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Georgia Southern design student aims to create conversation with comics

Julian Strayhorn II's artwork featured on the outside of Galactic Comic and Games of Statesboro.

Julian Strayhorn II’s artwork featured on the outside of Galactic Comic and Games of Statesboro.

You might have seen his work on the side of the Galactic Comic and Games building downtown or perhaps on Georgia Southern University’s campus: Betty Foy Sanders Department of Art’s Master of Fine Arts Candidate Julian Strayhorn II is plastering Statesboro and Georgia Southern with comic-style wall art, and while he says he wants people to visually enjoy his work, it also has a deeper meaning.

Strayhorn always loved comics and watching Saturday-morning cartoons.

“As a child, I was looking for some glimpse of myself, but all I really found were stereotypes,” he said.

As a young African American male, Strayhorn says he wants his art to explore traditional super heroes and comic book characters beyond the sterotypical labels and typecasts.

“Even if you do not enjoy comic books, almost everyone has seen movies based on comic books,” said Strayhorn. “Superman, Captain America; We cannot seem to escape these same type of characters.”

Inspired by Marvel and DC Comics, Strayhorn has created his own comic strip, “Problem Six Comic,” where he adapts well-known superheroes such as Batman and Robin into unique cultural identities.

Strayhorn’s current installations are temporary and will remain intact though early December. Using large-scale prints of his work, Strayhorn pieces the murals together on the walls with wheat paste. One installation is located at Galatic Comic and Games on Siebald Street near the BB&T drive-through. The second comic artwork can be found in the Sculpture Garden located outside the Center for Art & Theatre and the Visual Arts Building on Georgia Southern’s campus. Most recently, Strayhorn created his largest installation yet located at the staircase between the Carroll Building and the Zac Henderson Library.

“I am looking for locations that are willing to allow my artwork to be up for about three months,” he explained. “I have a few places already in the works, but I would love to have more!”

Strayhorn releases a new comic strip every Wednesday on his website. For more information about Strayhorn and his comics, visit problemsixcomic.com. Though his current public installations are open for all audiences to enjoy, Strayhorn does warn that his website comics can address content that is mature in nature, and parents are encouraged to visit the site prior to allowing their children to access the comics.

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Betty Foy Sanders Department of Art • PO Box 8032 • Statesboro, GA 30460 • (912) 478-5358 • art@georgiasouthern.edu • (map)