Art exhibition featuring a former homeless cartoonist

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CHAGRIN FALLS, Ohio — A new art exhibit to be unveiled this weekend shines a light on what’s possible even when life gives you a hard time.

To Grief Artslocated on Main Street in Chagrin Falls, Eugene Sopher is working with Rocky Encalada to set up his cartoons, which will be on display for several weeks starting Sunday.

“The only thing I know how to do to reach the world is my drawings,” Sopher said. “My cartoons are a reflection on life. You could watch and see yourself in this cartoon.

News 5 The photojournalist takes an overhead photo while Eugene sketches at the Greater Cleveland Food Bank in 2019

News 5 featured Sopher in 2019 when he was homeless and tried to publish his punchy cartoons, warning parents and their children to meet strangers online, stay away from abandoned buildings and warn of the dangers of life gang.

RELATED: Homeless Man Creates Coloring Book Pages With Lessons He Says Kids and Adults Need to Hear

“I keep my cartoons in black and white so you can put color in them,” he said at the time.

Since then, Sopher has told News 5 that her desperation turned into inspiration after a call with Chagrin Arts ultimately led to her first-ever exhibit.

“I’ve been drawing all my life from the penitentiary to the streets, to the classroom, to birthday parties, whatever,” he explained.

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News 5

“The Bear Who Cares” spotlights a teddy bear placed on a fence after the death of an inner-city child, who Sopher says comes to life and tries to send the right message to the community to prevent further violence.

“He’s never done the gallery, he’s never done the reception and for us to have his work on our walls in Chagrin Falls for the first time is pretty exciting,” said Executive Director Karen Prasser.

A 47-year-old whose struggles resemble modern tragedy, now tackling issues like gun violence, slavery and aging through cartoons with a message.

“I want people to see someone who doesn’t look like them and give them a shot,” Sopher said.

The exhibition at Chagrin Arts will be officially unveiled this Sunday, June 16 at 2 p.m. and is scheduled to be on display until July 8.

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