Artist: Michael Koehler
Venue: Ballyhoo Curiosity Shop / 5445 Ballard Ave NW
Event: August 17th 6pm - 9pm www.facebook.com/events/121858691757283/
Showing August 17th - September 19th
Don't miss the opening of Michael Koehler's 'Into The Cult Realms' - showing at Ballyhoo Curiosity Shop August 17th - September 19th
You enter through a dark whirlpool to find yourself at the mouth of a great trench. As you look around, you find this world is full of strange and mystical creatures. They seem to be some sort of ancient looking, animalistic people. Suddenly a large reptilian scout spots you and bellows out a deafening screech as you try to find your footing along the loose, rocky chasm. You see flying in the cloudy sky above, a bat like figure quickly descending upon you. You scramble out of the way just as it swoops down at your feet. Looking up at you with three crazed eyes and psychedelic features, it lets out several high pitched chirps and begins lurching toward you. A gang of grotesque bat faced creatures surrounds you as you look for an impossible escape. Each wretched bat drips with slimy plasma and is armed with arcane tools and primitive looking weapons. As a tall, fiery red faced man-bat leans into your face and sniffs piggishly, you utter, “What… where am I?” It lets out a wild cackle and replies, “You have entered our world through the black void, and so now, you are ours. Just as everything that enters… Into the Cult Realms.”
I grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the late 80s/early 90s. When I was about 7 years old I won a complete set of 1990 Marvel superhero cards at a Cub Scout meeting. My young mind was completely blown and I quit Cub Scouts the following day. I became obsessed with all of these characters and would spend hours drawing them and acting like I was the Silver Surfer or Sabertooth with my cousin. We eventually started making up our own characters and drawing out all of their abilities. Shortly after this I was introduced to skateboarding and was again blown away by the artwork that emblazoned the bottoms of decks. The rules were loose and it felt like the artists were able to push the limits further, resulting in grotesque, satirical, and tongue in cheek graphics. It sent my young mind face first into an art fueled feeding frenzy.
All of this coupled with growing up watching cartoons and horror movies, playing board games, reading lots of Joseph Campbell, and living part time in my imagination has helped me to create a my own world of strange people and creatures. I let them interact however they want based on their character, their struggles, and their mythologies. I paint life into them and set them free to explore, build homes, cause trouble, make art, work, fight, start cults, play games, create and worship gods, and develop into whatever creature they choose.
Ballard Night Out is presented by Greater Ballard Arts - supporting arts and cultural events in Ballard's 98107 & 98117 zip codes.