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Archan Nair

Type of Work: Mixed Media

Archan Nair is a self-taught visual artist, illustrator and digital artist, specializing in mixed media, illustration, and digital art based out of Berlin, Germany. His visual expressions are part of a journey which is really influenced by the mysteries of our existence and how every action, emotion, and our interconnectedness in a universal scale sets off a chain of reactions, which we experience from the micro to the macro scale. Formerly a fashion major and entrepreneur, Archan started painting in 2006 at the age of 24 and made the shift as an independent artist in 2007 with his cultural roots from India. Since then, he has embarked on an exhilarating and inspirational journey, collaborating with various companies and individuals such as: Nike, RedBull, Canon, Infiniti, Sony Netflix, Samsung, Electric Forest, and GQ, among many others. Archan has been featured in various publications and has achieved recognition from music artists like Kanye West along with collaborations with Chris Brown and Lindsay Lohan. Archan’s passion and love for the creative process and expressing himself has opened a whole new journey, where he is exploring the beautiful essence of life.

I have been pretty fascinated by migration and why and how people move due to their own will, circumstances or privilege. Inspired by this story, I would like to give it a more surreal feel.
I would like to create a surreal landscape with fascinating colors, and a human sculpture with multiple hands and legs in the center; a huge sculpture showcases power, awe, and immensity. The sculpture is huge with a few beings looking really small at a distance. The sculpture is surrounded by beautiful flowers and nature within a ring, while the small humanoids/humans are outside this area which is dry and rocky. The sculptures have beautiful strings attached which seems to be like poetry or music being played with birds flying. It looks like utopia to the beings, but they don't know if it’s a controlled setup to either lure them into this new region, or maybe it is utopia and they are fascinated to explore.
This exhibit is part of a temporary on-board installation.

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April Bleakney

Type of Work: Mixed Media

April graduated from Kent State University in 2008 with a BFA in Fine Arts, Printmaking and a BA in History. After working in youth development in the nonprofit world after college, she officially launched her creative business, APE MADE, in 2011. She has worked as a self-employed artist since then, primarily as a screen printer but is versed in a variety of other media. She also loves photography and creating mixed media pieces. April believes in purpose-driven printmaking, and strives to engage the community through the arts. She has completed two international residencies this year, in both Chile and Scotland.

My piece was inspired directly by the rich descriptions of landscape and experience given in the first portion of Peter Ho Davies, The Fortunes (Gold). I found the recurrent theme of ‘seeing the elephant’ striking and have used an elephant as the central focus in my piece, comprising almost the whole of the window frame. To ‘see the elephant’ is the complicated realization that gaining something desired (to have ‘seen it all’, ’the mother lode') may come at a significant cost, to both personal identity and to the larger culture. This much anticipated and sought after ‘elephant’ may not glitter as gold in reality, often leaving the viewer disappointed or disenchanted. This is an overarching theme for the protagonist, Ah Ling, as he adjusts to life in America.
This exhibit is part of a temporary on-board installation.
The elephant in my piece is visually ‘built’ so to speak with Davies’ imagery, much from the descriptions of the Chinese immigrants, himself and those who were building the railroads. I hope the piece honors the author’s story while also connecting to some of our current issues surrounding immigration in America. With recent raids on immigrant workers, detention camps, and talk of tent cities for housing the children of immigrants, the parallels I see between then and now are many.
Within the elephant and its surroundings is a plethora of imagery, all drawn from Davies’ writing. I’ve included visuals from the time: upper class American (flocked wallpaper, chandeliers, pocket watches), Chinese identities (queue, incense, kite patterns, wallpaper patterns), and working class Chinese-American experience (tent cities, rock walls, trains, men in hanging baskets, overcrowding). With these inclusions juxtaposed together, I hope to speak to the contradictory nature of America (’the elephant’ for many) - at once both that bigger than life myth which glitters, racing forward and at the same time, something much more complicated, difficult, and harsh. These contrasting layers built up will give texture and an interweaving nature to the piece - combining pattern, color, and a variety of mark making techniques.
This exhibit is part of a temporary on-board installation.

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Rebecca Groynom

Type of Work: photography

Rebecca Groynom, writer and photographer, produces digital and film photography. She uses photography to document her world, creating images of fleeting moments. Whether a stranger’s glance or a serene moment in an urban or natural setting, she brings to the forefront the images that capture her attention. Groynom’s writing has been published in scientific journals and Northeast arts and culture outlets. She travels throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia documenting the people and places that shape her experiences. Her work has been showcased in solo gallery exhibitions in Cleveland, in addition to juried competitions throughout the US, including Manhattan, Los Angeles, and Portland.

Chapter 26: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Serve
Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT), passed February 28, 1994, and became official US Military Policy intended to prohibit discrimination of LGBT service members. The result was quite different. DADT instituted a requirement that people of homosexual orientation, no matter how decorated, still commit to keeping their lives a secret. The military still considered outed service members unfit to serve, a conflict to military culture, and unable to perform their duties alongside their heterosexual counterparts. Before Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, service members did not have any true options to fight institutional discrimination surrounding sexual orientation.
My piece features a veteran who served during the Korean War between 1976 and 1979. As a gay service member prior to DADT, he recalls: It really wasn’t don’t ask, don’t tell back then. It was they will ask and you will lie.
This exhibit is part of a temporary on-board installation.

