An enormous blue raindrop is filled with, well, a lot: A bearded wizard grimacing between a spider and its web, an upset cat-face and a finger with exposed bone to name a few. This piece, "Heartsick," will be one of the murals featured by iMOCA.
The Droops are a six-artist team comprised of Paul Pelsue, Ashley Windbigler, Brock Forrer, Ally Alsup, Adam Wollenberg and Emily Gable. They work together to create murals that feature each of their artistic talents.
"Long gone" is a theme dear to their hearts and lives. They devised this theme while visiting Forrer and Alsup, Alaska. They journeyed to a cabin without electricity to brainstorm and visualize their show without any outside influences. The show was inspired in part by the realization that their childhood now exists only as images and memories. This exhibition is their foray into maturity and is the start of more focused style for The Droops.
Long Gone will feature 40 of The Droops' pieces. Some of the artwork will be their distinct, collaborative murals and others are individual pieces that demonstrate each group member's style.
Paula Katz, iMOCA's executive director, selected The Droops for this show, in part because of Emily Gable. Katz was in conversations with Gable about featuring her work at CityWay, but Gable suggested turning the show into a Droop-led experience.
"The Droops create work that is a strong balance between illustrative and linear drawings associated more with tattoos. The work is humorous while still being subtle," Katz said.
They take familiar images like animals, boobs and ghosts and draw them in a cartoonish, garish manner. Bright colors complement their bold, graphic style. The Droops utilize humor as their inspiration and much of their work reflects their goofy demeanor.
It's silliness juxtaposed with a hint of darkness.
Though The Droops met at Herron School of Art, they didn't start producing team art until after they graduated. When they were released from school into the real world, they wanted to keep each other motivated. Their earliest pieces were bar drawings. While out drinking, they passed around a piece of paper and added doodle after doodle built off of the same image. These doodles eventually evolved into united group pieces that showcased each of their talents. Their group was cemented after Wollenberg and Forrer put on a well-received show at the Murphy. They enlisted Pelsue, Windbigler, Gable and Alsup to create the formal group ... formal might not be the right word.
The Droops were already collaborating before their group name stuck. They were originally known as the Drops, but it reminded them too much of "dropping the ball" and they decided to alter it. Their name stems from them being "super droopy;" it epitomizes their light but sad style. When they heard the name out loud, it immediately became their theme and mantra.
Each member has a different specialization. At Herron, three were printmakers, two were sculptors and one was a painting major. Since joining together their work has become paint heavy.
Though their backgrounds are diverse, the art is cohesive. For instance, when one of them drew an interesting fire hydrant and the rest of the group wanted to draw their own hydrants. Someone's idea radiates outward until the group has filled an entire canvas with iterations.
"When we collaborate, it helps us out personally," said Windbigler. "You see someone do something which influences you, you see someone do something cool and you want to make your own version."
Gable agreed, "I feel way more strong as a person and individual artist because I am a part of the group."