Daley Update

Elusive artist breaks silence with graffiti-inspired art.

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As the monthlong run of Polar Opposites winds down, R.D. Daley is still nowhere to be found. Instead, the Cleveland artist lets his 23 pieces in the Touch Supper Club art exhibit speak for themselves. "I'm kinda hermitized. I'm not totally antisocial, but I'm a little shy about the public," says Daley. "The paintings, however, are all over the map. I like things that look dreamy and surrealistic, and I like the boldness of cartoons." The display pairs Daley's works with "crazy-looking" pieces by Scott Pickering, who moonlights as the drummer for rockers Rainy Day Saints. While Pickering's subject matter focuses on the oddballs he meets at concerts, Daley's art is the result of his past life as a West Side tattoo and graffiti artist between the mid-'80s and 1998. "There was a lot of rebellion in the art that I started with," says the 38-year-old Daley. "Now I'm trying to transcend it."Today, Daley works with acrylic and oil paints on canvas and wood as well as oil-based clay for his sculptures. He names Walt Disney and Salvador Dalí as his inspirations, and he continues to marvel at bus-line graffiti he sees in Cleveland. "It's fantastic. There's a lot of people out there who've advanced the expansion of the art form," says Daley, a Michigan native who moved to Cleveland in 1972. "When I was doing it, there weren't as many people into it. Now I'd call it a pissing match." Yet his artwork reminds him of his spray-can days — after Daley became acquainted with graffiti art in the fourth grade. He remembers "someone daring enough to defy the law" by spraying "Rest in Peace" next to blood spatters on a wall near a murder scene. The image helped fuel his teen angst. "It's a venting, and I'm still trying to discover what I'm comfortable with," says Daley. "But what better way than to nail your demons to the canvas." The exhibit is on display from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, through Saturday, January 12, at Touch Supper Club, 2710 Lorain Avenue. Admission is free. Call 216-631-5200 or visit www.touchohiocity.com.
Tuesdays-Saturdays, 6 p.m.-2 a.m. Starts: Jan. 4. Continues through Jan. 12, 2008

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