PEN PALS is an exhibition of collaborative drawings by Sweden’s Daniel Andersson-Boe (Semio) and Cleveland’s Rachel Strongoli & Josh Usmani. Half of the works were started in each country and mailed back-and-forth across the Atlantic Ocean. The artists’ styles blend over each other – creating an ambiguous sense of continuity, blending the three into one.
Rachel Strongoli and Josh Usmani met in a Drawing class at Cleveland State University in 2009, where they both graduated with a BA in Studio Art (Drawing and Painting, respectively). These longtime friends have collaborated on drawings several times. Josh and Daniel Andersson-Boe met through DeviantArt in 2007. After Josh found Semio’s work online, the two quickly bonded over online documentaries, David Lynch films and a mutually odd sense of humor. Semio’s work was featured in Controversy at Zaller Gallery (now Gallery One Sixty) – which was curated by Josh in 2011. Semio frequently collaborates with other artists in many forms. Josh and Daniel started collaborating by mailing a couple of small drawings across the Atlantic and the idea for PEN PALS grew from there.