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Flat Planet exhibit opens at Kortman, First Friday

DOWNTOWN — Flat Planet Press is the combined studio practice of Rockford artists Joe Tallman and Alison Weust. “Flat Planet” is also the title of their exhibition opening Friday, Feb. 2, in downtown’s Kortman Gallery.

The title is derived from the two-dimensional nature of Tallman and Weust’s work, as both artists concentrate on hand-drawn, hand-printed works on paper. The artists have found inspiration for their contemporary and retro imagery from comic books, pulp-era science fiction, hand-illustrated typography and even music—all with a graphic design sensibility.

Weust is a designer and printmaker who specializes in screen printing and photolithography.

“I’ve always worked closely with bands and musicians and look to artists like Ray Pettibon,” says Weust. “I also love the illustrator Daniel Clowes, who uses a lot of bright colors in his work and taught me that you don’t always have to use black as your darkest value. I started replacing black with dark blues or reds and I found that it makes my work much more vibrant.”

Tallman is an illustrator and screen printer who creates his art using a hybrid of traditional drawing and inking methods along with digital coloring techniques more commonly seen in modern illustration.

“I’ve always been intrigued by man’s relationship with technology in an ever-changing digital landscape,” he says. “Sci-fi illustrators like Virgil Finlay blew my mind early on, along with comic book illustrators like Dan Clowes, Charles Burns and Adrian Tomine.”

Kortman Gallery director Doc Slafkosky says the exhibit should be an entertaining and engaging art experience.

“Both Joe and Alison have a great sense of visual imagery that’s very well executed, imaginative, colorful and, most of all, fun,” said Slafkosky. “What makes their work so appealing, is their images bridge the gap between commercial illustration and fine art.”

Tallman earned his arts degree from Northern Illinois University and Weust is a recent graduate of Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. Both artists were selected as emerging artists at Rockford Art Museum’s Greenwich Village Art Fair in 2016.

“Flat Planet” featuring art works by Joe Tallman and Alison Weust opens during this week’s First Friday events, 5:30 to 9 p.m. and will be on display through March 31.

Kortman Gallery is located upstairs at J. R. Kortman Center for Design, 107 N. Main St. For more information call 815-968-0123 or visit R.

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