Jonathan Earley lives in Columbus, Ind., where he currently works full-time as the web and multimedia designer for Screaming Eagle Media. But his artwork reflects his fascination with Japan, which he first visited when 16 years-old.
"During my first visit, I literally felt like I had traveled into the future," he says. "I remember as a young kid, my biggest influences were high-action comics, sci-fi movies, action figures, and cartoons, and I think visiting a culture that emitted the same types of vibes that I got from my early childhood influences gave me a sense of euphoria and fascination. So I try to reflect that sense in some of my drawings."
At Oranje, the 24-year-old animator and web designer will display his drawings (using sharpies on foam core and paper), digital illustrations and digitally manipulated photography. In some of his drawings you see Japanese script, which Earley incorporates in order to add "an extra element of stimulation or mystery to the pieces."
The kind of stimulation and excitement you see in this artwork is lacking in the Columbus arts scene, according to Earley. While renowned for its architecture, Earely's hometown doesn't have much to offer for many younger residents. "As it is now," he says, "people finish high school and leave as quickly as possible and if they do come back they feel like they fail."
Earley said that he initially felt this way when he returned to Columbus from California. After earning a BA in Digital Arts and Animation from Cogswell Polytech in Sunnyvale, Ca., he supported himself for a year in the Golden State by working as a video production artist, web/graphic designer and 3D modeler/animator. Even with his considerable array of skills, he found the cost of living was just too high. When he was offered a job as a web designer for his hometown newspaper, The Columbus Republic
, he accepted it.
What he's not willing to accept, however, is a Columbus without the cultural glue to retain its young. To do his part, Earley founded C-buz.com, a online zine that features interviews with Columbus-based artists and musicians.
Earley hopes the site will expand "to the point to where if you're in high school or college you automatically know what C-buz is and recognize it as a source of inspiration."