Last week, we put out a call to our audience to share some of the positive results from the COVID-19 pandemic, in the form of projects they’ve completed this year.
Initially, we received just one response: a wonderful still life on canvas from a budding 14-year-old artist.
That got the ball rolling, and we’re pleased to share some more great pandemic projects being worked on by your fellow Northeast Ohioans.
“Stealth Hammer” by Ryan Drost
Ryan Drost, from Strongsville, said he is a longtime comic book reader and has even hosted a podcast for the last 10 years focusing on comic books and pop culture.
For the past two years, he has been working with artists and creators to create his own superhero comic, titled “Stealth Hammer” and inspired by his wife. While he had an unsuccessful Kickstarter campaign for the comic last year, he launched one again this summer and surpassed his goal, receiving over $10,000 from his backers.
He said he is now two-thirds through completion of art for the origin issue, and once completed, it will go to a printer and will be distributed to his backers. From there, he hopes to put together a comic pitch packet to shop around to publishers, and maybe turn “Stealth Hammer” into a full comic series. Drost says he has many more stories to tell.
“The elevator pitch is that it's a college girl who finds herself with superhero powers and part of a legacy of protectors in a world of high tech gadgetry and supernatural mythology,” Drost said in an email. “To relate it to thing comic fans may know, it's like Ms. Marvel meets Iron Fist and Invisible Woman in a world of Mega Man meets Thor.”
Drost said the comic is intended for anyone of any age to pick up and enjoy.
“The spirit of the character is she is someone who never believes in giving up. In fact her tagline is ‘That's not how this story ends,’ which is an actual line my wife has used in life,” he said.
Jennifer Cox’s “Gnomekins”
Jennifer Cox, from Kent, has also seen success from a pet project she has put work into during the coronavirus pandemic.
Cox said she and a friend took part in a virtual watercolor painting class one evening. At the end of the class, the instructor did a quick bonus painting of a gnome, and Cox tried it out as well.
“That is where things took off in a whole new direction,” Cox said in an email.
The next morning, she woke up with the images and stories of five more gnomes in her head, and immediately sat down to paint them. She ended up painting gnomes all day and ended up with more than a dozen — each with their own personalities and backstories.
One day turned into several more of non-stop painting and meeting Cox’s new gnome friends. To date, she’s introduced more than 75 gnomes to the world, with new ones still popping into her head.
“They make me smile as I meet them!” Cox said. “I am not an artist, I have never been able to draw, I have never painted before, at least not from scratch, starting with a blank piece of paper in front of me.”
Her friends have inspired some more ideas for the Gnomekins, including an ABC book and another children’s book about a gnome that raises dragonflies.
Some of her friends have asked to buy these adorable drawings, so Cox even created a website to sell Gnomekin greeting cards, and to tell the many stories of these cute bearded fellows.
“This whole experience has been wonderfully strange - fun, curious, immensely fun, and even ridiculous…” Cox said. “’Sorry Honey, I’m still making gnomekins... You are on your own for dinner. Will you bring me something too?’ Thank goodness the kids are grown and out of the house and that the husband is such a wonderful man!”
You can see more of Cox’s Gnomekins and order your own Gnomekin greeting cards on her website here.
Tom Bollinger's garden
Tom Bollinger, from Elyria, replied to our Facebook post with a picture of a garden he worked on this summer.
"Best garden I've ever had!" he said. "This was mid June at my dads farm. Planted on May 3rd and snowed on later that week yet it still came up! I plant this garden in memory of my grandmother every year and try to add some different plants."
Leslie Kursh’s art projects
Leslie Kursh from Concord Township has been busy making a variety of fun, cute, wonderful and inspiring art pieces during the pandemic.
Kursh said the witches, bugs and flowers below were made from old cabinet knobs, scrap wood, plastic spoons and other materials lying around.
Kursh rescued and restored a rocking chair from her friend’s backyard.
She created a replica model of a garage that she gifted to one of her Instagram followers.
Kursh also sent a photo of a work in progress: a portrait of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.
You can see more of Kursh's work on her Instagram page here.
Kursh said, “Sending you these photos not to call attention to myself, but because your article made me smile and I wanted you to know that I’m grateful for people like you who recognize the need for more positivity and creativity.”
We’re grateful for you Leslie, as well as Jennifer, Tom and Ryan for showing their positivity and creativity at a time where it is desperately needed.
Let’s keep this going! We’d love to see more of these wonderful pandemic projects – email firstname.lastname@example.org to share yours, and encourage your creative friends to do the same.