Sat 11/9 @ 6pm
This weekend at Breakneck Gallery, This is the Way the World Ends – as local artist/curator Chad “CHOD” Kimes presents his first solo exhibition in 3 years. This is the Way the World Ends features over 50 new works narrating CHOD’s personal interpretation of the history of the world – from beginning to end… With more emphasis on the “end” part.
The show starts on Day Zero and ends with Judgment Day. The Four Horsemen, dead celebrities and the protagonist — “Kitty Death” — lead viewers through the rise and fall of man. As CHOD explains, “Everything must come to an end.”
CHOD’s work has been a staple at Breakneck since it was called “The Pop Shop” and owned by R!ch Cihlar. In addition to contributing work to dozens of themed-group shows, he has curated numerous exhibitions themed around pop culture – including 3 Cinematic Redux movie-poster themed shows and an Avengers-themed show when the movie was being filmed in Cleveland. Works from the Avengers show are hanging in Carol & John’s Comics. This summer, he completed a large mural on the wall outside Breakneck at the intersection of Madison and Cordova.
Kimes received his BFA in Illustration from Columbus College of Art and Design in 2000. Since then, he has won numerous awards from the Ohio Associated Press and received a commendation from the Ohio House of Representatives for Outstanding Accomplishment in the Graphic Arts.
CHOD recently sat down with Cool Cleveland to discuss his shows, other recent projects and his post-apocalyptic plans.
Cool Cleveland: As one of the more active artists in town, you surprised a few people with your last solo show, Ramifications. It featured an almost unbelievable amount of new, never-before-seen work, leaving many visitors wondering how you had time to make all of it in between your other projects. What can visitors expect from this show?
CHOD: Yeah, for my last solo show three years ago I made 49 new pieces of art (50 total, I threw in a piece that I made for Cleveland Cinemas to cheat to get to 50) over the span of like 9 months. To pull off my idea for that show of parallel reality story lines in one person’s life (like the old ‘choose your own adventure’ books), I really needed to do that many pieces. After that, I got a little burned out and thus the three year hiatus between solo shows.
For this one, I have 54 original pieces for the show. But 24 of them are small 5” x 7” portraits of famous dead people. So I actually only have 30 decent size ones. Plus I did these over the last year and a half, so I had a lot of time to pull it off to help alleviate me of any unwanted stress. The show covers the beginning of time to the end of days (mostly end of days stuff). So people can expect basically my interpretation of the duration of this planet.
I have wanted to do my take on the book of Revelations for a long time now. There is a lot of cool imagery in that book that lends itself well to visual arts. I do have a lot of stuff that is not biblical in there also. Like a revolt from nature towards mankind. I’m not sure exactly what is going to happen at the end of it all but I’m throwing out my take on one possibility. What really happens, I’m sure, is way beyond my or anyone else’s wildest imagination.
This summer, you painted a great mural outside of Breakneck. How did that come about and what was your inspiration/message to the public?
Sean and Kristen Burns (owners of Breakneck) came to me about replacing the mural that was on the side of the building. Weather and age had gotten to it and they needed a replacement. I had never done anything to that scale before, so I had to think it over. It didn’t even take me a day (probably within the hour) that I decided I had to do it. It was a great opportunity to do something that I hadn’t before and a great location to do it at.
I started sketching for it by thinking of the area and what I could depict for Cleveland or Lakewood. Everything I drew felt stale or forced…In other words, boring. So I finally was told to draw what I draw and see if it would fit in after the fact. That was much easier. I love drawing monsters and it comes very natural to me. So, you get a giant Magenta Squid Monster out of it.
The only obstacle was making it a monster that was family friendly and acceptable to everyone. It’s safe to say that a lot of my monsters I draw would not be great for John Q. Public to have to look at daily. I also wanted the mural to be vibrant so people would take notice and that it wouldn’t just blend in with the surroundings. I did work in the Cleveland cityscape to show local flavor. And yes, I know that there are no jellyfish in Lake Erie. I was very pleased with the outcome and it was a blast to do. I hope to do more murals down the line. Hopefully people like it and it hasn’t given too many children nightmares.
Your work has always perfectly fit the Pop Shop/Breakneck overall aesthetic. In your opinion, what is it about that gallery that makes it so unique and so perfect for you?
Out of other galleries around, Breakneck seems to house art that is very much in the same vein as to what I produce. They embrace the illustrative aesthetic that I lean towards. There are other great galleries around, but I feel that my art always has a place there and never sticks out like a sore thumb. I am probably going to try to branch out a little bit and see if other galleries would be interested in what I do, but it nice to know there is a place that my art feels like it belongs.
It’s been a few years since your last solo show. In that time, you’ve curated a few shows at Breakneck. How have these experiences impacted your own work? What changes have you noticed in your work from then until now? How does this show differ from your last?
Seeing other artists’ works is always inspiring. It makes you want to maybe try new avenues or see things that you would have missed if you had attempted the same thing. This time around, I have tried a lot of different techniques that I haven’t used before or haven’t used in a while. Everything fits as a whole but there is a nice change-up between pieces. There are painted comic book pages, spray paint on a number of pieces, house paint, collage, stencil work and photography, all along with the normal acrylic and ink that I have gotten comfortable with.
Even though this show also follows a story line it is much broader and each piece does not have to play off of one another. With Ramifications, some pieces were very illustrative and looked like they belonged in a story book and were there just for the purpose of moving the story along. With this show, every piece speaks for itself.
I’m not even going to be hanging the art in chronological order. It will be hung by what looks most pleasing. There will be a book for sale, however, that people can flip through and see the order that everything falls. I definitely think people will notice some new approaches and subject matter from my earlier work. I will be happy the night of the opening, as I will feel like I can shed this body of work and look to see where I can grow and go from here. The future is always exciting.
Speaking of the future, any other upcoming shows/projects? Any curating in the works?
Nothing planned right now. My plans are to keep working on art for group shows and maybe try to do a little more commercial work in the immediate future. I’ll think of doing another solo show when inspiration hits me.
So… How does the world end?
I tend to think it will go down the way it is written in the bible. But then again there could be a black hole created by the Large Hadron Collider and it could all be over tomorrow. Or there could be a huge ecological disaster and the remaining people have to survive Mad Max-style. Any which way it ends, I have to appreciate today for what I have in my life. Tomorrow is never certain.
Indeed. Show your appreciation for CHOD’s hard work by stopping by Breakneck this weekend. There aren’t very many opportunities to see a solo show featuring 50+ new works anywhere in Cleveland. Don’t miss your chance to see one of Cleveland’s most talented and hardest working young artists. Plus, with so much smaller work, the show is full of affordable work for just about any budget.
This event is free and open to the public. Show runs through Fri 12/6. Additional hours: Wednesdays 4-7pm, Thursdays 4-8pm, Fridays & Saturdays 2-8pm. All other times by appointment. A very big Thank You to Chad “CHOD” Kimes for his time and thoughtful responses!