Maybe no two words have more in common while meaning completely different things than “art” and “design.”  Artists and designers share many of the same technical skills. Both are likely adept at using color, drawing, manipulating materials, and maybe even using a sharp knife.  Trained artists and designers may take many of the same classes to learn their trade, and when they are making work they may do many of the same things.

But take a step back from the particulars, and it is easy to see how they differ. It is about their intent.

You might say, for example, that designers intend to serve the marketplace while artists intend to serve themselves, or their ideas. You might say artists serve beauty, or eternity, or all mankind, while designers serve the client. Or the boss. You might say the design serves the subject, while the art is the subject. If you said any of these things, you might not be exactly right, but then again, you might be onto something.

The cover story in this issue of CAN explores the relationship between art and design by looking at the process by which three Cleveland artists have licensed their work for commercial application as wallcovering designs. You’ll have to read the story to know the controls they have and the compromises they make. But when you look at the results, there can be no doubt that the work of the artists enabled the production of absolutely beautiful designs, and that the work of the designers brought some essence of those artists’ works to audiences they could never otherwise have reached.

We’ll continue that discussion in-person November 30 at Connect + Intersect, a panel discussion and networking party that will bring together artists, graphic designers, interior designers, and architects to talk about how they work together and the roles one plays with the other. With our sponsors 4walls and Surface Materials, with support from Jakprints, we’ve assembled a panel of Clevelanders whose work connects both of those worlds. You’ll find details elsewhere in this issue.

You’ll also find on these pages a multitude of seasonal markets, with artists selling their wares. Design plays a huge role in these markets, as artists of all types offer not only their usual work, but also products made to sell: coasters, functional ceramics, jewelry, greeting cards.  Indeed, this may be the most design-y time of the year for individual artists. Support them, and you’re not only getting great stuff and investing in the local economy: you’re  directly helping an artist continue to do what they do.

Meanwhile, we bring you an update on the visually arresting work Creative Fusion artists have been doing on walls in Ohio City; a curator-to-curator conversation between Lauren Hangsen and Akron University’s new director of galleries, Arnold Tunstall; Douglas Max Utter’s exploration of the success and nuances of Loren Naji’s entry in Grand Rapids Art Prize; and a walk through the recently blown-up works of Jimmy Kuehnle. And of course, dozens of galleries preview what they have to show you through the Winter.


We look forward to the season, and to seeing you at these shows.


Michael Gill

Editor / Publisher