'Cave artist' to show his works Sept. 13
Chris Mohler will open his studio, Mohler Artworks, to the public from 5 to 10 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13, at 529 Schrock Road.
Chris Mohler is more of an artist than a marketer, more a sculptor than salesman.
A full-time working artist for the past 30 years, the Worthington artist spends his days creating metal sculptures and colorful drawings in his warehouse-type studio and gallery on Schrock Road.
"I'm a cave artist," he said. "I'm in here in this cave, making artwork."
That will change briefly this Friday, Sept. 13, when he opens his studio and gallery to the public from 5 to 10 p.m.
This will be his first open house since moving to Worthington a year-and-a-half ago. He will open the doors to his workspace, clean things up a bit and offer drinks, conversation and fun to anyone who cares to stop by.
Mohler Artworks is at 529 Schrock Road.
Mohler is as classically trained artist who is known for his large iron or steel sculptures, though he recently completed several smaller, colorful metal pieces.
Taking the metals that are the backbone of civilization and adding aesthetics is what he loves to do, he said.
"The feeling of finishing a piece of sculpture is my crack," he said. "It is my euphoria; it's my reason to live."
He also draws, and the set of 12 large, colorful faces he created will be on display at the open house, alongside the sculptures.
He said the drawings are just that, created with dried pigment on paper. His classical training taught him that sculptors never paint.
He received his art education at Kent State University and the Maryland Institute of Art.
He has been an artist in Columbus since he came to visit a friend and was thrilled to find a German Village warehouse to rent for $150 a month.
He calls his life as a Columbus-area artist a "very hard, unrecognized struggle."
Though successful in selling his works to private collectors, he has never been represented by a local gallery, never participates in local shows and has received little acknowledgement from local arts organizations.
With a bit of bitter irony, he relates the story of a wealthy, well-known central Ohio businessman purchasing one of his signature, large sculptures a year or two ago.
The man purchased it not in Columbus but at a prestigious show in North Carolina, without knowing the artist was from Columbus.
"How can an artist respect the community when the community leaders don't respect their community culture?" he said.
Though only working in Worthington since 2011, Mohler might be remembered by some longtime residents for his controversial works that were shown on the Village Green in 1992.
One of his works included graffiti questioning religion, thus sparking local debate.
Mohler removed the words at the time and said he is now sorry about the lack of discretion. He did not realize, he said, that the sculpture would stand in front of a Worthington church.
He said he really enjoys working in Worthington, with its many nearby stores and its welcoming atmosphere.
"I like being able to have my door open while I work," Mohler said.
Those doors will be wide open, with the large sculptures moved outside for his first Worthington open house and the smaller pieces displayed inside on Sept. 13.
He said he looks forward to stepping away from working in a vacuum for a while to welcome the community and any art professionals who might want to become more familiar with his work.
"I will poke a hole in the vacuum and open it up to everyone," he said. "It's kind of like my life work exposed."