Last Friday I briefly had the opportunity to crash the John G party at Front Room Gallery. I'd not been to Front Room before, but had heard cool things through the grapevine about the artists they feature and the bands they book. (While I was there, I saw Dan Friel of Brooklyn's awesome Parts and Labor play a pretty amazing set, but missed out on performances by Clan of the Cave Bear and Vigatron.)
The night before, at a Low Life event, I'd briefly met John and heard from a couple of my friends that they were planning to check the show out. So, I thought, what the fuck. Why not. I don't have anywhere to be on Friday till about 10.
I am happy I did. The buildings on Superior where Front Room gallery is located are a story of themselves, with numerous entities from artists workshops to recording studios to independent businesses making use of the massive spaces that formerly housed the industry that temporarily made Cleveland so wealthy. Back, you know, before anyone reading this was born.
But better yet was seeing John G's work blown up and spread throughout the gallery space. By the end of his recent Flyer Month experiment, I knew the guy had some chops and was happy when I bumped into him the other night, so I could tell him how much I dug what he'd been doing. That month, it seemed like everywhere I went I was seeing his posters, from Melt to a cool Beachland Brunch/Music Saves Kevin's birthday diptych, to tons of show advertisements, including a very cool Neko Case flyer. He has also done a bad ass This Moment In Black History poster with a defiant Obama figure surrounded by a horde of zombies or something like zombies that I'd love to find a full-size print of.
John G is more than a drawer of posters, though - his graphic novel work is pretty tight, too, and can be found in the cool ass Shiner serial. (You can probably pick it up at a bunch of places in town, but I've gotten mine at Music Saves.) The show at Front Room really brought to life the complicated staging of his work, with a huge display of draft pencil sketchings next to a wall of his finished products. I'm not sure how long or how often you'll be able to view the work at Front Room, but even if you don't make it in, keep an eye out for show flyers and posters on the tables and walls of the cool places in town - look for the brightly colored, hyper-detailed ones and you'll most likely be spying a John G. contribution.
(Note: Once again, all photos taken with my shoddy iphone camera. The usual disclaimers and passive-aggressive insults apply.)
Moving to Cleveland a couple years ago for work, I soon learned how rich the cultural community around town was. Whether rock shows or poetry readings, edgy gallery openings or string quartets, Clevo has it all. I do my best to bring you some coverage and advocacy about what I think you should check out, support, and exploit.