Exhibit at Open Produce

By JEFFREY BISHKU-AYKUL
Assistant to the Editor

Hyde Park grocer Open Produce will host an opening reception for a new exhibit at the store, 1635 E. 55th St., from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., tomorrow.

The show is the latest in the store’s monthly series of on-site art exhibits, inaugurated last July and founded by employee Sean Nicholson. It features pop culture-inspired acrylic paintings by neighborhood painter Jennifer Martinez, as large as two by three feet.

Martinez says she began drawing as a young child, inspired by anime, manga and Disney princesses. “As a little kid you get excited about what you’re watching,” she said.

Martinez, who has never taken an art class, will be selling her work to the public for the first time at this month’s exhibit.

The Hyde Park resident moved to Chicago in 2010 and wanted to decorate her apartment’s blank walls. Looking to decorate her room, she stumbled into an expensive 8 x 10 print depicting Wonder Woman and inquired an employee at the gallery about its price. “I was like, ‘$250? I can paint that,’” Martinez said.

“In the next couple of weeks I went out, bought some [supplies] and kind of fell back into drawing and painting,” Martinez said.

The opening reception night will also include a joint-organized drawing workshop down the street, at First Aid Comics, 1617 E. 55th St. The workshop, which will take place from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m., will be led by muralist Terrance Curtis.

For more information, visit facebook.com/openproduce.

j.bishku@hpherald.com