There was amazing creative energy on the streets of Lancaster’s “First Friday.” Prof. Karen Kresge and a bunch of KU AIGA students carpooled the 60 miles from Kutztown to Lancaster. There were drum circles on Prince St., open air parking lot aerobics, men in full tuxedos, cops on horseback, buskers of every stripe. The Monty Python Musical “Spamalot” played to a packed house at the beautifully-lit Fulton Opera House. On a side street a disabled artist painted a landscape on canvas by holding his brush in his teeth.
Our reason for the trip was to see the Heads of State at Infantree. Turns out the Heads of State had done a VIP talk the night before. It was little disappointing to learn we didn’t make the VIP list, but the public opening we attended was exciting. The work was strong, mostly hand silk-screened poster-sized prints.
I separated from the group and visited a number of galleries. Found most of the artwork was locally made, which is encouraging. Subject matter varied from the abstract to local Pennsylvania landscapes. Most paintings had a familiar feel, the sort of artwork you might expect in a model home or a young doctor’s office. There was some exceptional and experimental work, too. I couldn’t tell which sort was selling.
I didn’t expect to find illustration and comics on a gallery walk. By chance I wandered into the a post-production video studio called “POSTAGE” at 45 N. Market Street, Suite 1002 in Central Market Mall. I met POSTAGE’s Alex Clements and Joe Krzemienski, who make their own films under the studio name, “The Fictory.” They gave me a poster for their upcoming animated film, Atomic Robo: Last Stop. I found a YouTube trailer for it here. Alex and Joe invited their comic artist friends to set up a mini-comics convention in the hall outside their studio. I met Dominic Vivona who pencils and inks the web comic, Tiegre: East of Warmageddon. The Kraken above demonstrates Dominic remarkable drawing skills. Lancaster, which I had thought of as a pretty old-fashioned city, has clearly got one foot in the future. -K.Mc