Michael Owens

An Ohio artist has gone national with his vivid and colorful works. Michael Owens of Columbus signed with 10% Productions out of Los Angeles last year to have his kaleidoscopic and satirical art appear on greeting cards, calendars and other items to be distributed all over the country.

Owens, who is based in Westerville, has made his mark in the art world by cartooning in the style of luminaries like Roy Lichtenstein and pop art guru Andy Warhol. His technique is refined and beautiful, and his subject matter is quirky, quixotic and sometimes queer. His art openly embraces gay subject matter and his cartoons lampoon not only the world of straight cartooning, but queer life as well.

Although his cartooning work is derived from experiences other people have had, he reluctantly admits that some of works are based on events from his own life. "I like to look at life in a skewed way and always with a bit of cynicism," he says. "I am not jaded about relationships, but it always amazes me how much drama comes with them sometimes."

Owens has also started to branch out into the world of abstract paintings, creating mostly large color field works that are simple yet enticing. "I had toyed with the idea of doing abstract art a few years ago," he says, "but it never happened until recently and I have been amazed by the response I have received" Owens says he likes abstractions because, as opposed to the meticulous art of cartooning, he "can let lose of the control" with these new works. What emerges in this process with the abstractions are "surprises" as he "works and reworks the paintings over and over."

The future looks vibrant and busy for Owens. This summer - for the third year in a row - he will design the artwork for Stonewall Columbus' Pride Festival. He has also recently been commissioned by City Year to create a large work for their big fundraiser later this year. Various galleries, restaurants and coffee shops throughout the city display Owens' art, and with the deal he has been getting from 10% Productions, he has received the national attention he so rightly deserves.

Owens' cards and magnets are currently available at An Open Book in the Short North and at other stores across the state. His merchandise can also be found online at www.10percent.com