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mr.soul

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.

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Lynnea Holland-Weiss

Type of Work: Mixed Media

Lynnea Holland-Weiss (b. 1990) is a painter focused on the human subject and navigating a vibrantly poignant color palette. Coming from a background in dance, her interest in body language and charting people’s movement through space and time is deeply rooted within her. She is interested in what we are both overtly and subtly communicating with our bodies and what muscle memory says about the human experience as a whole. While primarily being a painter, occasionally her practice also takes the form of printmaking, animation, video, murals and other public projects. All of her work remains open for interpretation and relies on the viewers to bring their own history into the pieces to relate and/or create narratives. Her work has been recognized through sources such as New American Paintings, Juxtapoz, Art Maze, Create, The Art Blog and others. She has done public mural projects and residencies nationally and internationally. Exhibitions of her work have been on view in cities throughout the US, such as San Francisco, New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Cleveland and others. She received her BFA from California College of the Arts in 2013. She is originally from Berkeley/Oakland, California and currently lives and works in Cleveland, Ohio.

In general, my work is all about identity and inclusion. I was drawn to Andrew Solomon’s book, Far from the Tree, for his understanding that identity is fluid and the array of influences, in which he identifies as “horizontal identities,” are immensely complex and layered, making it so not a single person would be able to fit into a box. This is what I find endlessly interesting in exploring within my figurative paintings. Color plays an incredibly important role in my work and relates to these ideas. I’m interested in making the inner soul of a person shine through and their internal psychological experience made visible through the use of color. While the gesture and the expression on someone face is incredibly telling, I use color and texture in unexpected ways to further evoke one's senses. I also am interested in exploring ambiguity, androgyny and dissolving our ability to identify and therefore perhaps disassociate ourselves from one another. I feel unusual color combinations within the human form help to express the complexity that makes up every person’s identity. The quote about how creating these distinctions, “expands the concept of diversity to include a tapestry of human differences” sparked the initial idea for my image. The piece will be a tapestry like image of a crowd of people woven together, while each figure will be filled with different textures and unexpected color combinations. This organic grid of faces also references the way Solomon breaks down identity into two axes, vertical and horizontal.
This exhibit is part of a temporary on-board installation.

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Molly Zakrajsek

Type of Work: Mixed Media

Captivated by Paths and Portals, I pursue vibrant color schemes full of contrast, energy and intensity to awaken one’s senses to a world within and beyond. My art agglomerations represent the complexity and optimism at play within the imagination, eliciting an enchanted emotional response and heightened sense of delight. I am inspired by the art of indigenous cultures around the globe and the universal imagery that connects us to people and places of the past and present. I often use biomorphic forms, naturally occurring patterns and shapes reminiscent of nature and living organisms. These abstracted forms speak of growth, transformation and vitality in life. The finished compositions combine creation symbology with fluid, undulating line work, textured layers, intricate patterns and singing colors.

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My art speaks to the perseverance of the human spirit under great pressure and tragic loss. I am interested in capturing the movement and flow of lives crossing great distances (metaphor for journey) and leaving complex circumstances in hopes of promising future. I am also using the Chinese characters for Gold, Pearl, Jade and Silver as pattern details (to symbolize Chinese heritage) These are also the main titles for the four stories in the book. My color palette also references these titles. Immigrant stories are full of hardship and tenacity. I want my work to reflect the energy and complexity of intersecting worlds.
This exhibit is part of a temporary on-board installation.

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Lori Kella

Type of Work: Mixed Media

Bio: Lori Kella

Lori Kella was born in St. Joseph, Michigan, in 1974.  She received a BFA from the Cleveland Institute of Art, and her MFA from Cornell University in 2001.  Since then her photographic work has advanced to foster dialogue on topics such as climate change, hydraulic fracturing, and the health of the Great Lakes, as well as tackle subjects from news headlines such as global migration, and the effects of the Tohoku Tsunami. Over the past decade, Lori Kella has established a comprehensive exhibition record as well as received international recognition for her artistic endeavors. She has exhibited artwork at venues such as Galerie Drei and the Rathuas Galerie in Dresden, Germany, The Print Center in Philadelphia, MOCA Cleveland, The Cleveland Museum of Art, Artspace in Raleigh, NC, William Busta Gallery, and Target Gallery in Alexandria, VA. Recently, her artwork was featured in Scale3 at The Cleveland Print Room. This exhibition showcased 14 large-scale photographs depicting the Seven Summits as a metaphor for artistic triumph and failure.  A selection of this work was also included in the exhibition Serial Intent at the Akron Art Museum in June 2017.  Currently, Kella is developing a collaborative installation centered on species replacement in the Great Lakes, which will be featured in the CAN Triennial, concurrent with Cleveland, Ohio’s Front Triennial in July 2018. Lori Kella has received four OAC Individual Fellowships Awards, a full fellowship to attend Vermont Studio Center, and a Creative Workforce Fellowship from the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture & Cuyahoga Arts and Culture, as well as a Ballot Box Project award sponsored by ArtPlace America.  Lori Kella lives in Cleveland, OH, and she is currently a part-time Assistant Professor at Kent State University’s School of Art.

