Photo by Fred Pollard
ALTON − Eric Stauffer is bringing provocative, fun and colorful artistry to Alton with a “bang,” a “pow” and maybe even a “shazam” or two.
On Jan. 3, Dark Horse Art Works kicked off its first event, the Comic Book Art Exhibition, with a reception at Jacoby Arts Center, 627 East Broadway in Alton. The event featured local artists and their interpretations of comic book art and ran through Jan. 17.
“The whole thing started off as a Jacoby Arts Center marketing idea,” Stauffer, sole proprietor of Dark Horse, said. “I came up with the idea, but they felt it was not traditional enough. So I rented the facility for an exhibit myself and here we are.”
Featured art exhibits were provided by Cathy Hazelwonder, Jake Bishop, Charlie James, Bud Georgewitz, Kevin Dale Duncan, Adam Dresden, and “Wascally Wee Willy” Harroff.
In addition to submitted artwork, the opening reception featured vendors and live performance artists Kamram Mehmandoost and Rusty Mathis, as well as display booths from Alton area author Ron Wenzel, writing as Max Zero, and Stache Publishing, spotlighting the local company’s comics. Musician Nathan Thomeczek was on hand to perform original music using tongue drums and keyboards.
Stauffer says inspiration for the exhibit comes from both the current popularity of comics such as The Walking Dead as well as the past “golden era” of the graphic-based books.
“Mad Magazine was big when I was growing up, and I also got into Epic and Heavy Metal,” he said. “Those planted the seeds for the motivation to do something like this.”
Established in March 2013, Dark Horse Art Works offers all types of graphic design work. The Comic Book Art Exhibition was its first organized event, and Stauffer says it is the only the beginning of a new era for his company.
“The Alton area is going to be knocked out by what we do this year,” he said.
Upcoming exhibitions through Dark Horse Art Works in 2014 include a graffiti exhibit in June, a live body art event later in the summer, and the “Con Artist” exhibit, featuring artwork from current and former prison convicts. For more information, visit www.darkhorseartworks.com.
Jacoby Arts Center is featuring the Awards of Excellence Exhibition, a “best of the best” display running through Feb. 22. For more information, visit www.jacobyartscenter.org.