“Art School” Opens January 5, 2019

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Thunder-Sky, Inc. (4573 Hamilton Avenue, Cincinnati) presents  “Art School with Clint Bassinger, Curtis Davis, Malik Harris, Arvind Sundar, and Ethan Waldeck.” The show opens January 5, 2019, reception 6 – 10 pm, and closes February 15, 2019.   

“Art School” Explained

“Art School” is often not about “art” and not about “school,” but about the ways people who are artists find their way to making what they need to make, either via teaching themselves, each other, or learning through some kind of institution.  However they discover who they are and what they are supposed to make, this process seems to be about finding ways to convey what’s always been inside their brains and souls in the first place, externalizing and visualizing identity, ideas, obsessions.  These 5 artists are completely disparate in age and other differences (including educational access), and even though they work through a wide variety or styles and approaches, their art and practices share a sense of both playfulness and seriousness, stylishness and succinctness.   

These Are the Artists in “Art School”  

Clint Basinger

Clint Basinger is an artist from Owensboro, KY.  Now living in Covington, where he co-runs the Pique Art Gallery, with Lindsey Whittle, Annie Brown, and Noel Maghathe.  Clint was an art major at Murray State University.  After college, while living on the family farm, he taught himself to write and draw comic books.  He has created over 30 comic books, under his company Cosmic Moustache Comics.  In Clint’s recent work, he’s taking old family photos, and adding to their story.  The old Polaroids of family stories and legends are given new energy and new life.

Curtis Davis

“Everything.  I want them to see everything.” –Curtis Davis

The unifying forces in Curtis Davis’ work are immediacy and joy.  He produces art daily at Visionaries and Voices studios daily committed to a painting process and routine.  His impulse to make art results in an abundance of new paintings and drawings produced daily.  In the case of drawings, they are made quickly, intuitively, and with recurring symbols.  Paintings typically take no more than two days to complete.  Sculptures are covered in a layer of fresh paint everyday but continue to be re-worked for months or years.  New objects are added and then paint applied on top.  Over time, the objects lose their meaning in the layers of paint and become echoes, replaced by the sheer physicality and weight of paint.  When asked at what time he considers a sculpture finished he always replies “when it’s done.”  His personal simplicities on life combined with his use of everyday materials create a wonderfully poignant body of work that is always growing.

Malik Harris

Malik Harris, 16 years old, is a Cincinnati Public high school Junior at Hughes High School’s Zoo Academy.  He is the youngest son of mother Kelly Isham, grandson of Theresa Mosley, with older brothers Andre, Zion, and Ron.  An accomplished musician, Malik has been active for a number of years with the Music Resource Center-Cincinnati.  He a member of both the Hughes High School Drum Line and the Cincinnati Stars Drum Line.  Malik is first and foremost an artist, an interest he has been pursuing since he was a very young child.

Arvind Sundar

The leisurely act of floating in the pool turned into an unconscious study of color and form. Confronted with a gridded ceiling of lights, the repetitive architectural structure was initially the point of attention but quickly moved to the afterimage that lingered behind closed eyes. This optic reaction became the focal point of curiosity, exploring the uncertain space of sight when one continues to see when the eyes are closed. Disparate gradients of color are sourced from memory and tied to specific moments in time and space, from a makeup palette to a dinner date’s dress. The paintings depict a reoccurring motif of imperfect modular units overlaid on a textured field of thickly applied paint. The images that linger when the field of vision have supposedly come to an end are formless and temporally obscure, which recall properties of painterly abstraction. -Sso-Rha Kang  More information:  www.arvindsundar.com

Ethan Waldeck

Balloons have an inclination to bring about positive associations; relating to celebratory times, memories of innocence, and the idea of total freedom. There may be negative undertones arising from the presence of these objects, they are fragile, and their ultimate emptiness can result in emotions that revolve around loss and apathy. They are ephemeral objects that are constant but also unpredictable. Depending on another for their creation but in due time choosing their own demise, whether that be the ending of their created purpose, their own sudden decision of departure, or simply by having time take its toll. The human life-cycle is similar. The balloons are contradictory objects, double-archetypes. They take up space but are ultimately empty, they symbolize freedom but still eventually relinquish life, bringing us joy when present but heartache when they escape our grasp. 

