Columbus, Ohio USA
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Julie Macala Wins ComFest Logo Contest
Design selected for T-shirts, mugs, and more
By Margaret Marten
May/June 2016 Issue

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Julie Macala Darren Carlson

In late June, artist Julie Macala will be setting up her booth at ComFest again, just as she has done the past three years. This time, however, she can count on almost everyone seeing her work over the course of the three-day festival, even if they don’t set foot near her booth. As a winner of the 2016 Comfest Logo Contest held in March, Macala’s art, at least a sample of it, will be visible just about everywhere at the festival – on the program, T-shirts and mugs, all displaying the winning design.

There were 19 contestants this year. Even though the logo contest has been going on for decades – this is the festival’s 44th year – the 26-year-old Macala only learned about it last year and began to consider what she might do.

“I kind of had it in the back of my mind for a year or so,” she said, “and then I thought, you know, why don’t I just go ahead and try that out. It would be fun to be even more a part of ComFest than I already am with my booth there.”

We hear how huge the festival has become over the years, often bemoaning the fact. Macala’s design reflects that development in a positive way. “I’m from Columbus. I’ve seen everything grow,” she said, “the city and the festivals and everything. It’s been a long time, and it’s just kind of become a big part of the community and grown with the city.”

Her design depicts an outline of tall buildings along the downtown skyline framing the words “Community Festival,” uniting the city with the event. Roots branch into the soil below, signifying its growth and history. The circular Hopewell symbol above serves as the sun. Macala says the downtown skyline image sells well in her other artwork because people love Columbus and want to show it off.

One of the reasons her logo appealed to the ComFest General Planning Committee, who made the final selection, was that it is clearly an original drawing created by an artist’s hand rather than a computer-generated image, said member Michael Gruber. Macala is a pyrographer (or wood burner), a practice that often involves lettering, so she is adept at drawing a word, for example, as opposed to typing it out, and, in fact, says her general inclination is to draw. “I do like burning things that are natural and to me flow naturally, like drawing trees.”

She learned pyrography from her grandmother, became a committed practitioner five years ago, and had her first public showing at 83 Gallery when it operated at 1038 N. High St. in the Short North. “It was a really nice spot to kind of start out,” she said, “because there’s tons of other artists showing at the same time as you and everyone’s very friendly.”

Sounds a lot like ComFest. Our summer festivals in Columbus may last only a day or two or three, but they are always big on friendliness. “When I think of ComFest, I think of Columbus,” she said. “It’s our festival, a summer festival for our city.”

Macala’s wooden boxes, plaques and other items burned with earthy designs and uplifting messages, original and lovely, will be available at her ComFest booth. Visit her website at www.branchingcreations.com and Facebook to view images.

© 2016 Short North Gazette, Columbus, Ohio. All rights reserved.

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