Works of caricaturist, illustrator C.F. Payne, a Miami alum, to exhibit in Middletown

Illustrator C.F. Payne has local ties, but his work has traveled the globe. Local art enthusiasts will get to see a rare glimpse of his work at an upcoming exhibition at the Middletown Arts Center.

“His expressive and nuanced portraits capture well-known personalities and everyday people alike. Over 60 original works will be displayed in the Main Exhibition Hall. We will have over 11 books Payne illustrated some print materials available for purchase,” said Kate Dykes, executive director of the Middletown Arts Center. “Contemporary works feature several from his brand-new playful state bird series in which the bird actually forms the shape of the geographic state, as well as illustrations from his latest book release with author Brent Coleman, ‘Cincinnati Characters: The Unknown, Unappreciated and Unhinged’.”

The exhibition, “The Works of C.F. Payne” will open with a reception at 6 p.m. Friday. The evening will include live music by pianist Jay Mills and refreshments.

The event is free and open to the public The exhibit will run through April 6 and it is open to the public during business hours.

“This exhibit presents a unique opportunity for our community to view the works of an acclaimed artist with a significant history of creating consequential illustrations that have been appreciated on an international level,” Dykes said. “His humorous works are so fun and appealing that they really make art accessible and enjoyable for all.

Payne is an alumnus of Miami University, she said.

“His ties to the community add to the excitement of being able to exhibit his works here at the MAC. The arts center is proud to present an artist of his extraordinary talents. It’s truly a privilege to provide this extraordinary chance for our community to experience and connect with art of this caliber.”

Retrospective works will highlight selections of Payne’s editorial work for magazines such as the momentous Barack Obama illustration for the 2009 Time Magazine inauguration preview issue. His illustrations capture current political topics and people, along with pop culture figures.

Included in the display with magazine covers such as Mad Magazine, New York Times Book Review, and Time will also be work from newspapers such as the Washington Examiner, advertisements and more. Several illustrations from children’s books will include “Micawber” — with John Lithgow, “Late for School” — with Steve Martin, and “Mousetronaut Goes To Mars” — with Astronaut Mark Kelly.

“Visitors will have the unique opportunity to view his displayed sketch books. Even upon cursory view his sketches provide an insider’s view to Payne’s process. Some sketches are not yet fully formed ideas, while other images are beautifully rendered with rich color applications, personality and life bursting from the pages,” Dykes said.

In addition to being an award winning and world-renowned illustrator, C.F. Payne is an avid arts educator with tremendous dedication to his craft, said Dykes.

Payne will offer several lectures and workshops in conjunction with “The Works of C.F. Payne.”

“He has a very pragmatic way of connecting the art that we see in the world around us to practical applications. I’m thrilled that he is willing to offer so many community learning opportunities. People will find him very engaging and take away new perspectives after attending his lectures and workshops. and viewing his work in the exhibition,” she said.

Free and open to the public, Payne will lecture on “Why Illustration Matters in the Arts” on March 28 at the MAC. He will discuss how illustration reflects our culture and tells the stories of our times.

How to go

What: “The Works of C.F. Payne” on view at Middletown Arts Center

When: Friday through April 6. Opening reception at 6 p.m. Friday

Where: Middletown Arts Center, 130 N. Verity Parkway, Middletown

Cost: Free

More info: or call (513) 424-2417

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