words and photos by Courtney Malita

“Bits & Pieces: The Illustration of Red Nose Studio” is the new exhibition at the Emily Davis Gallery in the Myers School of Art at the University of Akron. It reveals the unique process and artwork of Chris Sickels. His work blends and provides all forms of artwork like sculpture, photography, animation and digital and traditional illustration techniques.

The exhibition features a collection of 3D sculptures, sets, sketchbooks and prints along with work from his most recent project, “Time Pieces.”

Chris Sickels is the creator behind Red Nose Studio, which is based out of his home in Greenfield, Ind. “Time Pieces” is a personal project for the studio in which sculptures/puppets sets tell the story of “Tudalou,” a character created by Sickles and his daughter.

Sickles says the story behind “Time Pieces” is about “wanderlust, friendship, and realizing who is with you for the long haul.”

A lot of Sickels’s work consists of personal narratives and characters. But he also works with companies and magazines like The New Yorker, Random House Books, Scholastic, Target and Pepsi on children’s books and ad campaigns.

When you walk into the exhibition, you will find that a lot Sickels’s art pieces are made from simple everyday objects. Most of sculpture pieces are made with polymer clay, plastic, wire, copper and fabric. Some of the pieces are built with matchboxes and cereal boxes and things you may not find in most art. It seems that the process comes down to working with what you’ve got.

Sickles is currently the Myers Forum visiting artist in residence and is conducting a class with associate professor Dave Szalay called “Explorations in Visual Narrative.” The course focuses on the development of narratives and illustrating them through various forms.

When asked the story behind the name Red Nose Studio, Arnold Tunstall, director of The Emily Davis Gallery, explained that name derived from a critique Sickels received. Someone said he would have to change his characters because they all had red noses. Instead, Sickels decided to embrace that and incorporate into his art.

Some of the pieces and sculptures that really stood out to people and was the set called “Time Pieces” and  a man that has a pencil for a hand. Come by to check out these unique eclectic pieces.

The exhibition will be on exhibit in the Emily Davis Gallery until Feb. 1.

Bits & Pieces: The Illustration of Red Nose Studio is on exhibit until Feb. 1 at the Emily Davis Gallery, which is open Monday – Friday from 10 am – 5 pm.

Chris Sickles will be giving an artist talk on Thursday, Jan. 24 at 6 pm.

Courtney Malita is a senior at the University of Akron studying psychology and philosophy. She enjoys longboarding and skateboarding, art and photography.

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