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Junctionview Studios off to a Good Spark!

 Belinda Heiman
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Columbus local artists stopped in Junctionview Studios for a chance to hang a piece of their art in the Spark! Art Show last Saturday. The first art show of 2009 was a hit! Mainly every hallway of the 20,000 square foot warehouse was covered in art by 6pm when the public came to view it. The price of the art was reasonable- ranging between 50 dollars and 400 dollars. However, some artists had alternative payment options such as 4 bourbon bottles or a paid utility bill of their choice.

Ben Slobodien, was amongst the artists present at the show. He found out about Spark! the night before on Columbus Underground and “after a night of bad dreams about not finding good wall space at the show,” he was there and hanging his art. He had a collection of his new paintings for the show, which he wanted to give an Edward Hopper meets Yellow Submarine type feel to. His work is influenced by something Jackson Pollack once said which is “I am nature.” Slobodien paints about what speaks to him and then leaves the paintings up to interpretation of whatever the audience feels. “I want it to come naturally and reflect whatever life experience they have back at them in a very natural organic way,” said Slobodien.

Slobodien has been doing art since he was born, but has not gotten a chance to sell at a gallery yet. Spark! was a perfect chance for Slobodien to get himself exposed in the art world. “It is hard to gain exposure from the third floor of your apartment,” Slobodien joked.

Spark! Art Show is a free community event where artists can come and hang their work to be viewed by the public. It was created by Laura Alexander, a local Columbus artist.

Alexander came to Junctionview Studios around 2 years ago to etch glass and cut paper. Junctionview has been around since the 80’s and was once a performing arts studio. It is now occupied by numerous artists who use its rooms as their personal studios.

In November 2007 after about a year of being in the studios, Alexander hosted the first arts show at Junctionview. Every year, the turnout grew bigger. “We do a lot of community events to help raise the Columbus Art Scene,” said Alexander.

The artists at the shows are responsible for their own work and the small amount of money it takes to sponsor the events carries over from other event such as Agora, an art party thrown by Couchfire Collective.

Couchfire Collective is a group of ten artists including Alexander who share studio space at Junctionview and come together to raise the profile of the Columbus art community.

Although Couchfire Collective is a business, the artists do not make any money from it. Nonetheless, the artists prefer a business over a nonprofit, so they can be completely in charge of it themselves. “As our mission statement changes, we can decide what we want to do ourselves,” said Alexander.

Devon Palmer, a talented wood carver at Junctionview, likes these types of events because “there is more focus on the artists rather than the gallery and it is a way to interface directly with the artists.” “It is a crucible for the art community which has been repressed for so many years with the bad economy.” “If we can get enough people here, we all benefit from it,” said Palmer.

Art studios like Junctionview have become a growing trend across the nation and continue to help build art communities everywhere.

by Belinda Heiman

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