Why he's interesting Depew grew up watching Wilma Smith on newscasts like the rest of us. Unlike the rest of us, he created The Wilma Smith Project, an art exhibit at The Brandt Gallery in Tremont. Depew used reclaimed lighted signs, found objects and inkjet printouts to honor the veteran TV personality. He also finally got to meet his muse at the exhibit's opening.
Single subject Depew has worked on art exhibits based on one subject before. He created an entire show about the movie Revenge of the Nerds. But the concept for The Wilma Smith Project actually originated on social media. "I was really interested initially with her jewelry. Each day I would come home from work and take a picture of her jewelry, and I would post it on Facebook. People would make comments and were looking forward to [each post]."
Lite Brite Much of Depew's work uses neon or strung lighting to relay his artistic message. "When you go to a carnival, there's a bombast of color. There is some sensory thing that takes over and is very mesmerizing and very entrancing."
Signing off Depew was initially concerned that Smith would recoil at the signs that spelled out "Wilma" in different colors or the tower of Emmys — to signify the awards she's won — but she eventually warmed up to it. "I had a piece of plexiglass right there [at the show] and I had her sign it. It was Wilma's seal of approval of the opening."
found objects He became drawn to unused objects when his mother would take the family to rummage sales and thrift stores. "Taking objects that were discarded and trying to dust them off and make them into something new was probably from this childhood nostalgia and growing up with these antiques and stuff."
Bernie, Bernie Many people wear their passions on their sleeves, but Depew wears one on the back of his hand: a No. 19 tattoo for Bernie Kosar. "He was unorthodox, but he got the job done. [The Browns] were so close to have it ripped away. And I think that is really what shapes us as Clevelanders. We've had this hope instilled in us, and we just keep reaching for it."