The "Independent Eye" Project
- From 2018-2020, after randomly discovering a rare, underground newspaper published in Cincinnati (1968-1975), I spent two years researching the paper's history and organizing an exhibition and event at the downtown Public Library of Cincinnati. In my research, I made contact and interviewed close to two dozen surviving members who helped create the publication (writers, editors, artists, and photographers). The multiple moving parts of this project included the creation of a free, public access digital archive of the "Independent Eye" (making it accessible for the first time in over 50 years). The library event included an exhibition of original newspapers and rare, original pieces of artwork and photography from the Eye (courtesy of original Eye photojournalists Melvin Grier and Ken Hawkins), with displays at two different PLCH branches. In November, I curated and participated in a panel discussion featuring myself, Jim Tarbell, and founding staffers Ellen Bierhorst and Monty Sher (traveling from Oakland, CA for the event). Over 200 people of all ages attended the exhibition, including a dozen or so original Eye staff members, creating a true "reunion" gathering of sorts. The multi-nuanced project garnered press from outlets like CityBeat (cover story), The Enquirer and NPR-affiliate station WVXU. The entire retrospective, spurred by sheer curiosity, highlighted a remarkable and influential piece of local history in a radical/progressive free press publication that had gone largely unseen for the last several decades.
- "OPTIC", a visual tribute publication to the Eye, was self-published in partnership w/ Jon Flannery (Cryptogram Ink). The recipient of funding courtesy of the Haile Foundation, the newspaper (risograph-printed by Julia Warner / Cereal Box Studio), was printed in edition of 500 and distributed for free at a variety of local businesses, libraries and art museums around urban Cincinnati (as well as organizations like the NYC-based Interference Archive). An Optic release party was held at Downbound Books in February, 2020. The paper was creative over eight months, using technology-free, analogue production methods synonymous w/ the original "Independent Eye" papers. Sixteen unique local artists of various mediums were curated to contribute pieces for the interior - as well as colored inserts featuring collages of the original Eye archives.
- Digital archive of the Independent Eye
- CityBeat article (cover story October 2019)
- Podcast Interview: Cincinnati Art Museum
- Video of Independent Eye Panel Discussion
- NPR interview
- Optic: Hot off the Presses