Cleveland lost one of its most interesting artists on Christmas day when Stephen Kasner died at the age of 49.
Kasner hit the scene with a roar back in the 90s when his dark, ominous art started to get recognition in the local underground arts/indie music scene. He produced work for area bands such as Keelhaul and Integrity and northeast Ohio underground music monthly U.S. Rocker. And he showed at alternative gallery spaces such as the 1300 Gallery, a pioneering space at 78th Street Studios before everyone knew about it.
He did his last local show there in 2003 before moving to California where he enjoyed a productive period. He continued to work with bands, design album covers, do film work, exhibit his work and perform his own music. He also produced a book in 2007 called Stephen Kasner Works: 1993-2006.
Unfortunately, he also developed a plethora of physical and psychological health issues and eventually moved back to Cleveland, reintroducing his work to the area scene with a show at HEDGE Gallery (also in 78th Street Studios) in August 2017, titled Capture & Release (Expanded Images Within Reach). It featured new drawings and paintings, along with some of his prints and posters. It seemed like a promising re-launch to a career that had been stalled for too long. Alas, it was not to be. But he leaves behind an impressive body of work.