the first to host a takeover on our page.

@thelastwhitesquirrel: @house_of_revelry she’s rad. We’ve featured her a ton and others who have taken our page over have featured her as well. She shoots analog and digital. I love her work; she’s really good at making the ordinary things I’ve seen my whole life look extraordinary. I value that a lot in photography. She’s also super supportive to the community. She’s always commenting and liking photos we share.

@travis614: Are there certain tropes you see pop up that you try to avoid, or catch yourself trying to limit in your feed in such an imitative medium?

@widfarend: I think our focus is more on trying to feature a variety of photographers around Columbus, so if there was anything we try to avoid, it would be sharing the same photographers over and over.

@inthemidwest: I completely agree with Stephanie. I am completely amateur. I was into photography in college and stopped when life got busy. Mitch helped reignite that passion again by talking about photography while I got haircuts. He explained so much, took the time to give me advice, etc.

@travis614: Why do you think professional photographers have embraced Instagram, beyond just that it’s exposure? In my years in the biz, there was always such a huge divide and frankly, a bit of a snootiness about pro/am. Why has that changed and if you agree, how have you seen Instagram evolve that?

@widfarend: I really think that the communities nowadays want to collaborate and create with each other, especially the community we are seeing grow at Columbus Visuals. Instagram has simply provided the platform to do so. People want to connect, learn from, and explore with each other. And frankly that gets us so excited. The CV team is a great testament to that because each one of us brings something entirely different to the table.

@inthemidwest: Since starting CV we have had a wide range of professionals and amateurs and I have not seen a divide at all. People seem more about building a community and wanting to help one another, rather than being competitive.

@thelastwhitesquirrel: I totally agree with both of you.I’ve wanted to quit so many times, but the community has always encouraged me to keep going, pros and amateurs alike. I can’t speak for the rest of Instagram, but for the team here in Columbus, I see no divide between the pros and the amateurs.

@travis614: Finally: is there always the thought that there is still some secret spot out there that no one’s blown up? Or is it all about trying to find a fresh angle or lens to put on a familiar backdrop?

@inthemidwest: I still believe in the hidden spots. Exploring is one of my favorite things. I love looking for new locations, buildings, and views. The rush I get when I feel like I’ve been somewhere and captured something new no one else has, is a feeling like no other. Photography has just enhanced my passion to explore because I can share those places with others. I think if you look hard enough you can find little gems that haven’t been captured yet.

@thelastwhitesquirrel: As for tropes, the deer at the mile has been shot a ton and the skyline, but even so I still see new takes on those two things that make me say “wow.” I’m always impressed by people’s creativity and ability to capture things
I pass by every day and make them beautiful.

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Arts & Culture

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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Arts & Culture

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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Arts & Culture

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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