My work re configures an object that is defenseless and frail, changing it into something with permanence and fortitude. Relating to experiences where one was emotionally damaged, and in-turn built walls or defense mechanisms to protect oneself from further harm. This was achieved by translating the objects form, a balloon, into a new material, bronze or plaster, and replacing volume with mass –  through the various steps of pouring, mold making, wax work, casting, tig welding, finishing, and polishing. These processes are used in my work to explore questions regarding time, development, vigor, impermanency, and vulnerability. For instance, taking a balloon and casting it out of bronze transforms the object that is temporary and makes it permanent. Also, the extensive process involved starts with an initial form that becomes completely lost but then undergoes its own evolution from its emergence to completion. Inherently, balloons are fragile temporary objects that exist in space only when one has the intention for them to do so. When doing this it creates a connection between the balloon and the person or thing that brought it to life. The action of blowing up a balloon, or any inflatable, I see as a process of growth, release, rebirth, and transference. Starting with breathing in which gives life then exhaling to discharge what brings us life and pass it onto something else. Humans relate to inflatables; breathing in to prime oneself, giving life, optimism, and posterity. Then exhaling, which symbolizes a release of life, coming of death. This simple performance creates a connection by relinquishing a past part of yourself and instilling it into something else that one can physically touch, see, and manipulate in space. Without the balloon as a vessel this piece of us becomes lost and completely irrelevant. By casting these objects in bronze or plaster, I am trying to monumentalize a previously temporary object that will outlive time and carry on the connection that I personally had with it.

smallville: thunder-sky, inc. 2019

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We opened our doors the first time October 2009.  This being our 10th season, we wanted to focus in on what we do and have done best.  Always going small.  That scale suits our main endeavor:  keeping Raymond Thunder-Sky in the mix as much as possible.  While his mission in life was developing his own artistic practice and living his life to pursue that unending goal, he did so in a very humble manner, without a lot of words or pomp.  He was marginal in the most magnificent way.  That’s what we strive for – the margin, on our own terms.  The shows we’ve pulled together for our 10th anniversary season exemplify beautiful stubbornness, a willingness to pursue ideas and aesthetics to wherever they need to go. “Smallville” is where Superman’s alter ego, Clark Kent, grew up. In many ways, Cincinnati was and continues to be Raymond’s Smallville. He spent many years here as an alter ego, a construction-worker by day, a dreamy-eyed clown by night secretly compiling a dossier of visions and drawings that show a Metropolis being demolished, paving the way for the ultimate Fortress of Solitude.

ART SCHOOL: Clint Bassinger, Curtis Davis, Malik Harris, Arvind Sundararajan, and Ethan Waldeck.  Opening January 5, 2019, reception 6 – 10 pm.  Show closes February 15, 2019.  Artists in high school, art school, and participating in the school of life shown side by side, with an emphasis on how practice makes perfect.

CHARLOTTESVILLE:  Thomas Condon and Charlotte McGraw.  Opening February 23, 2019, reception 6 – 10 pm.  Show closes March 30, 2019. McGraw is an artist from Columbus, Ohio who has developed a vision and style all her own; Condon lives and works here in Cincinnati, focusing on the connection between meaning and perception.  Both their works and visions help to create an alternate universe where kindness and mischief rule. 

MURDER IN A SMALL TOWN:  John Auer, Emily Brandehoff, Megan Christ, Sarah Lalley, Christian Schmit, and Evan Verrilli. Opening April 6, 2019, reception 6- 10 pm.  Show closes June 1, 2019.  The inspiration for this exhibition is drawn from the life and career of Frances Glessner Lee, who was the first female police captain in the United States and known for her painstaking construction of the Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death, a series of 20 dioramas depicting actual crime scenes.  In response to Lee’s efforts, we’ve selected 6 artists to create work that either depicts a “scene of a crime” or alludes to a crime scene.   

CALL AND RESPONSE:  Antonio Adams and John D. Ross.  Opening June 8, 2019, reception 6 – 10 pm.  Show closes July 31, 2019.  Ross is an artist living in Indianapolis; Adams is the Thunder-Sky, Inc. Artist in Residence.  They met each other recently, and now are creating works in response to each other’s oeuvre.  The resulting exhibit will focus on how aesthetics thrive in response to someone else’s impulses and inspirations.

FRONKENSTEIN:  A Retrospective of the Works of Robert Fronk.  Opening August 10, 2019, reception 6 – 10 pm.  Show closes October 4, 2019.  Fronk has had an extensive career in a variety of media and venues.  He currently lives and works in the Camp Washington area, and the exhibit will survey current works.

THE LAST PICTURE SHOW:  Dale Johnson, Carla Knopp, Brigham Martin, Zach Schwab, and Brant Withers.  Opening October 12, 2019, reception 6 – 10 pm.  Show closes December 13, 2019.  Works by a variety of artists who delve in appropriating and reconfiguring photographic works through collage, technology, and other means, each artist finding new ways to distort what some call “reality” and others call “dream” or “nightmare.”


“Jim Bowsher and the Temple of Tolerance” Is a “Breakthrough”

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Here’s a link to read the review of our current exhibit “Jim Bowsher and the Temple of Tolerance” by Steve Rosen in CITYBEAT…


A quote:

The exhibition now at Northside’s Thunder-Sky, Inc. gallery through Aug. 3 is different from shows I’ve seen there recently. Indeed, it’s different from what I’ve usually seen here at our smaller, nonprofit alternative galleries — I think it’s a breakthrough.

