Designer Toys, Art & Pop Culture

Coarse Exhibit Opening Saturday, August 13

coarse - Cold Ways: Nights That Haunt the Past

We are excited to once again be collaborating with our friends Mark and Sven (and the entire coarse team) to bring you a new exhibit of their sculptures.

Join us the evening of Saturday, August 13, 7-10pm for the opening of Cold Ways: Nights That Haunt the Past, sculptures by Mark Landwehr and Sven Waschk (coarse).

Line tickets will be available to pickup at the gallery, 2780 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, starting at 11am on Saturday, and will be used to determine purchase order beginning at 7pm.

In addition to new original sculptures, Mark and Sven will be debuting two exclusive figures, an illustrated book and two new art prints. 

All releases will be available first to attendees of the opening reception. Online release will happen in the week after the opening and further details will be posted in advance, thank you for your patience.

The exhibit continues through September 11, 2016.

About the Artists

Work in the coarse world began in 2003, when German artists Mark Landwehr and Sven Waschk began developing their unique style of sculpting, which creates the illusion that they have chiseled and exposed their sculptures from three-dimensional rock.

While the underlying stories of the individual pieces vary and express themes of denial, betrayal and lies, the sculptures aim to make an impression on multiple levels. While often looking cute at first glance, a distinct silence, sadness and loneliness simultaneously convey an alternate effect. These subtle and almost shy undertones expose our souls’ vulnerability, which we so often try to conceal.

Within the last 10 years the artists have evolved, gaining international recognition and collectors all over the world. The artists focus primarily on statues that range from small to life-size and are made from resin and/or fiberglass. They are finished as single pieces or in small limitation runs and are entirely crafted by the artists themselves.

After the initial conceptual phase the artists go directly into the sculpting process. Depending on the complexity of the piece it can take months until the shape is finalized. This is followed by mould-making, casting, sanding, detailing and painting in the artists' studios. Mark Landwehr about his work for coarse: “We pay highest attention to every detail of our work in order to avoid distracting the viewer. This way people can dive into an almost surreal scenery and sense the underlying pain, sadness and loneliness of our creations. We want to create a second reality.”

Selected sculptures frequently become limited-run vinyl figure releases. Under the brand “coarse” the sculptures get distributed worldwide in award-winning packages always designed by the artists themselves.

This is the fifth coarse exhibit at Rotofugi Gallery.

Posted Aug 10, 2016 by Kirby Kerr 1

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.
Join our gallery previews email list at

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

Sign up for our gallery previews email list at


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.

Sign up for our gallery previews email list at

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
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