Of Creation: George Shively at Cafe 116
Open to interpretation and simply worthy of the public’s admiration, George Shively’s art displayed at Cafe 116 is experimental and telling of his lifelong maturation process in art.
Until the end of this month, Shively’s colorful and abstract artwork, titled “Of Creation,” will hang on the walls of the quaint coffee shop on Lithia Way in Ashland. Though the northeastern Ohio native considers himself a young artist, his history with art spans a lifetime. “A long time ago, about 66 years ago as a little six year old,” he says. “I just had to manipulate with my crayons. I just had to do anything––circles, squares, flowers, some of my model airplanes”
He grew as an artist from elementary school through college, but his abstract voice didn’t come until later. All the while he taught art for about 30 years. “I did not mature as an artist right after art school.” It took him some time to identify his style. “I loved nature and doing representational animals and butterflies and old dilapidated barns. Flash forward to about the mid-90s, I was at that time teaching high school in northeastern Ohio, and one day I thought, ‘What would happen if I screwed around with these materials?’ I really liked what was happening.”
What was happening was moving from oils to pastels, because the tools were more immediate. “A lot of times to get the maximum impact, halfway through I turn it sideways or upside down, and I’ll go in either with my elbow, or the heel of my hand, or knuckles,” he says. “There’s a lot of experimenting.”
When it comes to deciding on a theme for each exhibit, Arts Coordinator for Cafe 116, Agent, and Mobile Gallery Director Theresa Ackerson says, “We try to focus in on what the person is doing. “Any time I’ve worked with anyone, they’re always creating. They never stop. If an artist stops, they become stagnant. While I’ve been working with George, he’s been making changes. It’s a never ending story.”
Ackerson has been selling and representing artists for 41 years, and is honored to be able coordinate art events at Cafe 116. “I feel very strongly about this atmosphere, because it’s a very inviting atmosphere,” she expresses.
“We wanted art on our walls,” says one of the owners of Cafe 116 Dena Vancantfort. “We wanted a way to give back to [the] artists’ community for a place for them to showcase their work.” Even more, 10 percent of every piece sold is donated to Ashland High Arts Advocates to support children and the arts.
“Of Creation” at Cafe 116
7:30 am – 3 pm, daily
116 Lithia Way, Ashland
Credit: George Shively