The artistic inspiration behind 4Frnt Studios
By Katie Anible-Modras
Since the early 90s, alternative art sub-genres began to merge and grow. As the established art world squirmed against this newly forming underground movement, alternative art developed without walls or rules.
Difficult to categorize, the underground art scene has remained fluid over the past decade. 4Frnt Studio is a prime example of this movement with its unconventional approach to making and showing art.
4Frnt Studio is located at Front Street Studios, a warehouse complex in Dayton known for its lively art culture. Starting in 2008, the gallery went by the name C2 Gallery as an open studio project with Christ Cathedral of downtown Dayton, under the stewardship of Pastor Liz Stutzman.
Power officially passed from Stutzman’s hands to her brother-in-law Jeff Richards’ to run the studio about a year into the operation. Richards took full advantage of the opportunity and began to draw a tight group of eclectic artists from Dayton’s underground art scene into the studio’s circle. By September 2010, the gallery came into its own, along with its new name and official lineup.
The 4Frnt artists share common pop culture influences such as comic books, horror flicks, sci-fi and anime, toys and cartoons with artistic influences including Maxfield Parrish, MC Escher, Norman Rockwell, Roy Lichtenstein, Alfonse Mucha, Pusshead and Robert Williams. They share a strong passion for the use of shared workspace and the organization of group art shows.
“I prefer the group showing because I like the fact that there are very talented artists in the area,” explained Richards. “They usually raise the bar high and that influences me to get better, discovering new techniques.”
4Frnt has become well known over the years for organizing extremely compelling group shows with themes like “Masters of the Universe,” “Star Wars,” “Back From the Dead,” “Urban Handmade” and “Inch by Inch” – a showcase of tiny pieces of artwork. The public response to such a display of artistic innovation and the general atmosphere of unrestricted fun and creativity has been profound.
Each artist, from a young age dedicated themselves openly to their craft, paving the way for the future.
“I remember as a child in the Philippines, at 5 years old or so, drawing on the pavement with my cousins and stealing chalk from the local school just to draw.”His youthful experiences would serve as a sound premonition of his future endeavors. It was soon after that young Richards arrived stateside and began to discover that his artistic talents exceeded those of his peers. Richards now works as a graphic artist and illustrator, and is an accomplished sculptor. His sphere of experience seems to expand right along with his infectious passion.
“I remember there was a kid in our neighborhood who was terrorizing the other kids with a BB gun and the way I dealt with the fear of being shot was to draw a picture of him in jail,” said Goad. “I just remember, in that situation, any fear I had associated with being shot going away once I finished that picture and showed it to people.”
Jason Goad, now a career illustrator and artist, continued to express himself in the visual medium, progressing and honing his craft. He now nears his 10-year career mark as a professional artist with a reflective posture, humble, with a desire to continue to grow in his field of expression.
“My mom, I guess, noticed that I had some sort of art talent and put me into art classes,” said Guidone. “So I guess, in a way, my mom really got me started. Thanks, Mom.”
Mike Guidone fully embraced his talents, developing into an adept tattoo artist as well as an achieved fine art painter. He went on to become the owner and operator of Monkey Bones Tattoo in Beavercreek.
Tabitha Peters Guidone
“My mom was our Girl Scout troop leader from first through sixth grade and we learned how to make every type of basket under the sun,” Peters Guidone said. “The experience made me really familiar with using different types of craft supplies.”
Mike’s wife makes up the fourth wall of the 4Frnt Studio. A crafter and artist herself, she creates a warm and welcoming atmosphere in the studio environment.
Above all, 4Frnt Studio radiates the desire to support the community by being an advocate for underground/lowbrow artists encouraging each other. The four pillars of the studio continue on the path of the Front St. artists before them, making artistic dreams become reality.
4Frnt Studio will be open on April 30 from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. for the “Art of the In-sect” group show at Front Street Studios, 1001 E. Second St., A-B door, Unit 2000. Live music by DJ Jonathon Missall; refreshments provided. Donations will be warmly accepted. For more information and a full list of featured artists, visit 4Frnt Studios on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pages/4frnt-Studio.
Reach DCP freelance writer Katie Anible-Modras at KatieAnibleModras@daytoncitypaper.com.