GSU student brings city art to the’ Boro

Kimeko McCoy

The menacing purple villain looking over Georgia Southern University that has captured the attention of students passing by will be in the upcoming “Narrowing the Margin” exhibit.

Julian Strayhorn, masters of fine arts candidate, will have his unique brand of mixed media artwork showcased in the Center for Art and Theatre from Nov. 15 through Dec. 15.

“It started off as my interrogation of the idea of blackness in the superhero comic-book genre, and what I was trying to figure out is- what are these very specific archetypes that are so present in comic books?” Strayhorn said.

Strayhorn’s “Narrowing the Margin” exhibit features comic book imagery works that delve into the characteristics and traits of race and identity. The idea started when Strayhorn took the class works on and off paper and began working with the idea of scale.

“Often times these characters in comic books are presented at six-by-nine inches and what I wanted to do was create these larger-than-life images,” Strayhorn said.

There are over four of these larger-than-life images perched on the walls of the “Narrowing the Margin” exhibit and covering the grey concrete near the CAT and Carroll building.

“I said artwork, public venue, let’s go with this,” Strayhorn said. “I definitely set my goals really high after this. I was like, I need places, I need places. I need murals to put this in.”

To give the images their towering size, Strayhorn used a variety of tools to create them using a tile format.  He printed the images with a large printer and put them on wooden panels using wheat paste, Technobond and acrylic gloss.

After putting the layers together to create the artwork, he employed other artists and passersby to really bring the comic book style to life.

“Once I got the plywood, I said to myself, ‘Okay. Let’s add a layer of graffiti.’ A lot of this is not all me. There were random people coming up and I would ask questions to them like ‘Would you like to do some graffiti?’” Strayhorn said.

Strayhorn’s exhibit is a part of the requirement of the fine arts masters degree and CAT gallery director, Marc Mitchell, was willing to lend a helping hand to Strayhorn’s vision.

“I’ve had him in a couple of classes in the past, but I was just there to help him execute his gallery execution,” Mitchell said. “His exhibition is great. It’s really engaging and interesting. I love the fact that he has artwork inside the gallery.”

The exhibit is free and open to the public and Mitchell hopes everyone gets the chance to experience the “Narrowing the Margin” exhibit.

Mitchell said, “He has artwork here. He has artwork downtown. I think this is a wonderful opportunity for everyone to see what he does.”