Over the past year (June 2013-2014), Minneapolis-based painter/graphic designer Michael Cina and New York-based photographer John Klukas have collaborated across mediums of painting and photography to produce 20+ new works, resulting in an undefinable medium that can only be described as digitally hand-crafted. These works combine the artistic visions of both artists and their personal understanding of what it means to pass through chaos and be reinvented. The exhibit also represents an exploration of what is possible through collaboration, combining the mediums and perspectives of two unique artists into one. With Klukas in New York and Cina in Minnesota, the process of their collaboration was facilitated by technology yet authentic in its craftsmanship. Klukas began by photographing paint-drenched models in stark black and white at his New York studio. Cina then created abstract paintings, scanned them and deconstructed each layer to be a movable brush stroke applied in the digital realm. Over a year’s time, the two artists passed these photographs and paintings back and forth over the internet, tweaking, shifting and perfecting–which often resulted in massive, multi-layered files spanning up to 20GB in size. Every stroke, fine line and texture added a subtle yet extremely thoughtful enhancement to a stunning final product. Each piece has been hand-embellished as well, rendering every piece truly one-of-a-kind.

Titled She Who Saw The Deep, the body of work pulls inspiration from the psychological journey taken in the Epic of Gilgamesh where the hero passes through the absolute darkness of grief, fear and death to be reborn into the light. The heroine in this tale begins with an abyss inside.  It quickly breaks loose and she is consumed in her darkness.  Bound by her anguish, she can only claw away at the pitch.  But even in the suffocating depths, color and beauty spring forth.   Just as the nothingness extinguishes the last flicker of light and she succumbs, falling to the ground, all of creation spills forth from her open mouth. The resulting works in this exhibit are both a visual and conceptual interpretation of this classic and universal human story.

Michael Cina is an artist and designer living in Minneapolis, MN. Internationally renowned as an art director, Cina approaches fine art as an experimental extension of his graphic design. Cina’s work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally in locales such as Japan, Italy, Spain, Germany, the UK and more. He has a piece in the permanent collection of Centro Cultural Banco do Brazil and is held in hundreds of private collections across the globe. His art and design work have been featured online and in print publications such as Monocle, Cool Hunting, Adobe, Computer Arts, Juxtapoz, Grain Edit, The Great Discontent, Gestalten Books, Lost at E Minor and many more.

John Klukas was born in St. Paul, Minnesota. Currently, he lives and works in New York City.  Shortly after receiving his B.A. in Psychology from the University of Minnesota in 2004 he began exploring photography as a creative medium.  His interest in pursuing photography professionally brought him first to Bangkok, Thailand and presently to New York City.  He works primarily in Fashion and Fine Art Photography.  His work has appeared in a range of editorial publications as varied as Schön and S Magazine.