Wednesday, July 30 2008
Displaying results 1 through 10 of 106
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Metrotimes - Nigh & Day "Please God Save Us Book Signing"
Wednesday, July 30 2008
Cleveland Scene "Republican-Based Art"
Sunday, July 23 2006
Your Music Magazine
Wednesday, February 01 2006
CMJ "Hot Air, Derek Hess is one sketchy dude"
Monday, December 12 2005
Thursday, December 01 2005
Columbus Dispatch "Dark side of human condition"
Sunday, October 09 2005
ALive Columbus - "Angels and Agony"
Wednesday, October 05 2005
Cleveland Free Times - Derek & the Domino Theory
Wednesday, September 07 2005
Alternative Press "All Strhessed Out" Strhessfest
Monday, November 01 2004
Dark vision sees light in Louvre&Denver-DenverPost
Sunday, October 17 2004
Article Published: Sunday, October 17, 2004 Dark vision sees light in Louvre, and Denver By Elana Ashanti Jefferson Denver Post Staff Writer
The letter from the Louvre sat around Derek Hess' Cleveland studio for a month before the illustrator found a friend to translate it.
"It's from the Louvre," he was told. "You need to respond to this, like now. They want a body of your work."
Hess' first portfolio, filled with dark, figurative interpretations of music, bands, people and relationships, was mailed the next day. He hasn't seen it since.
"People tell me they've seen it there," the Ohio native said recently. "Sometimes they'll hang a few; sometimes they won't hang any."
Hess was in Denver for the opening of "Inventing Cuss Words," an exhibit of his fine-art prints at the DC Gallery at 125 Broadway.
Lauded as one of the most popular underground artists of our time, Hess has yet to travel to Paris to see his drawings at the Louvre. He has spent the past 11 years turning a career that began when he made concert fliers and silk-screen posters - for the underground bands he booked at a small Cleveland nightclub - into a full-fledged enterprise. He spearheaded Strhess Clothing, a collection of T-shirts, hoodies and hats featuring his illustrations; Strhessfest, an event that showcases underground bands and the music illustrators who promote them; and the Strhesstour, a similar roundup Hess put on the road for the first time this year. All this is on top of CD and poster-design jobs from record companies whose bands relate to his despondent vision.
This is the face of today's self-sufficient artist: a multitasker fueling several art-driven business endeavors with a right-hand man to manage the details.
It's also the reason that on the afternoon of Hess' most recent Denver gallery show, a student from Mesa State College waited in the gallery for Hess to return from a coffee run. He showed up hours before the opening so Hess could survey his sketch book. "This is my hero," the student said.
The prints on the walls featured foreboding forms drawn with ink and occasionally accented with acrylic paint. In one image, a muscular arm juts from the bottom of the page and grips a crimson-haired angel so tightly her feathers flutter to the ground.
"I feel they're heavy," Hess said. "There is burden. People come to (the art) and feel the burden. They bring whatever they might be carrying around, and they can relate to it."
It was just such a person who approached Hess in 1993 and offered to fund the printing of his collectible silk-screen band posters. For years before that, while Hess was a Captain America comic book junkie who studied printmaking at the Cleveland Institute of Art, silk-screen posters were something he couldn't afford to do.
With the help of partner Marty Geramita, Hess broke into the world of collectible concert posters, "a funny little community" of art hoarders. Many of them convene at Flatstock, a poster festival held in conjunction with music festivals like South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, and Bumbershoot in Seattle.
A Newsweek story came next. Thanks to the growing popularity in the early 1990s of Spanish-born poster artist Frank Kozik, who settled in Austin and began producing a prolific body of full-color, limited edition silk-screen posters based on that city's booming music culture, the magazine tracked down similar artists. The magazine declared them part of "the second coming of the rock poster," a phenomenon rooted in San Francisco's psychedelic scene in the 1960s.
Hess flourished. Galleries in Germany wanted to show his work. MTV wanted him to do a cameo on one of its reality/game shows, and later enlisted the illustrator to conceive the CD cover for a "Headbangers Ball" compilation.
"I've seen his posters around for 10 or 11 years now," said Gared O' Donnell, singer for the Denver band Planes Mistaken for Stars.
The artist has moved away from the collectible-poster scene in recent years. Now CD design is a pillar of his business endeavors.
Creative, artful packaging is part of the strategy. Consider the CD cover Hess designed last year for the British band The Hurt Process. Hess drew an image of women pulling a man's heart out of his chest. The heart lifted away "like a pop-up book," Hess said.
Hess' Denver exhibit will hang at the DC Gallery until Nov. 3.
Staff writer Elana Ashanti Jefferson can be reached at 303-820-1957 or email@example.com .
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