MadKnits Hosts 'Monster Mania' at Urban Orchid

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With all the anxiety and anticipation surrounding this month’s Republican National Convention, an exhibition entitled Monster Mania at a flower shop sounds like a welcome relief — or par for the course, depending on your outlook. This month, Urban Orchid’s Hingetown location hosts the work of both local and visiting artists from throughout the East Coast. Monster Mania opens with a reception from 7 to 10 p.m. this Friday, July 8. Join the artists for refreshments and entertainment.

Hosted by Kailtlin Juarez of MadKnits, the exhibition is the first of a new series of exhibitions hosted by Urban Orchid. Monster Mania includes work by Claire Conolley, Kaitlin Juarez, Jeff Ritchie (Fredpaints), Elizabeth Siegel (Tofu Squirrel), J Spencer Shull (Jellykoe) and Justin Michael Will.

“This will be the first group show that Urban Orchid has hosted, and I think we have it set up to be a pretty awesome experience,” Juarez says. 

Originally from Cleveland, Juarez spent several years living and working in Rhode Island before recently returning to Cleveland. Juarez credits comic conventions for her initial success with art.

“For a lot of the artists this will be the first time that they have shown in the Cleveland/Ohio area," Juarez says. "I lived in Providence, Rhode Island, for several years while I established my business and worked the Comic-Con scene. While there, I made some amazing connections with some super talented and wonderful people and I am stoked beyond belief to have the opportunity to curate and participate in this show here in Hingetown/Ohio City. It has given me an amazing opportunity to bring some of my favorite artists from the East Coast together with some of the spectacular art makers that I have met here in Cleveland. There is such a wealth of talent in Cleveland and such an amazing work ethic, I am so glad to call this place my home again.”

Juarez’s MadKnits are handmade plush monsters, each with unique character traits and features. With careful attention to detail, Juarez gives each creation its own individuality.

“The MadKnits creatures are a ragtag group of alien space explorers that have crashed their ship into our planet and have since made it their home,” Juarez explains. "I got into making monsters through the designer toy movement that is sweeping comic-cons and art galleries. Designer toys tend to be high end, limited edition or one-of-a-kind plush, resin, or vinyl toys that come from a single maker. The MadKnits are very character driven, each one having a unique backstory and history often tied closely into the environment.”

Stop by Urban Orchid and meet Juarez and her MadKnits, as well as the other artists and their “monsters.” The exhibition will remain on view through early September.

(Urban Orchid) 1455 W. 29th St., 216-785-3618, theurbanorchid.com

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