“Product Placement” Opens 8/11/18 at Thunder-Sky, Inc.

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We are really really excited about this gig!

Thunder-Sky, Inc. presents “Product Placement:  A Variety of Works by Kevin Cascell, John Humphries, Paul Thie, Logan Walden, and Kevin White”, opening with a reception 6 to 10 pm August 11, 2018.  The exhibit closes October 5, 2018.

All the artists in “Product Placement” have a vested interested in working through and reworking the materials and ideas they use and pursue.  The artistic products they produce vary in shapes, sizes, techniques and approaches, but they all have a playfully aesthetic sense of subject matter and style.  We’ll be honing in on all this beautiful disparity in the curating and installing of the exhibition as well, finding both themes and disjuncture among the works, in order to produce an art show that focuses in on placement just as much as product.  Should be a showstopper.

Images: Top Paul Thie, “Sex Cam,” acrylic on unstretched canvas. Bottom John Humphries, “One Harmonic Module,” watercolor and wood on paper.

“Lalley! Lalley! Lalley” Explores the Art of Family

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December 21, 2017 –  Opening January 6, 2018, with a reception 6 to 10 pm, “Lalley! Lalley! Lalley!” features the Lallley family who live in Northern Kentucky and both as a family and individually make incredible art.  The exhibit closes February 3, 2018.

According to Brian Lalley, father and husband, “People will hopefully leave the show with a great view of what it is like to live in our crazy art household!”

The artists in the show include Brian Lalley, Sarah Lalley (mother), Gavin Timmerman (17), Sage Lalley (14), Matthew Thomas (13), Jackson Lalley (6), and Ryder Lalley (6).

Says Brian, “Sarah and I produce a lot of work together very cohesively. We always try to encourage our children to participate or try things if they seem interested. Together or separate, there are always things being produced in the house.”

This show was inspired by the Lalley’s six-year-old autistic son, Ryder.  As artists themselves, Brian and Sarah are amazed at his vision of the world he lives in and the amount of work Ryder produces.  That prolificity generated the whole concept for “Lalley!” and also allowed the Lalleys to include all five of their children, who all have their own things to express as well.

“Why not give them that chance?” asks Brian.

CALL to ARTISTS: Chris Farley Tribute Show in October

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chris farley


Lay Off Me I’m Starving: Aesthetic Responses to Chris Farley opens October 14, 2017 (opening reception 6 to 10) at Thunder-Sky, Inc. Commemorating the 20th anniversary of Chris Farley’s death (12/18/1997), “Lay Off Me I’m Starving” invites artists from the region to contemplate Farley’s legacy as bombastic, slapstick clown, perennial people-pleaser, and tragic genius. On the exact date of his passing, we will be sponsoring a reading of literary works about him, as well as screen Tommy Boy, to close the show.

Type of works:  All media, whatever you come up with.   (Pictured above is a portrait of Chris, by Dion Hitchings, one of the first pieces we’ve received.)

Work drop-off:  October 7, 2017, 1 to 4 pm, Thunder-Sky, Inc. 4573 Hamilton Avenue Cincinnati, OH 45223.  PLEASE MAKE SURE you have a legible title, name of artist, and price attached to the work.

Contact: Keith (513) 515 9290 or Bill (513) 426-0477, if you want to participate, or email thunderskyinc@gmail.com


Blizzard of the Heart

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“Thunder-Snow” features artists of all kinds and backgrounds responding to the the Great Blizzard of 1978, when at least this part of the world was turned into a furious white non-universe, and somehow a coziness, even a comfort, came from that.   The show opens 1/7/17, reception 6 to 10 pm at Thunder-Sky, Inc.  One of the great aspects of the whole situation back then was a cold sense of survival kicking in, and Sharon Butler, of the Bonbonerie here in town, will be surveying that instinct through asking people to remember and write down the food they ate during the storm, when you couldn’t get out of your house to buy stuff so you had to make do with what you had…  Sharon will be cooking a show-closing dinner from all the recipes and notions she collects during show.  More on that later…  Below are works in the show.  Hope everyone can brave the January cold to come out and celebrate real cold.

Katherine Michael

Katherine Michael

Steve Paddack

Steve Paddack

Bill Ross

Bill Ross

Jesse Speight

Jesse Speight

Thunder-Sky, Inc. 2017: GROUPTHINK

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Every exhibition season we tend to choose a theme.  2017’s thematic just kind of happened accidentally, though, in a wonderful little bit of serendipity.  It turns out every exhibit people pitched to us, or we came up with on our own, is about groups of artists coming together to think and work through a variety of subjects and topics that truly reflect Mr. Thunder-Sky’s instincts and obsessions.  Enjoy…

“Thunder-Snow:  Artists Remember the Blizzard of 1978,” January 7, 2017 (opening reception 6 to 10 pm) – February 4, 2017.  Artists from across the area recover memories of the 1978 blizzard that blanketed the region, a multi-media exercise in aesthetic cabin-fever.

