By NICOLE HENNESSY, Westlife
ROCKY RIVER – A vampire lovingly hugging a stunned teddy bear; happy little witches flying on broomsticks; a jack-o-lantern car on pink-frosted donut wheels howling down the road, navigated by a pile of cute but menacing bats, eyes glowing yellow.
Angela Oster’s delicate and expressive creepy characters are perfect for Halloween. Or all year long.
When she’s not painting and drawing, the Rocky River artist and Parma native works part-time at Ohio Citizen Action, which organizes and mobilizes people to advocate for social justice and public interest campaigns. Her unique artwork has become a recognizable throughout Northeast Ohio and nationally. She sends little monsters and prints out all over through her etsy.com shop: anjelajoyoster.
Making use of a rare space that isn’t political or tense, Oster said she hopes her artwork brings joy. At art festivals throughout the region, she’s watched, amused, as customers flipped through her prints, seeing parts of themselves in her monsters and ghouls, or just smiling as they browse through her endless catalogue.
“I want to delight,” Oster said. “I want people to laugh, and be delighted, and be entertained, in a way. Maybe a little appalled sometimes,” she laughed.
Her website bio on angelaoster.com says she haunts Rocky River. Along with her husband, who’s also an artist, and their daughter. Oster studied at the Cleveland Institute of art. Her spooky bats and ladies are hard not to fall in love with.Read more
Angela Oster described a visit to the cemetery with her mother and a friend of the family, who was an amateur photographer. The idea was to shoot some film. As the women traipsed the graveyard, Oster's mother turned to look for her daughter and recalled finding her tap dancing on a grave. Cute and spooky—quite evidently—is a thread that has been running through the Ohio-based artist's life for some time, and it’s something she chases in her ethereal works of art, a selection of which will be on display at Stranger Factory in Oster's most recent exhibition, The Lady is a Vamp, which opens on Oct. 6.
“My goal,” Oster said of her works—largely pencil and ink drawings, filled in with gauche and day-glo paint, “is to tell a story or see how I could make somebody laugh with just the minimal amount of marks on the page.” And so, wispy vampires glower from their frames, delicate monsters languish across fainting couches and all manner of vampy creatures march across the body of Oster's work. “Spooky and cute, yes, that's the sweet spot,” Oster affirmed as we spoke over the phone. “I want it to be both of those things at the same time. They're not scary, they're just slightly creepy.”
It's a style that took Oster awhile to settle upon—despite her childhood predilection for grave dancing and a local late night horror showcase called “The Big Chuck and Little John Show” that aired old monster movies. While as a child she frequently drew “things with giant eyes … [and] little ghosts that had sharp teeth” a tenure at art school shifted her focus to different art practices. “I was into the whole cerebral art theory kind of stuff—performance art, digital media and all that. Then, I got out of art school and I got away from that kind of built-in audience that you have there, and I didn't make anything for a long time,” she explained.
What galvanized Oster's work in illustration was the discovery of several Instagram accounts, and specifically Mab Graves' (@mabgraves) Drawlloween Club, which challenges artists to create supernatural drawings for each day in October. Several years ago, Oster committed herself to completing the challenge. “I found this group of people on Instagram that were very encouraging and they were a bunch of cheerleaders. This all came about through that, finding other people that like the same stuff that I do,” she explained, and by connecting with like-minded artists, she was able to allow herself to pursue the kind of art she had long wanted to make. “I realized I just wanted to draw cartoons, and I gave myself permission to do that and not feel like I had to have some big reason behind it.”Read more
by Dott von Schneider, Cleveland Scene Magazine
Walking into the Derek Hess Gallery, we are privy to the unpacking of artwork for the Acting Out! exhibition comprising more than 30 local and national artists who have been diagnosed with or have been affected by mental illness and addiction. Derek Hess, who opened up to the world about his struggles with addiction and bipolar disorder through his autobiographic film, Forced Perspective, is on the front lines of bringing awareness and resources to Cleveland during his four-day Acting Out! festival. Along with long-time business partner Marty Geramita and marketing and events promotion powerhouse Angie Hetrick, he has pulled together a compelling lineup of emerging and established artists.
While the artwork in this exhibition is thematically heavy, its duty, as with all art, is to open up a dialogue between the work and the viewer. Here's a preview of some of the pieces.Read more
by Josh Usmani, Cleveland Scene
The latest event at Canopy is part art exhibition, part fashion show. Bats in my Bouffant features collaborative works by visual artist and illustrator Angela Oster and textile artist Krista Tomorowitz. Opening with a reception from 6 to 10 p.m. on June 30, Bats in my Bouffant showcases garments crafted by Tomorowitz using sheer silk chiffon, hand-painted or printed with imagery by Oster. The silk used to create the clothing features Oster’s drawings and paintings repeated to create unique patterns.Read more
By Anne Nickoloff, Cleveland Plain Dealer
Jan. 25, 2017
If your goal for the new year is to get a little more cultured, why not follow these 29 Cleveland artists on Instagram?
Oster creates strangely cute (and slightly creepy) ornaments and sculptures.
Follow @osterjoy here.
The Cincy Comicon brought hundreds of comic book fans, artists, writers and enthusiasts to the Northern Kentucky Convention Center Sept. 9-11, but it also provided a huge platform for local entrepreneurs.
The Cincy Comicon was created in 2014 by four friends and longtime veterans of conventions with the mission of returning to the roots of a comic convention: comic books.
Smith was also there for one of the same reasons Angela Oster, a Cleveland-based artist, was: to find an audience.
Oster is an artist and illustrator who was also debuting her first comic: "Little Vampire Girl." She had been to different art events throughout the Cleveland area and as far South as Dayton, but the Cincy Comicon was her first comic convention.
'I like to draw things that are weird and funny and cute,' she told me. 'I wanted to find people who like the same kind of weird. I wanted to find my tribe.'"Read more