Isabel Wilkerson’s novel, The Warmth of Other Suns, is a comprehensive look at the Great Migration, its complexities and its place in American history. This epic journey of African Americans’ exodus from the south has shaped our country and influenced our cultural landscape in ways that still reverberate. Wilkerson’s novel speaks of the many struggles and adversities blacks faced in the Jim Crow south, but also of their incredible will, their desire for opportunity and equity, and despite incredible roadblocks, their numerous accomplishments. She speaks of the act of leaving as the first act of free will that would shape the future. In my artwork I wanted to pay homage to these trials, tribulations, and motivations that parallel the struggles of today’s migrants.
As an artist, I found it difficult to encompass all aspects of these migrations, and to justly portray the plight of so many families and individuals in a single image, therefore I chose to focus on the broader concepts of overcoming adversity and the pursuit of greater opportunities. My piece uses the storm swept landscape as a metaphor for the struggles most migrants face and the rays of light that punctuate the journey and lives of the generations that follow. The picturesque landscape references the vast territory that was covered in search of a better life, and the terrain moves from storm covered farmland toward green grasses and a distant city as a symbol of progress. Of course I do not want to naively imply that the Great Migration, or the struggles of those seeking opportunity in the US, is always a direct line to upward mobility, but to present it as hopeful progression. The image aims to portray hope for an America that is equal for all. For this reason, I also scattered books in the foreground of the path, as these represent the desire for knowledge and an education, which was often denied. Books and the search for knowledge and the truth are at the beginning of the path as they represent a way forward both for the migrants and for those in society that strive to build trust, acceptance, and a way forward for all.
This exhibit is part of a temporary on-board installation.

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Leandro

Type of Work: Mixed Media

Bio: Leandro

Leandro Castelao is an Argentinean Designer and Illustrator based in Cleveland, OH.

He graduated from the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, and later taught Typography Design and Illustration at his alma mater for 10 years.

Searching for synthetic shapes to illustrate complex concepts, Leandro found his point of view – a way of communicating through images. His style varies between the real and the imaginary. Simple lines and geometric forms coexist within a rhythmical graphic context.

Since 2008, his work has expanded into magazines, books, newspapers, industrial products, textiles, and other media for a recognized international variety of clients, such as The New York Times, The Guardian, The New Yorker, United Nations, Apple and Nike, amongst others.

Besides working as an illustrator, Leandro enjoys giving workshops and lectures in various cities including The Hague, Sao Paulo, Bombay, New Delhi, Durban, New York and Madrid.

He was awarded the Communication Arts Award of Excellence in Illustration, and was nominated for the Latin Grammy’s Award 15th Edition.

Portrait in transition by Leandro Castelao.
I wanted to create a portrait in constant motion where its multiple elements can move and morph, transforming and changing the image. Identity is an in-progress construction built by multiple factors. I envision a face made out of different elements as metaphor of the array of factors described by the author that impact on how an identity is created.
Wolf Salomon’s theory of identity talks about vertical and horizontal identities and l wanted to reflect that idea through the direction of the elements within the composition. The image has a set of multi directional shapes and colors moving in vertical and horizontal directions. These shapes and colors are the vehicle to show how inherited attributes coexist with the ones acquired from the subculture outside the family.
I personally think this introduction made by Wolf about the importance of inherited features passed through DNA as well as cultural norms and the acquired foreign traits absorbed from our surroundings is a very powerful introduction. I wanted to reflect that concept in my piece. So, there are a few elements that are easy to understand and probably more predictable. These are the attributes of the vertical identities. The eyes in the portrait, for example, are a very basic iconic representation of an eye. We’re used to it and we easily understand it. On the other hand there are lots of basic colorful geometric shapes. Those are more unexpected and they help me talk about the horizontal identities, the foreign subculture outside the family.
Uniqueness is the result of an intense mix of vertical and horizontal identities.
This exhibit is part of a temporary on-board installation.