Art Hop – a hot time in the Old Town

by MAX BENNETT

Art took over Takoma Park this past weekend, with artists exhibiting the work in stores across town.

Artists had the chance to sell their work to locals out of the stores. Storefronts marked with signs and balloons drew in buyers.

Whether they sought paintings, photos, or more abstract mixed-media works, Art Hop attendees had a huge assortment of styles and mediums to choose from.

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Kristen Dill

Kristen Dill is a local graphic designer with a passion for gardening. She makes greeting cards featuring typical garden fare.

“I thought the garden needed a little bit more laughter,” she said. “So I made these irreverent garden cards.”

The cards feature elegant designs that are juxtaposed by pithy quips such as “your pears are juicy,” and “I like my kale bushy.”

Dill has been successful in selling her cards at festivals like the Art Hop.

“This is my creative outlet and this is my creative side coming out.”

Dill’s display was set up in ACE Hardware.

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Steven Robinson

Another unique display was by Steven Robinson of Silver Spring.

Robinson uses paper to create aspects of nature, both flora and fauna.

His display in the NatureLab featured frogs, turtles and lizards, all made from paper printed with leaves on them.

Robinson’s process includes gathering leaves then photographing them. He then manipulates the photos to find other images he thinks he can work with.

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Art Hop’s free trolley.

He then manipulates the paper, cutting and molding it into the pieces that build his works.

“The whole menagerie, including the turtle and the lizard and the frog, the flowers, took about a year and three months,” he said.

Robinson said he works on his art during the weekends in his free time.

“From Friday night until late Sunday night I’m in the studio,” he said.

Robinson said he’s been making 3D paper art for about 13 years.

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Selena Malott

Selena Malott shared her photography in Capital City Cheesecake.

“I’m a graphic designer by trade, and I introduced photography into my business about five years ago and I realized that I have a real love for it.”

Malott said photography is now about 50 to 60 percent of her business.

Photos of her son, Europe, and rustic settings come on wood, aluminum, and canvas.

One photo of a barn interior was printed on reclaimed barn wood.

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JoJo Fekwa

At the Takoma Metro underpass, JoJo Fekwa spread his paintings out for everyone to see.

Fekwa, an immigrant from Cameroon who came to the US 10 years ago, has been painting for 28 years.

“Life,” he said when asked what his inspiration is. “Everyday experiences”

Fekwa has traveled all over the country to showcase his art.

“People are very supportive,” he said. “Washington is not really art-y, but people are getting into art now more than before.”

Fekwa is a full-time artist and sells his paintings regularly to buyers all over the world.

“I’ve been blessed to sell a painting every two days or three days and be able to survive.”

He’s been selling art for 15 years.

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Lauren Kotkin

Lauren Kotkin’s display on the walls of SiTea Tean and Spice Boutique was her ode to her favorite publication: the Washington Post.

“I read the paper edition every morning with my coffee and I feel like I know the journalists and the photographers personally because I read their work everyday,” she said.

Her small pieces represent different sections of the paper.

For example, letters to the editor are represented by the “Banners Yet Wave” piece. It’s red, white and blue with first lines from various letters to the editor included in the piece.

Kotkin’s work all features clippings from the Post.

She has worked in paper for about 6 years and got inspired when she looked at a stack of old Post editions waiting to be recycled.

“I thought, ‘that’s paper, and I love that paper, and I’m passionate about that paper,’” she said.

Kotkin was a seamstress for many years and was always cutting and working with the paper came naturally.

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Judybeth Greene

Judybeth Greene’s work focused on her diet soda obsession.

Her pieces have subtle humor making fun of the advertising often used by large companies.

Greene was wearing one of her pieces, a dress with a bustier made of diet Pepsi and diet Coke labels.

Most of the pieces are on clothing for children, which emphasize her message of a diet-addicted culture that often targets young people.

Greene also premiered a video about diet soda addiction at MamaSita Studio. The video shows her opening and drinking a diet soda then checking her weight on a scale, only to be let down by the numbers she sees.

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Saturday closed with a fire show by DC’s Dance Afire.

The fire dancers wowed the crowd at the Gazebo Patio with flaming swords, fire breathing, and a tuba that shot flames from its horn.

The Art Hop pairs local artists with local businesses. The two-day exhibits bring attention to both artists and businesses.

About the Author

Max Bennett
Max Bennet is from Sayre, Pa. He earned his bachelors degree in English from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania in 2011. After graduating he worked as a copy editor and sports stringer for the Morning Times in Sayre. He currently is working towards a masters degree in journalism at University of Maryland, College Park.