There are plenty of galleries around the city that exhibit great art, but there are also plenty of area businesses that regularly showcase some great work as well.

Starland Cafe is currently exhibiting "Fauna: New Work by Jefferson O'Neal" through Sept. 19, with an official opening reception from 6 to 9 p.m. Sept. 1 as part of First Fridays in Starland. "Fauna" was curated by Sulfur Art Services, a project of Sulfur Studios that helps local artists exhibit their work in local businesses.

Jefferson O'Neal is a professional illustrator and sequential artist, and this show represents a departure from his usual sense of artistic exactitude by way of his embrace of "the chaotic essence of Mother Nature."

"This particular style came about from trying to get away from the constraints of perfectionism and let the actual medium speak for itself," says O'Neal. "Recently getting into yoga has had a huge influence on my work and my life. Learning to let go has changed the way I paint, and recently turning to veganism has affected the subject matter of my pieces. I'm trying to give a sense of wonder and awe about Mother Nature. All animals are spiritual beings not just humans."

O'Neal says that he's been drawing and making art his entire life. Both of his grandmothers were artists and they helped shape his artistic outlook and plant his roots in the art world.

"After graduating from SCAD with a sequential art degree, I tried for the several years, unsuccessfully, however, to break into the comics world," explains O'Neal. "It wasn't until 2011 that I lost someone very dear to me that affected me very deeply. It was on the New Year's Eve night leading to 2012 that I had an epiphany. I stopped making art for other people and started making it for myself. I went on to produce a 13-piece exhibit that a local doctor purchased from me. From then on, I've been painting pieces that speak to me personally, and, in doing so, I've inspired many patrons to seek out my work."

O'Neal's paintings in the show have something of a mystical quality about them and feature various stylized versions of animals of the natural world, as the title suggests. The images are populated by night owls, angry pandas, a bison shaman, African lions, BBQ piggies, roosters, dragonflies, and a fluttering of hummingbirds. The works can be seen during the cafe's normal business hours or by appointment.

Any artists or businesses interested in working with Sulfur Art Services can contact for more information.


What: "Fauna: New Work by Jefferson O'Neal"

When: Through Sept. 19, opening reception 6-9 p.m. Sept. 1

Where: Starland Cafe, 11 E. 41st St.

Cost: Free