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Naijal Hawkins

Type of Work: Mixed Media

I am a true fan of art. I love being an artist and the unlimited platform it presents. Colors, styles, concepts, being able to have an outlet, a freedom of expression, is a great and wonderful feeling. Art is life and life is art. I am a graduate Cleveland School of the Arts class of ‘97. I have been a Scholastics Art Award winner several times. I have various talents in art, including painting, drawing, mural painting, screen printing, stained glass, concept development, tattooing, body art and some graphic design skills using computer generated platforms. I have experience with using different materials and supplies including acrylic paint, charcoal, graphite, water color, technical pens and aerosol spray paint. I have worked on a variety of mediums from papers canvases brick walls and skin. I have an adaptive insight to create beautiful works of art. I perform well with others when collaborating on projects. I have also worked with children and teenagers in youth empowerment programs as a mentor and some tutoring.

Today, I am a professional tattooist for 10 years and a business owner for 5 years.

My concept art is based on Langston Hughes’ The Negro Speaks of Rivers. In my art, I wanted to show some ancestral images of Egyptian Pharaoh and pyramids representing the ancient world. The Nile and Euphrates River are also shown. Some highlights of the Emancipation Proclamation with President Lincoln and the Vicksburg Bridge representing the Mississippi River are depicted in the piece. In the background, a bright sunset in background represents the golden sunset over its muddy bosom. The hands in the water represents the soul growing deep like plants in the water. I wanted the chains breaking to show the quest for freedom. The young man sits on the edge of the riverbank looking over the water for a deep sense of understanding.
This exhibit is part of a temporary on-board installation.

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Type of Work: Mixed Media

Bio: mr.soul

Kevin “mr.soul” Harp is a visual artist and mentor who has been a member of the artistic world since a very young age. Growing up in Cleveland’s Lee and Harvard community, he learned to not let anything turn him away from his purpose. After moving to Atlanta in the fall of 1996, he has made a name for himself as one of the most sought after graphic artists around. He still adheres to what his childhood taught him, that the only people stopping anyone from achieving anything they want are themselves. Now as an experienced businessman, his life speaks to perseverance, faith in oneself, and proves that the gifts you’re born with never leave you. In his case, his gifts are expanding and changing the art and graphic design world one project at a time.

As a young man, mr.soul was exposed to the familiar influences that have claimed the lives and freedoms of many urban youth. The lure of fast money gained through drug distribution, theft and other criminal activity were the obstacles, but not the intended path for him. He became affiliated and a member of Cleveland’s most elite graffiti crew, D.E.F. (Doin’ Everything Funky), which later evolved into C.S.T. (Cleveland Scribe Tribe) and was headed by the city’s proclaimed “king” Sano.

While in Atlanta as a founding member of the art collective “City Of Ink” along with Miya Bailey, Tuki Carter and several other multi-disciplinary artists, mr.soul helped to build a foundation for underserved creatives in the city. Over the past 11 years through an effective grassroots movement, community and customer support, City Of Ink has become the model and central platform for people to engage in the experience and business of art.

Today mr.soul is back in Cleveland after losing his father in October of 2016. With a strong desire to build off of the successful model that was his experience in Atlanta with City Of Ink, mr.soul has been attracting like minds who also have the same passion and drive to ensure that there’s a more diverse, unified art scene in Cleveland. mr.soul’s story is a testament to the power of a vision and putting in hard work to bring it to life. He has followed the journey mapped out for him, while adding his own style and design along the way.

My concept builds mostly off of the Richard Wright quote, although not solely. The male subject is representative of Richard Wright, although I’m considering scaling the art down enough to add a woman as well. I have color coded the parts as my method of braking down the concept.
GREEN: Crows & Scroll
The crows are the reference to Jim Crow, the laws and the conditions that played an integral part in forcing Black people out of the South. The scroll in the beak of the crow in the foreground will have excerpts from actual Jim Crow laws.
WHITE: The Years
The actual years that I list here will be subject to further research to support the concept. But in general, they represent years during The Great Migration and Jim Crow.
RED: Books
The books are a tie-in to the Richard Wright quote in regards to how he heavily relied on them as a desperate means of escape from the environment that failed to support or nourish him.
Even further, the books play on a variety of conversation in regards to knowledge and wisdom, how they were intentionally kept away from Black people and how proper information becomes the freedom of people in general.
YELLOW: Arrows
These stylistic arrows are elements I incorporate in my pieces to represent progress, forward motion and direction. In regards to the concept, Black people in the South sought direction to a potentially better life in the North. All the arrows point to the left and in opposition to the non-progressive Jim Crow dominated South. The arrow coming from the eye with “Equality” represents a tunnel vision towards progress.
BLACK: People
The people will represent the families and individuals who left the South for the North with hopes for better jobs, equality and living conditions.
This exhibit is part of a temporary on-board installation.