|Lora Innes, pencil drawing in progress, 2017|
These artists exemplify the amazing talent within the significant community of professional illustrators in the Greater Cincinnati area; the work included here ranges stylistically from the technically rendered, to graphic abstraction, to representational figurative art, and genres include children’s books, medical, editorial, advertising, educational, adult narrative, cover art, and personal work.
This exhibition runs from February 9 to March 9, 2018, with a public reception on Final Friday, February 23, from 5–8pm.
About the artists:
—Born in Tokyo, Japan, in 1966, Aiko Ikegami has loved painting and drawing since childhood. She studied under noted Japanese painter Kimie Tanaka, and went on to earn an Associate degree in childhood education from Aoyama Gakuin Women’s Junior College. In 1993, she came to the U.S., where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology at Arizona State University (1997), and a Ph.D. in Pharmacology at the University of Texas at Austin (2003). After working as a biomedical researcher, she decided to pursue her dream of writing and illustrating books; her first children’s book, Friends, was published in 2016 and received a 2017 CCBC Choices Award. Her second book, Seed Man, will be published by Sleeping Bear Press in April 2018. Ikegami aims to create illustrations that provide a sense of comfort, whimsy, and dreamlike surreality. She lives and works in Ohio and is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and the Ohio Art League.
—Comic book creator Lora Innes’s series The Dreamer examines America’s past through its present— quite literally. Since 2007, the webcomic has followed the adventures of a high school drama student named Bea Whaley who is transported back in time to 1776 every night when she falls asleep. Innes examines the Revolutionary War from the individual perspectives of the soldiers she writes about, including Nathan Hale, Dr. Joseph Warren, and Thomas Knowlton. She draws inspiration from primary sources as well as research into other American wars. The Dreamer connected her with the Nathan Hale School House, where she worked on a museum exhibit in the form of six oversized comic pages that brought to life the schoolmaster-turned-soldier’s time in New London. The Dreamer has been collected and published in three graphic novel volumes by IDW Publishing and received five nominations in the industry’s Harvey Awards. Innes also illustrated the Wynonna Earp comic book series that accompanied the release of the Syfy television show of the same name. She works primarily digitally when illustrating comic books, but uses cover art as an opportunity to return to her traditional roots. Innes graduated from the Columbus College of Art & Design in 2002.
—Tara Calahan King is an award-winning illustrator, muralist and designer. She was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio where she received her BFA from the Art Academy of Cincinnati in 1995. Recognized by the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and the School Library Journal, she is noted for her endearing characters and odd perspectives. Her work can be found in children's books, pediatric brochures, greeting cards, magazines, stationary products, libraries, hospitals, and other places and products. From 2012–2014, King was commissioned to design, paint and renovate two Indiana Public Libraries, where she also designed and painted ﬁve large interactive sculptures for children. She is a frequent presenter at schools and libraries, promoting art, literacy, and creativity; for her work in children’s book illustration and her excellence in children’s programming, she was commended a Kentucky Colonel by Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear and State Representative Susan Westrom in 2010. King’s book Enemy Pie, written by Derek Munson, has become a Reading Rainbow feature book and was narrated by the Emmy award-winning actor Ed Harris. Her recent work includes illustrating the Books by the Banks 2017 poster art, creating imagery of Cincinnati landmarks for Poeme stationary company of Cincinnati, and developing and illustrating new children’s book characters.
—Evelyn Pence came to Cincinnati from the Chicago area for an education in business marketing at Xavier University. Shortly after graduating in 1991, Pence saw an article about medical illustration in National Geographic that introduced her to her eventual profession. With the assistance of professors of art and biology at Northern Kentucky University, Xavier University, and University of Cincinnati, she went back to school to put together the prerequisites and portfolio required for acceptance into the University of Michigan, then only one of six accredited medical and biological illustration programs in North America. She started her career in Ann Arbor as an adjunct lecturer in anatomical sketching and by working for researchers on projects ranging from MRI Angiography protocols to presentations for DARPA to books on plastic surgery. Later she moved to Washington DC to work as a medical animator for a newly-formed medical education website. She found her way back to the Cincinnati area in 2000, and took a job at the University of Cincinnati Geology Department as a graphic and web designer. Missing medical illustration, Pence launched her own medical illustration business in 2003. Since then she has specialized in the field of instructive science and health information. With 15 years’ experience in academic publishing, focusing on higher education and professional healthcare education, her work can be found throughout many leading college publications, websites, professional education materials, and scientific, medical and technical journals. Recently published work can be found in Exploring Psychology in Modules (10th edition) by David Myers and Nathan DeWall (McMilllan), cover art for Nature Microbiology April 2016, and Cell Stem Cell. Currently she is very happy to be working locally with Cincinnati branding agencies, law firms and medical device manufacturers.
—Ursula Roma is an artist and illustrator living in Cincinnati, Ohio. She became an illustrator primarily to have a way to communicate her political views and those of her clients, and has spent the last 30 years as a freelance artist, trying to create a style that boldly and broadly communicates for social issues and causes. After earning a BFA in New York, she came to Cincinnati just as the AIDS epidemic was hitting the city and became very involved in helping to raise awareness about the disease and its causes—creating artwork for posters, brochures, and ultimately AIDS quilts dedicated to people that died. Committed to helping with social justice causes and political issues of our day, Roma has produced imagery regarding children’s health issues, prison populations, minority rights and issues of other displaced communities. She has created work for women’s health access groups, battered women’s shelters, Planned Parenthood, LGBT festivals, marches, and other events; her clients have included UC Center for Women’s Studies, Children’s Hospital, YWCA and many local women’s associations. In terms of process, Roma’s early work in clay and stained glass led not only to a desire to bring vibrant, boldly colorful expressions of emotion into her two-dimensional illustrations, but also to venture into three-dimensional and relief illustration. Her work continues to be informed by her experience with a variety of media and modes of working, including woodcut, scratchboard, cut paper, pen and ink, found-object sculpture, and digital processes.
—Carol Tyler is a master cartoonist and a pioneer of the “autobiographical” comics genre. Born in Chicago in 1951, she earned a BFA at Middle Tennessee State University (1978), and an MFA in Painting at Syracuse University (1983). She became interested in underground comics in the early 80s, had her first comic publication in Weirdo in 1987, and went on to become an influential figure in the world of underground comics, eventually publishing her first solo book, The Job Thing, in 1993. Tyler has been the recipient of numerous awards, such as the 2016 Cartoonist Studio Prize from Slate Book Review, and the Master Cartoonist Award from Cartoonist Crossroads Columbus. Her book Soldier’s Heart received eleven Eisner Award nominations in addition to two Harvey and two Ignatz Award nominations, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and won an Ohio Arts Council Excellence Award. Other books include Fab4 Mania, and Late Bloomer. These days, Tyler teaches comics at the University of Cincinnati, and works out of her "Ink Farm” in northern Kentucky, which offers an annual summer camp experience for cartoonists.