Thirty years ago Ned M. Stacey, known as the artist NED, was sitting in a Shoney’s restaurant doodling names on a napkin for his new business. From scribbles to brick and mortar, Cosmic Cat Comics was born.
With a storefront in Railroad Square, NED eventually converted part of his surplus space within the comic book store into Renditions, An Art Space, which he envisioned as both a gallery and shared workspace for himself and local artists. As one of the photographers included in Photofest 2017, an annual exhibition presented by the Council on Culture & Arts at the Artport Gallery, NED is thrilled to show the community the importance of the arts through his artwork.
“Everything is based on art in some way,” explains NED. “Many people don’t realize they’re looking at art every day no matter where they’re looking. You can’t take a brown covered book and put it in a store and have someone buy it.”
NED’s store shelves are well stocked with imaginative and colorful worlds of graphic design and storytelling, though he prefers reading about the adventures of everyday people versus those of cape-clad superhumans. His first influences did come from science fiction and fantasy however, as his paintings and photographs sought to emulate artists like Jeffrey Jones and Frank Frazetta.
It was the comics’ bright colors that kept him turning pages. With oils as his preferred medium, NED can never get enough of the bold cadmium red, and relies on mixing with a basic color palette to create striking images. Whether he’s painting in his home studio or at Renditions, NED can take nearly 40 hours over the course of many days to complete a work. At the end of every day he takes a photo of his progress and uploads it to his Facebook page — from the first sketch to the final product — and will use an unorthodox method to catch his mistakes.
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