The Home of Art & Soul: Why Cleveland Designers are Here to Stay

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Cleveland Proud

With our headquarters in Ohio City, one of our city’s most culturally rich and diverse communities, we here at Go Media are proud to call Cleveland home.

Living in the home of rock and roll, music, design, and art are in our collective soul. Why leave our great city to pursue a career in the arts when Cleveland has so much to give? Our favorite hometown designers tell the world why they’re here to stay.

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Aaron Sechrist

“NY and LA are awesome but they are their own worlds, they’ve already been ‘built’. Those stories have been told. Cleveland is a work in progress, it was once a titan generations ago and now it’s this weird and wonderful town that is on the rise again. It feels like someone hit the reset button on this city and it’s a story that I and a lot of other people are helping to write with what we’re all doing in our respective walks of life.”

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Jeff Finley

“It’s easier to stand out in Cleveland because not everyone is trying to be an artist or rockstar. You have room to build something and actually get noticed.”

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William Beachy

“I started my art training here in Cleveland at the Museum of Art and Cleveland Institute of Art, then got a BS in Industrial Design from The Ohio State University.  I recommend all of these institutions because there is a rich history of art and design in Northeast Ohio. These institutions are among the top in the world.

I stay in Cleveland because this is where my heart is. Also, I know happiness comes from the people, not the number of your skyscrapers. And when it comes to great people – Northeast Ohio has a bounty.

Cleveland has an amazing mix of humility and pride. We don’t need other’s approval – we know deep down that we rock. That’s what’s always driven me as an artist – quiet confidence.
Big city amenities, with a small town comradery. It’s Cleveland vs. the world – and we’re winning.”

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Derek Hess

Sheephead and pop are two things that inspire
me about Cleveland, America.”

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Craig Winzer

“Cleveland offers more than enough artistic influences, and is much more affordable than NY or LA.”

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Steve Knerem

“What inspires me as a Cleveland artist is not as much the “sights” of the city but the people. I am born and raised in Cleveland, grew up living and dying with the sports teams, LTV Steel and The Flats.
This meant good times and bad times.

I have seen a crazy amount of city pride in people’s eyes, hearts and speech. We that live here love it, hate it, but most of all defend it.

How this translates to me as an artist is I have the opportunity to do some work with local businesses that have caught the “city pride” bug.

They understand it and are doing what they can to grow it. What that means for me are tee designs usually. One example is a current client, “Old School Iron Gym.”  This is a body builders gym, the dudes and chicks in there mean business. The owner is tapping into the city pride by incorporating his logo with various catch lines such as “CLEVELAND STRONG” that surround his company logo or we had an image that has a skull in the middle of the state of Ohio.

People in Cleveland definitely stand strong, stand out represent their city.

The piece above is one I did for a gallery show earlier in 2013. It represents my linear line art style. I call it “The Eye of the Storm.”

In life we are in the center and all around us is life, death, love, sadness and everything in between. Maybe this represents Cleveland’s history. The good thing is I believe we are in a rebirth.”

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Sean Higgins of The Bubble Process

“I really love the randomness of Cleveland. The city celebrates its current quirkiness and its dense history of art and music in a way only people who live here can understand. I mean, there is a story about a sea monster in Lake Erie named Bessie…which is pretty awesome if you ask me. People here can generally create for the right reasons and a community like that is really satisfying and attractive to be a part of.

I also feel that the size of our city is really a blessing. There is a nurturing sense of community within the arts scene here that makes it both approachable and accessible to everyone. Plus we don’t take ourselves too damn seriously. Which makes art more approachable for everyone. Plus we have Sokolowskis (best restaurant ever).

Cleveland is home and always has been. After college I thought about possibly moving to other bigger cities. Most of my friends and roommates from school all moved away taking the next step that was logical for them, but I knew I needed more time to develop as an illustrator and designer and soon realized this is a great place to mature as an artist. I was fortunate to do some freelance and part time work with a few different non-profit arts organizations and had a visibility to the vast arts community here and many of the available opportunities the region has for the arts as a whole. In addition the cost of living is a huge plus for any artist.”

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Oliver Barrett

“I suppose the inspiring thing about Cleveland is the city’s slow but steady progress. The production of a project is something that always grabs my attention. Seeing the potential of what something can end up being is always exciting for me. Admittedly, I can every once in awhile, fall short of my own expectations on the final execution of a piece, but there’s always a part of the process that says ‘hey, this could end up being something pretty great.’ There’s no guarantee about a project becoming the next big amazing thing, but the potential is there. I think Cleveland’s recent development/improvements/progress is a lot like that part of working on something where you realize ‘hot damn, maybe I’m onto something.’ I guess this is sort of a backhanded compliment about the city, but it resonates with me.”

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John G.

“I’m mostly inspired by the ebbs and flows of Cleveland’s history.  It’s an odd, tragic, triumphant place. I suppose I aspire to contribute to the narrative in the present.  I also like to think about the big picture of this place. I like watching it change and dig its heels in deeper at the same time.”

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About the Author, Go Media

Go Media is a creative agency based in Cleveland, OH that specializes in print design, branding, and web development. We are also behind WMC Fest, GoMediaZine, the Arsenal, Mockup Everything and others.

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