Bio: Darius Steward
Darius Steward is a visual artist, and educator currently living in Cleveland, Ohio. He graduated from the University of Delaware, obtaining a Master of Fine Art degree in May 2010. His undergraduate work was completed at the Cleveland Institute of Art where he had a concentration in Drawing and Painting. Since graduating from the University of Delaware, Darius has shown paintings at the William Busta Gallery, Zygote Press, FORUM Artspace, Kent State, Cleveland Clinic and has also had an article written up about his achievements in the Call & Post. In addition to that, Darius also has a collection of his work at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, the Cleveland Clinic, The Presidents Council, The University of Delaware, and has recently became a recipient of the 2016 Creative Workforce Fellowship. Currently, Darius teaches at Saint Ignatius High School.
Inspiration: “The Rain” by John Edgar Wideman
I was quickly intrigued in how Wideman described aspects within the scene. He talks about how the banana was the only thing in color and how the gray landscape is even grayer due to the rain; this set up a clear mood that I wanted to utilize in my mural. Yellow, therefore, is the main color within my piece.
I also related to how he is questioning every aspect of the scene. The idea of going on and on, never really arriving to a concrete answer really allows me to get to the key issues. The motion of the swing in the mural illustrates this concept well. I want the audience to feel the mood that Wideman describes.
The image I proposed is a painting of a boy on a swing wearing a bright yellow vest. Everything else in the image is desaturated. He also has two other translucent images of him that overlap his frame, illustrating the movement of the swing.
Bio: Brendan Monroe
Brendan Monroe currently lives and works in Oakland, California with his wife Evah and their cat, Jalapeno. He occasionally takes on illustration commissions, but most of the time, Monroe paints and sculpts for exhibitions. His motto is that it’s imperative to constantly challenge oneself with new ideas and new mediums. Usually, his interpretations of the world are mostly rooted in science, then executed through painting and sculpting, but he also dabbles in other forms of art as well.
Inspiration: “The Boat” by Nam Le
In ‘The Boat’, a dangerous sea voyage takes place. In my piece, the rough sea is translated and turned upside down, paralleling the life of the main characters. The protagonists’ journey is extremely unpredictable and harrowing. They are at the mercy of the sea, but ultimately seem to come under a magical bout of luck. In the mural, the earth as far as one can see is turned on its head. My hope is that the mural also calls to mind an impending storm, which also relates to the overall plot of the story.
Bio: Amber Esner
Amber Esner is a Cleveland-raised artist with a background in illustration & design. Her works are usually based around things that people say, experiences that make her heart melt, & interactions that make her stomach ache. She really likes screen printing too.
Inspiration: “American Sublime” by Elizabeth Alexander
My concept is based around the process of how people deal with loss by letting go of -- or holding onto -- specific objects. Those objects illustrate a visual representation of that relationship, holding emotional significance even after the relationship has ended. The diverse amount of objects give an understanding that each individual has a different experience with the subject. It helps us recognize our individual differences and the way we deal and grow from loss.
Bio: Alan Giberson
Alan Giberson has been painting signs for the past two years. He originally began his trade when painting name plaques for Christmas presents, where he discovered the niche of “sign painting.” Since then, he has been hooked, painting signage for local Cleveland businesses. He feels that while technology can pump out things fast and cheap, hand-painting his work really illustrates his passion for his work. Giberson believes that this can be a lifelong career for him, and can picture himself “slanging a brush around when I’m 70 years old.”
In the book, M.S. Handler, a New York Times reporter, uses the term “noblesse oblige” to describe Malcolm X. Derived from French, the term means “nobility obliges”: that is, the concept of nobility extends beyond mere entitlements, and requires the person who holds such status to fulfill social responsibilities, particularly in leadership roles.
I chose this term based on both design tactics and its distinctive structure. It is easily readable from the trains, and the French derivatives make it an interesting piece to look at. It is my hope that commuters who see the mural look up the term, and educate themselves on both the literal and figurative translation of the phrase.
I truly believe in what the phrase represents. In today’s society, we see some living by this phrase, and some not. It is a good reminder for those who lead to lead with dignity, and for those who look to those leaders, it is a reminder of the expectations they should have of their peers.
Bio: Aaron De La Cruz
Aaron De La Cruz’s work, though minimal and direct at first, tends to overcome barriers of separation and freely steps in and out of the realms of design, graffiti, and illustration. The parameters he has chosen to work within actually allow him to free himself and react to the very limitations he has created. This overriding structure and the lack of deliberation while moving within creates a tension when encountering his work due to the almost computer-generated grid-like systems he creates by unplanned mark making. The act and the marks themselves are very primal in nature, but tend to take on distinct and sometimes high meanings in the broad range of mediums and contexts they appear in and on. His work finds strengths in the reduction of his interests in life to minimal information. De La Cruz gains from the idea of exclusion; just because you don’t literally see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there.
Inspiration: “Sophie Climbing the Stairs” by Dolores Kendrick
I decided to use this story as my source of inspiration for a few reasons. Growing up, I battled with learning how to read, so this story reminded me of my hardships during that time in my life. I also reflected on when my parents would speak Spanish around my brother and I, so we wouldn’t know what they were saying, but we eventually caught on. In my design, you can see 12 large black designs. These illustrations are deconstructed letters and represent the black ink of a book, as well as the 12 stairs Sophie talks about in her story. There are also a few commas and periods, as I felt these were strong metaphors on her outlook on life and the advice she was given.