Fri 7/20 @ 5-9PM
Only a diehard Clevelander, while staring at the vastness and beauty of the Grand Canyon, would conceive a book about Northeast Ohio’s history, architecture, people, sports, food, music, nature and culture.
That’s exactly where the Mayfield Heights native, photographer and painter Scott Kraynak was when he got the idea for his newly released The heART of Cleveland.
The 154-page book details through the eyes of Cleveland’s finest artists, past and present, the city’s diversity and creativity through photography, illustration, paintings, essays, sculpture, installations and poetry. A release party and art exhibit of items from the book is scheduled from Fri 7/20 @ 5-9pm at E11even 2’s 78th Street Studios.
CoolCleveland talked to Kraynak, who admittedly has been homesick since he graduated from Kent State University in 1999 and left the area for park ranger work around the country, about his new book and love for Northeast Ohio.
CoolCleveland: What was the impetus for The heART of Cleveland?
Scott Kraynak: I’ve always loved Cleveland. I’ve lived and worked all over the country in Florida, North Dakota, Virginia, Washington, California and Arizona. No matter where I’ve been, I’ve always talked about Cleveland, how great it is and how much I miss it. I can only imagine how many people I’ve annoyed over the years just talking about Cleveland. The biggest inspiration is my love of my hometown and just knowing how many great artists are from Cleveland and live in Cleveland. I thought it would be a cool idea to not only represent the art scene, but also different artists and how the city has inspired them.
CC: So was there one moment where you conceived the book?
SK: I was sitting at my place at the Grand Canyon thinking about home, and I just came up with this idea. I don’t know if something like this has been done. The book isn’t a collection of oil paintings in Cleveland. There are chefs, culinary art, sculpture, illustrations, comic art, musicians, writers and poets. It’s everything. It’s all fields of art, all styles, and the one thing linking them together is Cleveland. I thought it would be cool. I ran with it and got a lot of support. People thought it was a good idea, so it kind of had to be done.
CC: What’s interesting is The heART of Cleveland is basically a history book, but also acts as an elaborate travel brochure for the Rock Hall City.
SK: Exactly, nobody ever said that in terms of it being a travel brochure, but you’re right. It represents Cleveland’s food scene, represents arts, music, everything. I wanted it to be also not just a modern artist, but I wanted to kind of celebrate the past and keep the legacy alive.
CC: In looking over The heART of Cleveland, the book comes across as being both ingenious and a no-brainer.
SK: I appreciate those words and, yeah, that’s exactly what I was thinking: why hasn’t this been done before? There’s so much Cleveland has to offer. I felt this book had to be done, and I’m really pleased with how it turned out.
CC: The heART of Cleveland has a Vol. 1 feel. Any chance you’re planning another?
SK: There are artists that I wish were in the book that aren’t. There are always a lot more, but I honestly need to take a break from any big project after this because it’s taken a lot of out of me these past four years to get this done.