I first encountered the artistic work of today's recipient of the CB Proper Noun treatment when we both had photos in Low Life Gallery's This Is Cleveland photo exhibit in June. Unlike my contributions, which were largely out-of-focus and feebly framed odd shots, Mallorie Freeman's snapshots had these wonderful colors jumping out of them. Best of all, there was this obscure, stylized mannequin head placed just so in each of the pics, like a little icon or logo that brought every shot to a strange type of life that was as perfect as it was head-scratching. (Note: You can see some semi-washed out reproductions of several of these photos here.)
It wasn't until several weeks later that I was able to put a face to a name, meeting Mallorie at one of Bill Rupnik's always awesome gallery openings. I'm sure I made a fool of myself, stumbling over how much I liked the dime-novel noir of her painting and the effect of the photo work described above. Fortunately for me, she seems to be as tolerant of stutter-mumbly fanboys as she is a talented artist. And fortunately for you, she agreed to take part in this series of interviews I've enjoyed so much these last few months.
1) How long have you been in Cleveland? And if you didn't grow up in Cleveland, where'd you relocate here from?
I grew up in Cleveland, moved away for about 10 years to Chicago, IL, Kansas City, MO, Portland, OR, and returned to Cleveland in 2002.
2) What is your favorite Cleveland memory?
Some of my favorite memories are from childhood of being out on a boat with my family in Lake Erie. I love looking back at the city from the water, cruising around the Cuyahoga River through the flats and going underneath all the bridges at sunset.
3) How does (if at all) Cleveland influence your work and/or art?
It doesn’t directly influence my art but I find Cleveland’s industrial decay to be quite beautiful and inspiring. I am going to be moving my studio downtown in October and am looking forward to creating in the city in a large space instead of my postage stamp sized apartment.
4) What would be your ideal Cleveland day? Or, to put it another way, if it was your birthday and your nearest and dearest were all willing to do what you wanted, what would your day be like?
I would go on a boat ride, a walk in the Metroparks, Pier W for eats and drinks, and since it’s my birthday, it would be requested that all my nearest and dearest make me a piece of art.
5) Say you had a friend coming in for 24 hours and had never been to Cleveland before. What would you make sure they saw and did?
For eating, drinking and hanging out- Tremont, E 4th Street, Little Italy, Coventry, Chagrin Falls
For museums- Cleveland Museum of Art, MOCA, The Western Reserve Historical Society/ Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum
For outdoor beauty and foliage- The Metroparks, The Holden Arboretum, Cleveland Botanical Gardens
For fresh food and unidentifiable edibles- The West Side Market and Man Kam Plaza
For a drive down a winding road- Chagrin River Road, Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
For a drive-by shooting- Hough
6) What is something from another city you wish you could import to Cleveland?
The Japanese Garden from Portland, OR - since I’ve never been to Japan.
7) If you had the undivided attention of the mayor, city council, and county commissioners, what would be the one thing you'd ask for or tell them?
Save the Cleveland Trust Building.
To meet Mallorie and check out her work yourself, stop by the William Rupnik Gallery this Friday for the opening of her solo show, "Spicy Dames and Tales of Mystery." The gallery is located at 1667 E 40th Street in Cleveland. Check out the gallery's website here. If you can't make the opening, check out some of her other work for sale on her etsy page, cleverly named The Mallorie Gallery, here.
And if you found this post interesting, check out previous Proper Noun of the Week conversations about Cleveland and culture with the following interesting folks: Frank Revy, Bill Rupnik, Mina Hoyle, Brendan Walton, Leia Alligator, Arabella Proffer, Becca Riker, and Greg Ruffing.
4 years ago