We’re proud to partner with the Franklinton Arts District for the return of the Franklinton Friday Summer Series, where our Beer Garden stage is home to live local music on the second Friday of each month through September. These shows are free to the public in conjunction with Franklinton Fridays, and serve as an opportunity to showcase immensely talented local musical and visual artists.
Each month, we also release a limited-edition benefit beer that features the artwork from a local visual artist; a portion of the beer’s proceeds are then donated back to the Franklinton Arts District to support the art and artists in our community. Concurrently, our partners at Side Hustle Syndicate host an exhibit of this feature visual artist at the Side Hustle Gallery inside the Columbus Idea Foundry during Franklinton Friday.
The Dog Days of Summer is the theme of this month’s Franklinton Friday Summer Series, and our Franklinton Friday Benefit Beer is appropriately a Pink Lemonade Tart Ale, featuring the artwork of Jennifer Bachelder Spears. The beer will be released on Friday, July 8.
Meet the July FFSS Feature Artists
What’s your background & how did you get into your art?
JENNIFER: I completed my BFA in graphic design from Marietta College, but I’ve been taking too long on coloring sheets as long as I can remember. More specifically, I started collaging out of trash in 2009. I had just moved to Chicago, secured an unpaid internship, and knew very few people in the very large city. When I got a PO box, I immediately started getting piles and piles of junk mail. I cut up the junk mail, glued it to other junk mail, and mailed it to my friends as postcards. Admittedly, it was weird, but I also thought it was hilarious.
How would you describe your art?
JENNIFER: I create surreal landscapes. Sometimes they feel a bit Salvador Dalí and sometimes a bit Lisa Frank. I’m very focused on color when I work. If I were painting, I could make any element whatever size and color I wanted. Working only in trash, I have to find the pieces I need in the colors I want. This requires a lot of collecting, cutting, organizing, and storing. The majority of my clippings are sorted by color, but some by material (think broken jewelry, leather scraps, etc.). Once I decide on the subject of a composition, I start pulling things that “match,” – color, environment, vibes – slowly eliminating items that don’t work and searching for whatever might be missing.
What do you want audiences to see in your art?
JENNIFER: When I’m considering whether or not a collage is finished, the most important question to me is “does it make sense?” (I’m not suggesting that what I create needs to make sense to everyone. I’m sure it doesn’t.) “Do the parts feel like they belong together? Does the proximity between or density of elements feel natural to this space?” I want audiences to see a cohesive environment. The goal is to make sure the viewer isn’t seeing one item – something that looks like it shouldn’t be there. When they take a closer look and notice that the background is made of an old yoga mat, it should be a pleasant surprise.
Who would you love to collaborate with?
JENNIFER: It would be great to collaborate with a children’s author – to illustrate a story like Eric Carle. It would be a challenge to recreate the same character across multiple spreads, but I’m up for it. It takes a significant amount of time to develop scenes with only found materials, so I would need to work with a very, very patient writer.
Why is making art important to you?
EBRI: Making art is very important to me because it’s a direct stream of consciousness for me. When I’m creating and really in the flow I don’t have to think about it, and I really like that! It’s when I’m most connected to source (self, spirit higher power) – when I’m driving I have to think about it, when I’m speaking I have to think about it, when I’m doing homework I have to think about it…but when I’m creating art, it’s an improv conversation between me and me. There’s no wrong answers, there’s no mess ups – it’s really freeing! I will admit though, this is a learned behavior; I used to be super super tough on myself, but now that I love myself more – I allow myself time and space to just create!
Name three of your artistic influences.
EBRI: Missy Elliott, The Ability To Be Free and Walt Neil (a Columbus native – painter, musician, and educator).
What does it mean to you to participate in the Franklinton Fridays Summer Series?
EBRI: I think it’s super, SUPER cool to be performing in the Franklinton Fridays Summer Series! I’ve seen great performers like Eric Rollin of Mistar Anderson kill it on this stage; it was super inspiring and something I always wanted to do after that. It feels professional! (lol) I’m a headliner now, so I feel like a big deal (JK) – but I’m going to be wearing sunglasses the whole day like a superstar from when I wake up at 7a until I go to bed that night of the show…lol…like, even in the shower.
What do you want audiences to see in your art or hear in your performance?
EBRI: When I step on the stage, I want the audience to see joy & hear love.
Who would you love to collaborate with?Who would you love to collaborate with?
EBRI: I’d love to collaborate with Kayne West – but not for music…on fashion because I feel like his looks (as well as mine) are true to self, and always bizarre. Definitely an acquired taste.
Meet our Emerging Musical Artist: Elijah Sow (SowRandom)
Nineteen year old Bree OTB is a graduate of Franklinton High School who is currently attending Ohio University and studying exercise physiology. You can listen to some of her songs on her Spotify artist channel. She will serve as the opening act for Ebri Yahloe on Franklinton Friday.