Short North Gallery Hop

Ben Sostrom artist at Short North Gallery Hop
Ben Sostrom artist at the Short North Gallery Hop

Tell me about your work.

I work primarily in a combination of wood and washy paper, which is made from Japanese paper mulberry fibers. I do a lot of laser cuts. I like laser cut flat packable lighting, furniture, and home goods. I also do a lot of work in steam bent wood staving and layered washy on a more terete organic and bent form. I combine a lot of those together. I recently had my first solo exhibition here where I had a lot of those combination pieces, along with traditional woodworking, CNC milling, all of that tied together with more modern forms as well.

Sidebar: His response sounded like the Charlie Brown teacher (wooomp woommmp wooomp woommmp). I didn’t understand anything he said, but I LOVE his work.

How did you pick your medium?

When I was growing up, my grandfather was a wood worker. I found out later that he considered himself the least talented wood worker in the family. I started wood working with my grandfather growing up. Later, I was an actor and props designer for theater and film for many years. I was moving to a 400 square foot apartment and I wanted a Christmas tree that I could pack away and hide in a little box. I designed a slotted plywood tree that I could pack away. Initially I did the first 10 of them on a 1920s Dremel Scroll Saw. It took about 10 hours per tree of cutting. My arthritis was swelling up my hands like grape fruits. A friend introduced me to the laser cutter. I got hooked.

Beverly Whiteside artist at Short North Gallery Hop
Beverly Whiteside artist at the Short North Gallery Hop

Tell me about your work.

It is mixed media. Acrylic paint on recycled wood.

How did you get started?

I am a self-taught artist.  I worked in Columbus City Schools on an art team. We had music, art, dance, and drama at Fair Avenue Elementary School. We had shows where we painted stages, props, etc. I started falling in love with the vocabulary of art: time, space, energy, form, composition. I was a dance teacher. Dance and art are integrated with those forms. They overlap.

Anything else?

I’m working towards a children’s book. I am really influenced by the 1960s, during the civil rights movement. People of color at that time were strong, and unified. A lot of the patterns and color I use in my work are from that era.

Tracy Greenwalt artist at the Short North Gallery Hop
Tracy Greenwalt artist at the Short North Gallery Hop

Tell me about your work.

I take old photographic portraits and turn them into a story (from my own mind) about the person in the photograph.

How long have you been doing it?

I came from a family of artists. I have been drawing and doing all kinds of stuff since I was young. The portrait stuff probably within the last 10 years.

What advice would you give a young person who wants to do what you do?

Practice. Do art work every day. Enter as many competitions as you can. Keep going. Keep putting your work out there. The art fairs are a good way to start out and get people’s feedback on your artwork.

Anything else?

I received the Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence award for 2019.

Pedal wagon, Short North Gallery Hop
Pedal wagon, Short North Gallery Hop
DJ you gonna play my song?, Short North Gallery Hop
DJ you gonna play my song?, Short North Gallery Hop
Rich Lallach, Short North Gallery Hop
Rich Lallach, Short North Gallery Hop
Michelle Brandt owner of Brandt-Roberts Galleries, and Marla Roddy, Short North Gallery Hop
Michelle Brandt owner of Brandt-Roberts Galleries, and Marla Roddy, Short North Gallery Hop

Why a gallery?

I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t love art. I studied art education, then did gallery work in Charleston, SC. It made sense to combine my entrepreneurial background with art.

Is this like when a person goes gambling that the odds are tipped to the house? You are the house.

It depends on the month.

Do the artists pay both rent? How does it work?

No. If I have good inventory, we have clients that want that inventory. We are here to promote artists, to launch careers, to sustain and launch artists’ careers. We don’t just hang art on the walls. We do professional development with artists. We are writing letter references for artists, and coaching them on how to be a full-time artist.  We call other galleries in another market that might be interested in their work. To survive as an artist often you have more than one gallery supporting you. There is a whole host of things we do with our artists. We have a client list that has been built up for 10 years. It is a very boutique style approach. It is a partnership between me and the artists. I must trust what they are doing and they must trust that I am going to bring clients for them.

If a young person wants to own a gallery what advice would you give them?

Start networking. It is as much about who you know as what you know.

Work by Bernard Pawcheck, Short North Gallery Hop
Work by Bernard Pawcheck, Short North Gallery Hop

Tell me about this picture.

It is alcohol ink on yupo paper. Yupo paper is kind of like a polypropylene sort of like a plastic. You can get the ink in all different pigments like hues. You mix the ink with rubbing alcohol and put it on this paper. You can move it around. It doesn’t absorb into the paper. It stays on the surface, so you can move it with your brush and/or rag. The alcohol evaporates then leaves this beautiful pigment. You can get intense colors. It is experimental.

These are based on the artists’ concern with pollution. You don’t get these types of sunsets unless there is a lot of pollution in the environment. People think the entire series of paintings are gorgeous. It is a way for the artist to process how he feels about the environment and use his voice as an artist to say something. It doesn’t have to be so politically charged in your face, it can still be beautiful.

Art van at Short North Gallery Hop
Art van at Short North Gallery Hop

My take on the Short North Gallery Hop:

Parking is still a hassle in the Short North area. My disclaimer is I went on a rainy Saturday, so the crowds were not there. I still had a blast talking to the artists and performers and most of all admiring the art.