“Moonlight Madness,” February 11, 2017 (opening reception 6 to 10 pm) – March 31, 2017.  Curated by Thunder-Sky, Inc. Artist-in-Residence Emily Brandehoff.  Artists reclaim discarded prints and paintings (from thrift-stores and other sources) and reimagine them with their own materials and images.

“Otherwise:  Keith Benjamin, Ben Clark, and Richard Emery Nickolson” April 8, 2017 (opening reception 6 to 10 pm) – June 2, 2017.  Benjamin, a professor at the Cincinnati Art Academy, Clark, a self-taught artist from Hamilton, Ohio, and Nickolson, Professor Emeritus from Herron School of Art and Design, make works that stand alone as personal totems of moments from their lives.  Their works exhibited side by side by side reveal the poetic connections among disparate imaginations.

“Pop Press,” June 10, 2017 (opening reception 6 to 10 pm) – August 4, 2017.  Scott Bruno, Creative Director at b graphic design, has amassed a large number of interesting and bizarre news clippings and other ephemera throughout the years, including personal ads like this, “DEAR RAY, Remember our first date?  I smelled fried chicken.  I was overmedicated several months after our daughter died.  Call me, babe.”  Bruno is pairing up a select group of artists with these bits and pieces of eclectic information as prompts for a variety of works that survey strangeness by beginning with the strange.

“The Master of Loyalty Is in the Gallery Tonight:  Art about Antonio Adams,” August 12, 2017 (opening reception 6 to 10 pm) – October 6, 2017.  Pique Gallery (Covington, KY) co-owner and curator Lindsey Whittle curates works by a variety of artists inspired by local genius (and Thunder-Sky, Inc. Artist-in-Residence) Antonio Adams.

“Lay Off Me I’m Starving:  Aesthetic Reponses to Chris Farley,” October 14, 2017 (opening reception 6 to 10 pm) – December 29, 2017.  Commemorating the 20th anniversary of Chris Farley’s death (12/18/1997), “Lay Off Me I’m Starving” invites artists from the region to contemplate Farley’s legacy as bombastic, slapstick clown, perennial people-pleaser, and tragic genius.  On the exact date of his passing, we will be sponsoring a reading of literary works about him, as well as screen Tommy Boy, to close the show.

Master of Loyalty

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Outcast Poster


Thunder 006










Art Thing Master (2)


Antonio Emily




Antonio Adams has earned his status as Master of Loyalty, as you can witness from the photos above.  He has been working hard for the last 17 or so years on perfecting a body of artwork that reveals what it means to be an artist and a friend.  He’s the Artist in Residence at Thunder-Sky, Inc.  He’s the co-founder of Visionaries + Voices.  (In fact it was his brilliance and kindness and sense of duty that spawned the whole idea of an art studio specifically for self-taught artists; he drew out the initial plans, and he created the atmosphere and ethics for both Thunder-Sky, Inc. and V+V.)

Antonio’s a hard worker and a survivor and he can make art that not only reflects trials and tribulations, but that celebrates his own genius without any self-involved BS.  He is building a world inside his head and then making it happen externally through art shows and costumes and manifestos and funky parties.  He works hard at Frisch’s.  He works hard at Thunder-Sky, Inc.  He keeps Raymond Thunder-Sky’s spirit alive through practicing what he and Raymond always preached:  get a job, do it well, be kind, laugh, move forward.

Antonio’s latest gig at Thunder-Sky, Inc. opens August 26, 2016.  “Well-Known Pacifically” is the final installment of a trilogy of shows started in 2012, and is a survey of all the work he’s done in creating that trilogy, including the debut of a masterwork.  There will be red-carpet, velvet-ropes, a Tribute group show to Prince in the basement of the gallery, and some food and beverages.  6 to 10 pm reception. 

“Life on Mars” in the Basement

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Thunder-Sky, Inc. fave Emily Brandehoff is curating a big gig to go along with our April/May/June show, “Radically Visible.”  She has sent out a call to artists for “Bowie in the Basement,” which will feature over 40 artists’ renditions of what David Bowie meant to generations of people.  Obviously the show is in the basement, and during the opening April 29, 2016, we’ll be karaoking some of Bowie’s best tunes in effigy.


4573 Hamilton Avenue Cincinnati, Ohio 45223
Hours: Saturday/Sunday 1 to 4 pm, or by appointment.

(513) 426-0477 | info@raymondthundersky.org

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