Bradley Scherzer

Bradley Scherzer

Visual Artist

Organization:

Fremont Ross High School, LeSo Gallery

Website:


Bradley Scherzer understands that as an artist it’s important to not only be constantly working, but he is also wise enough to have his hands in several projects, with several different people. He teaches art at Fremont Public Schools, is the assistant director at LeSo Gallery, is planning mural projects and works as a freelance graphic and web designer, among other things. Toledo.com caught up with Scherzer to talk about what projects he is currently working on, Drink & Draw at the Art Supply Depo and the last song lyric that moved him. 

 

Tell us more about some of your past projects?

I’ve always been a learner and a curious one. I like to wrap my head around several concepts and try to fit them together. This has led me to pursue countless projects. I consider my lessons, in my job as a teacher, to be experiments of my own curiosity. I’m thankful to have a job that allows me to bend content and convention to form inspiration. I’ve been a graphic designer, a web designer, middle school art teacher, elementary art teacher, high school photography teacher, painter, curator, juror, administrator, student and so much more in the past 5 years. My projects range from:

Portraits on books, using Facebook to make others judge a book by its cover, then send me a photo reacting to that cover, and then I interpret the image in paint on the cover itself to in turn be judged by the viewer. Densely playful with puns and a little meta. Curating from the local and national stage, an exhibition of artists who experiment or focus upon hair as a subject, medium, or substrate in their production of artwork. I’ve also created several commissions for Bowling Green State University’s Business Administration and Residence Life departments. However, I do not produce work at substantial rate enough at the moment to have a show.

 

What current projects are you working on?

Public Art has been my focus recently. We’ve been coordinating a lot of projects through LeSo and a new organization we started called CORE. We’ve been mostly focused on bringing art to Main Street. I’m currently working on several murals for the East Toledo Main & Starr Murals project. I’m playing around with figures and faces of people I meet in the community and just the formal aesthetic. I’ve always been one to keep work small and refined but have recently been experimenting with speed, size, and what is truly necessary to capture the visual character of a person.

In downtown Fremont, my Student Photo Club and I just finished the install of a large scale wheat paste of photographs. We’re already in talks about next year and I’m hoping to make things happen more out there.

 

What advantages does being in Northwest Ohio/Toledo offer your efforts?

I always say that Toledo is entry-level. There really isn’t anything that’s going to get in your way of change, that is, if your keep pushing. If you take action and make something positive, people will get behind you and offer a hand. It’s a place where we are defined by our actions and our inactions. There are communities striving to make their neighborhoods lively and entertaining. I think the biggest lesson is to steal that Field of Dreams quote and apply it as a rule, “If you build it, they will come”. 

 

Tell us about one of your greatest successes.

One of my greatest successes is a shared one. I latched on to a project in its early stages but many hurdles had been overcome. I had these acquaintances from college that had just bought a building and were planning to start a business. They needed a website and I had the skills to help. Soon I’m insisting to come over and help with renovations. I put in sweat equity and gave my advice and assistance for trade of beer and lunch. Together our efforts led us to open a gallery in East Toledo, called LeSo. But the true success for me was in making myself valuable enough to be invaluable to these two and be made a true partner. We (Amber LeFever, Adam Soboleski, and myself) have created something that, though often stressful, satisfies our personal creativity and allows us a platform to do so much. Together we drive forward toward goals out of our grasp and push each other to grab them. I think this is a success that just keeps getting more successful and I think standing shoulder to shoulder through it has made it all the better.

 

Tell us who or what gives you inspiration?

I’m inspired by connection. The anticipation of it, the structure of it, the need for it, and most of all, the experience of it. The idea of touch, sharing a moment, or feeling at ease with oneself in the presence of another. It’s brief and euphoric but surrounded by uncertainty. That tension is the nervous drive behind all that I do.

 

Tell us about your background.

I’ve only ever lived in Northwest Ohio. I spent my formative years, for the most part, in the Anthony Wayne School District and was swaddled in the arts by three extremely encouraging mentors. Everything directed me to Bowling Green where I studied Art Education with a focus in 2D Studies, more specifically painting. I’ve since taught art in junior high art in Toledo, elementary art in Fremont, and now photography and digital art at Fremont Ross High School. All the while making art, working with arts organizations, and just doing my part in the Toledo arts community. 

 

Do you have a motto or favorite quote you try to live by?

Make Shit Happen. It’s not the cleanest motto but it gets things done. My best friends and business partners live by the same motto and we all hold each other to it.

 

Favorite place for local culture?

I like the love on Adams street. I rarely have a bad time over there and Wesley’s outdoor patio dance floor is where I cut my Toledo dancing teeth. Nothing beats a place where you can just dance blisters on your feet and not care about how ridiculous you might look. You know no one is going to give you flack and odds are somebody is going to come join you!

 

Toledo’s “best kept secret” is . . .

… all its underground projects. There are so many projects buried in garages, basements, behind boarded-up windows, and in ambitious minds. I don’t think it’s an exclusivity thing; it’s more like a word of mouth thing that’s itching for a larger set of lungs.

 

My favorite place to chill locally is . . . 

I spend most of my free time at LeSo. But my one solace is the monthly Drink and Draw at the Art Supply Depo. I’m pretty sure I hold the attendance record.

 

My favorite natural space in the Toledo area is . . . 

Side Cut Park — best trails for walking and running. Plus there’s tons of shade, the river view, and you’ve got to love the locks!

 

When I’m not working hard, I can always be found at . . . 

Well… when I’m not working, I’m working, and, when I’m not doing that, I’m usually thinking about working. But I do take a pontoon boat into the river sometimes.

If you could change anything about the current landscape for creative, progressive people . . .

I’d try and find them some stable ground to root themselves and provide them the resources that they need to succeed. The creative environment downtown is in constant flux and it would be great to have some pillars of stability.

 

Name one person (living or deceased) who you would love to collaborate with.

I’d collaborate with anyone really. I enjoy reacting to my circumstances. It’s that connection thing again, I get to communicate with the ideas of another and develop some kind of visual conversation.  I feel that I am collaborating with my students all the time.

 

Name a CD, book or website you can’t live without.

Hulu.com, best way to shut off my brain for a little bit. 

 

3 words that best describe me or my work are . . .

Diplomatic, Reactionary, Insatiable. 

 

Give us 5 Desert Island Album picks.

Neutral Milk Hotel – Aeroplane Over the Sea

Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago

Frightened Rabbit – The Midnight Organ Fight

Iron & Wine – “The Trapeze Swinger” (just put this song on repeat until the end of time and that’ll be fine with me)

Listener – Return to Strugglesville

 

My biggest vice is . . .

Procrastination, it’s a deep pit that I always try to touch bottom in. 

 

I’d like to see __________ in Toledo.

An outdoor, centrally-located green space full of people casually hanging out when there was no particular event happening. 

 

What’s the last dream you recall having?

My dreams are too practical and real to know if they are truly dreams or not so… I’m not sure the last time I dreamed or maybe I don’t remember the last time I woke up.

 

The last lyric that moved me was . . .

“You’re the shit and I’m knee deep in it” – Frightened Rabbit

 

One movie character I identify with is . . . 

Steve Corel’s character in “Dan in Real Life”.

 

My most inspiring moment was/is . . .

When I see/feel something that is beautiful and momentary that cannot be captured, only experienced and reveled in for its duration.

 

I want my last meal to be _______________.

My mother’s “cheesy chicken” followed by her jello cake. I eat this almost every birthday so why not do the same for the opposite?


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