One-day exhibit draws from pop culture

Inspired by artistic life in the city, alumnus aims to bring artists together

NMU alumnus Mike Forester returned to his native metro Detroit and found independent art galleries, DIY ethics and a slew of other artistic endeavors flourishing throughout Southeast Michigan.

“There’s a renaissance going on in Detroit right now,” Forester said. “As an artist, you want to be at the forefront of big, exciting movements. So when I moved back to Marquette, I told myself, ‘If the scene’s not here, I’ll make it be here.’”

Since then, the 27-year-old has spent countless hours in preparation for his collaborative exhibition, “Culture of Cult,” presented by local design agency Elegant Seagulls and starting at 6:30 p.m. with a reception at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 1 at Marquette’s Ore Dock Brewery.

The event is free and open to the public. Forester said he found it hard to leave Detroit, but aims to help ignite a more vibrant art scene in Marquette with the exhibition, which revolves around artistic interpretations of popular culture.

Senior graphic communication majors Jim Debrock, left, and Christopher LaRose, right, work together to recreate parts of the ’90s Nickelodeon show, “Adventures of Pete and Pete,” with posters of events from the show. (Analicia Honkanen/NW)

Senior graphic communication majors Jim Debrock, left, and Christopher LaRose, right, work together to recreate parts of the ’90s Nickelodeon show, “Adventures of Pete and Pete,” with posters of events from the show. (Analicia Honkanen/NW)

More than 45 contributing artists are scheduled to present. Printmakers, illustrators, graphic designers, jewelers, sculptors and other artists will have the opportunity to display and sell their work to the public.

“We’ve got traditional painting and a lot of screen printing,” Forester said. “Daric Christian, a digital cinema and electronic imaging professor, is even contributing a piece. I’m not sure what his project is yet, but he asked me if we had room for a TV.”

Senior electronic imaging major Jacob Proffer, one of many NMU students contributing to the exhibition, is submitting a four-layer print inspired by the AMC drama “Breaking Bad.”

“For this show, I wanted to stick with a dominant theme,” he said. “I chose ‘Breaking Bad,’ because it’s my favorite series.

“I know there are a few [other] people from [the electronic imaging] major that are contributing. Everyone’s got some really cool stuff to offer, and I’m excited to see it.”

Proffer, a Gwinn native, has spent the past four years refining his style, he said. He has studied photography, digital cinema, graphic design, 3-D modeling and animation.

His artwork is currently on display at the DeVos Art Museum and the Peter White Public Library.

“A lot of my work pertains to the military,” Proffer said. “It’s not necessarily anti-war stuff, though. I talk a lot about the war in Afghanistan. I’m a huge minimalist, so I really like clean design.

“I’m inspired by Josef Müller-Brockmann and a lot of the old Swiss designers.”

The exhibition will operate as a short-term venue, a “pop-up” approach common to metropolitan areas, but not often practiced in Marquette, Forester said.

“The only time you’ll be able to see this stuff in person is for one night only, then it’s gone,” Forester said. “It creates a bit of excitement.”

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