Explore the “Portals” of Derek Stewart!

derek shot
The first Fear Hundred at 400 West Rich Street in Franklinton was my first encounter with Derek Stewart.  He was involved in the planning on behalf of Cap City Creatives and I was coordinating a space for another collective.  His love of horror movies led to his being in charge of the movies to be shown during the evening’s festivities.  Being a horror/Halloween and sci-fi buff myself, I always love talking to others with the same propensity.  After that, I heard his name mentioned and ran into him several times  and I decided it was time to get to know this guy better!!
 Come On Out and Fight Like a Man

Come On Out and Fight Like a Man

Born and raised here in Columbus, he attended Ft. Hayes Fine Arts Career Center in high school, and spent a little time at CCAD.  After leaving CCAD, he spent over a decade working various IT jobs but continued to do art on the side. The good thing about these jobs was that it usually wasn’t seen as a problem for him to have a sketchbook at his cubicle and be drawing while working.  After the work environment became too toxic, he decided to take his chances and work full-time as a freelance illustrator and fine artist.  Although it hasn’t been easy and he frequently feels as though he’s in a constant state of ‘so far, so good’, he’s never looked back!

Projects during this period have varied from doing comic book work for NIX comics, storyboards and design for some independent films such as the upcoming zombie/stoner flick ‘Bong of the Living Dead’ and helping develop the “Magic Mirror” portrait installation project with Jenn Deafenbaugh (Magic Mirror http://youtu.be/klR4wWmMR6c ) just to name a few.  All the while, he has been continued to create his own work that he exhibits publicly and makes available as prints via his web stores at Redbubble and Society6.


Mundane Inter-dimentional Parisitism

Mundane Inter-dimentional Parisitism

He categorizes his art as fine art heavily influenced by graphic novels and genre cinema. It might fit in the category of what many call Pop-Surrealism or Lowbrow Art.  His main inspiration is…you guessed it: MOVIES!…particularly horror and
sci-fi…fav  filmmakers: David Cronenberg, David Lynch, Ingmar Bergman, Shinya Tsukamoto and Alejandro Jordorowsky Graphic novels (Black Hole, The Killing Joke, Watchmen and David Boring are among my favorites. I also am a big fan of the work of artists like Brian Bolland, Moebius and Bernie Wrightson. Their use of line and detail had a great effect on me at an early age and greatly influenced my style)  and comic books are also influential in his creations .
The concept of storytelling, particularly via film and comics, influences a lot of what I do. Typically in my personal work I am trying to depict an image that has enough information in it for the the viewer to be able to create their own narrative around it. I’m happiest with my art when is looks like a single frame from some very, very strange and obscure movie. 
A page from 'Aftershocks'. to be featured in The Shadow Collection graphic novel

A page from ‘Aftershocks’. to be featured in The Shadow Collection graphic novel  

I usually work digitally by first starting with a fairly detailed pencil sketch that I’ve created, scanning it, and then digitally finishing the drawing with my Wacom tablet and Manga Studio software, which is designed specifically for comic book artists. Lately I’ve been doing more and more traditional graphite drawings and many of those will be featured  at Rehab Tavern.

field trip to the oracle garden

field trip to the oracle garden

And that leads us to his first solo show, “Portals” at Rehab Tavern in Franklinton!  Woot! This concept came about while he was looking through a box of discarded sketches and concepts for pieces to complete for the show...I noticed a theme recurring in some of them. Lots of them seemed to deal with humans in various levels of interaction with strange, otherworldly forces, beings or locations. This interested me, so most of the new graphite works in PORTALS explore that dynamic in several different ways. “Field Trip to the Oracle Garden” for example, explores what might happen if the miraculous and otherworldly became completely mundane, but in kind of a surreal, funny way.



shallow  grave Valentine

shallow grave Valentine

Sooo…come out to Rehab Tavern for the opening of this talented man’s first solo show on Friday May 9th, 7-10 p.m…enjoy his art, sample some great libations and hang out on their great patio…it’s supposed to be warm this week…yay!portals
Then in June, take in Derek and Jenn’s talents at the Columbus Arts Fest as it returns to the festivities in the ‘hands-on’ tent….have your portrait drawn right before your eyes as you peer into the Magic Mirror. I guarantee, you will be pleasantly surprised!!
BTW, Derek and Jenn are looking for artists to assist with the fun during the Fest…paid position, folks, so contact Derek ASAP!!
 Contact info for readers:





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