Designer Toys, Art & Pop Culture

Reasonable Expectations by Jay Ryan

Reasonable Expectations
New Works by Jay Ryan
July 8-August 7, 2016

Join us the evening of Friday, July 8, 7-10pm for the opening of a new main gallery exhibit by Chicago-based artist Jay Ryan, plus works by Ben Chlapek (Never Sleeping).

Jay Ryan is a Chicago-based illustrator and musician. He learned to screenprint beginning in 1995, working with Steve Walters at Screwball Press. In 1999, Jay started The Bird Machine print shop, making posters for bands around the world.

This is Jay's fourth exhibit at Rotofugi Gallery after previous exhibits in 2010, 2011 and 2014. We're super excited and honored to be hosting Jay in our gallery again.

Joining Jay in the main gallery is Ben Chlapek (aka Never Sleeping). Ben is a freelance illustrator/designer/printer located in Chicago, IL. Most of his work is created with pen and ink on paper, then sometimes manipulated slightly and colored digitally to produce the desired result. Ben enjoys old signs painted by hand, club soda and analog audio recording techniques.
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Posted Jun 27, 2016 by Kirby Kerr 0

Magical Girls by Brett Manning

Magical Girls
New Works by Brett Manning
July 8-August 7, 2016

Join us the evening of Friday, July 8, 7-10pm for the opening of a side gallery exhibit by Indiana-based artist Brett Manning.

We're excited to share this wonderful collection of paintings and prints with you from a talented new addition to our roster of exhibiting artists.

Here's some words from Brett about the exhibit:

I created this group of work based on real people I know, admire, or see online almost everyday. These girls range in exceptional talents; some are painters, musicians, teachers, or fashionable in unique and inspiring ways, and others are just kind, commendable souls who encourage me and others to keep creating. Magical Girls do what they want and live to spread positivity. They are open minded, humble, and seek no approval. They are kind to each other, but also have the strength and wisdom to know when and when not to fight.

The girls I have drawn and painted have been elevated to magic wielding super humans. They might be awkward, eat all the cupcakes, drink too much coffee, have crooked smiles, be shy to a fault, or trip over their own feet, but they all harbor something immensely powerful and otherworldly within. 

This collection was also heavily inspired by my love of anime, especially Sailor Moon and her fantastic, supportive squad of scouts. Mixing all that with vibrant pastel colors, patterns, and subtle symbolism developed from my own personal mythologies, this series has a very dream-like, idealist, and undoubtably sentimental feeling. But for me, sentiment, passion, and intimacy are themes I enjoy depicting. They are also themes that tend to be bashed for being "too feminine" or having no place in the world of "high art" … and that's exactly why I strive to paint them. 

This collection is dedicated to all the real life Magical Girls in the world.

– Brett Manning, 2016

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Posted Jun 27, 2016 by Kirby Kerr 0

Slothie Yarnies Sewing Workshop

Ever wanted to learn how to make your own plush toys? Join us the afternoon of Saturday, July 9th, 12 Noon to 2:30pm for the Slothie Yarnie Sewing Workshop!

Your $30 entry fee includes all materials needed to make your very own plush Slothie plus instruction by Yarnies creator Mikey Anderson. Come in empty handed and leave with your very own handmade plush sloth! No sewing experience necessary. Kids and adults welcome!

Space is limited to 12 students, sign up now to reserve a space!

Posted Jun 15, 2016 by Kirby Kerr 0

Nihon Dream by Jeremiah Ketner

Nihon Dream

Nihon Dream
New Works by Jeremiah Ketner
June 10-July 3, 2016 in the Rotofugi Main Gallery

Join us the evening of Friday, June 10, 7-10pm for the opening reception of Nihon Dream, New Works by Jeremiah Ketner. We'll have snacks, beverages and music by DJ Sean Doe and the artist will be in attendance to chat with fans.

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About the Artist

Jeremiah Ketner's paintings are instantly recognizable amongst his contemporaries in the pop surrealism movement. His early work, characterized by mischievous sprites and whimsical patterns, has evolved into lush, richly colored environments inhabited by a cast of pensive, dreamy young women. Each character presents a unique brand of beauty, created entirely within Jeremiah's imagination and painted completely from memory.

The sprites (which grace the walls of Nordstrom department stores nationwide) still appear as inspiration for custom wooden and vinyl toys. Bringing a three-dimensional surface to life is one of Jeremiah's favorite challenges; the intricate, colorful one-of-a-kind creatures are immensely popular amongst his collectors. 

Beyond the designer toy phenomenon, other aspects of Japanese culture — the fabrics and motifs, the meticulous taming of and tending to nature — provide an ever-flowing spring of insight, and Jeremiah travels there as often as possible. "I love the gardens," he says. "They do an amazing job of taking a small space and making it feel like a large environment." 

During one trip to Tokyo he observed, "Design in Japan is small and round," which became his mantra of sorts, an enigmatic interpretation of his overall aesthetic. "It loosely describes work from long ago, but I guess it's more of a pen name," says Jeremiah, whose Internet-savvy fans know to look for his "smallandround" persona for frequent updates and photographs of new art.

Jeremiah's pop culture-inspired style and unconventional creations have a traditional foundation. With his family's encouragement, he began formal art studies at the age of 12. He holds a BFA from Columbus College of Art and Design and an MFA from Southern Illinois University. Jeremiah's paintings and toys have been featured in solo and group exhibitions galleries across North America and internationally. 

Posted May 27, 2016 by Kirby Kerr 0

Return to Carrara by Noferin


Return to Carrara
New Works by Noferin
June 10-July 3, 2016 in the Rotofugi Side Gallery

Join us the evening of Friday, June 10, 7-10pm for the opening reception of Return to Carrara, New Works by Noferin. We'll have snacks, beverages and music by DJ Sean Doe.

Sign up for our gallery previews email list at

About the Artists

Noferin (Candy and Nick Robertson) are a wife-and-husband team who love to create. From whimsical paintings, drawings, design and art direction, to writing and illustrating children’s books, Candy and Nick’s creations come in many forms.

Their distinctive style of art and design has led them to exhibit in leading galleries through the USA, Canada and Australia. Their artwork and toy designs have been features in numerous publications such as Hello Kitty, Hello Art (Abrams), Pictoplasma, The Garden of Eye Candy, The Sourcebook of Contemporary Illustration (Collins Design), Dpi, Monument, Hi-Fructose and Juxtapoz; are sold in museums, galleries and pretty shops; and have also been featured alongside Hello Kitty, Hot Wheels and on TV commercials for Orville Redenbacher Popcorn and the NFL.

Candy and Nick live amongst tall trees, hidden valleys and treasure-filled beaches on the Mornington Peninsula, Australia. They make most of their creations in the cooler months.


Posted May 27, 2016 by Kirby Kerr 0
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