“Insect Envy” by J. Cobb

Mixed-media artist J. Cobb moved to Louisville from Cincinnati in 2013 to serve as the art director of LEO Weekly, and he’s truly felt at home ever since.

His job allows him to create art on and off the clock — you’ll often see his bizarre yet cute creatures gracing the cover of LEO, and he’s a frequent participant in many art shows around town throughout the year.

One such staple, which Cobb has been involved with for 12 years now (even before he moved here), is the Umpteenth Annual $20 Art Show, which takes place Saturday, Dec. 8, at Copper & Kings.

J. Cobb | Courtesy

The popular and always well-attended show features work by more than 30 local artists, offering pieces for a steal at $20 each. Along with Cobb, participating artists include Ashley Brossart, Douglas Miller, Madpixel Art & Design, Natasha Sud, Shayne Hull, Kathleen Lolley, Wayne Ferguson, Jeral Tidwell and many others. The free event runs from 6 to 9 p.m.

Cobb tells Insider that he will have about 35 to 40 original paintings in the show on Saturday and also a special run of black-line silk-screened prints that he has hand-colored. He hopes to have 15 of those done in time, so you can guess what he’s doing during his evenings this week.

He believes the draw of the $20 Art Show for Louisvillians is being able to find that original gem you can’t get anywhere else, and for a low, low price.

“A piece of art you love and is probably worth 10 times the $20 price,” he continues. “A lot of artists clear out their studios for this event, so there are a lot of those gems available. Also, it is just a blast of energy and excitement — like Black Friday, but extremely more interesting and cultured.”

Cobb’s whimsical creatures and characters are both approachable and frightening. He has a way of making a fly look as cuddly as a teddy bear, and a teddy bear look as menacing as Chucky. Asked if he would embrace or run from his creatures if they crosses paths in the woods, he doesn’t hesitate when he says, “I would not approach most of my critters — they would put my eye out!”

Detail of “Ah Pook The Destroyer” by J. Cobb

We caught up with Cobb while he took a break from hand-coloring his masterpieces to ask him some very important questions …

What’s the most surprising thing on your Bucket List?

Debbie Harry in the ’70s.

Scuba dive in the Caribbean before all the coral is dead.

What poster was on your wall in junior high?

That would have been 1977/78, so I do believe it was a Debbie Harry (Blondie) poster.

If you were mayor, to whom would you give the key to the city?

Ultra Pop’s Paul LePree, as he embodies the Louisville weird vibe.

What are your preferred pizza toppings?

Any and all veggies, sausage, little to no cheese.

If you could be any age for a week, what would it be?

35 — finally had my shit together at that age and I was still skinny!

Claypool clone.

What famous person do people say you resemble the most?

Les Claypool (if I am wearing my hat).

Who would you most like to be stuck with in an elevator?

Dave Chappelle. He would certainly take the edge off the situation.

Sara Havens is the Culture Editor at Insider Louisville. She's known around town as the Bar Belle and updates her blog (barbelleblog.com) daily. She's a former editor of LEO Weekly and has written for Playboy and The Alcohol Professor. Havens is the author of two books: "The Bar Belle" and "The Bar Belle Vol. 2."


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