Cleveland is known for many things; Lebron James, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the undying love we have for our sports teams, local breweries, and the saying, “there is always next year.” But there’s a new niche market emerging that Cleveland is becoming known for—its growing number of art galleries, studios and arts districts. A particular group of artists known as “Lab Cabin Cleveland” hone their diverse talents on E. 25th Street at Lake Affect Studios.
Lab Cabin Cleveland is one of several studio natives that call Lake Affect Studios their home. Picking up their name from the 1995 Pharcyde album Labcabincalifornia, it is easy to see that hip-hop is a big part of their DNA. Creating art through the collective lenses of music and street art has become key to their growing success and makes them a breath of fresh air in the Cleveland art scene. “The Lab Cabin Cleveland guys are helping to shape a burgeoning music, art, and culture scene here in Cleveland,” local musician Marcus Alan Ward said. “They have become a huge part of the Cleveland aesthetic as their work is present on most up and coming artists album covers and projects, and their murals and paintings can be seen all over town.”
The founding members of Lab Cabin are Chad Fedorovich, 30, and Dakarai Akil, 24. Fedorovich is the common thread that pulled together the crew and their home at Lake Affect Studios. Next, Fedorovich made a call to a long time friend Brent Krumrei, 30, who had relocated to Philly. Krumeri quickly returned to Cleveland. Merrick Presser, 22, met the three member crew and was absorbed into the group. The final member, Alonzo Wright, 18, fresh out of high school, reached out to Fedorovich and started as an intern. The crew was now complete.
Lab Cabin is like the Captain Planet of the Cleveland art scene – these extremely talented artists smashed their fists together to create one living, breathing, ass-kicking creative superhero with a mission to save the art world. And like the Planeteers, it is their differences that make them even stronger. “I needed something like this, before that I was just creating in my room by myself,” Akil said, speaking about the benefits of working in a collaborative environment. Through the act of cohabitation, the group has supercharged their creative abilities, allowing them to gain the experience and outlook of four other artists all at once.
Since inception, the group has continued to build up their portfolio, constantly creating new works to help them gain visibility. Lab Cabin’s first official show, The Art of Wax, had a large emphasis on analog art forms, and all of the work featured was done by hand while listening to vinyl records. The Art of Wax also showcased DJs Eso and A/V of Three Seas, as well as Ghost Noises doing vinyl sets. “It’s really awesome to have forward thinking individuals like the Lab Cabin Cleveland crew in our own backyard to help push the culture forward and the city forward,” DJ Corey Grand said.
The original duo of Fedorovich and Akil continued to build a name for Lab Cabin by producing art for an event held at the Hedge Gallery located at the 78th Street Studios called Meet the Dreamers. Put together by three Kent State fashion design students, the event was produced as a vehicle to inspire the uninspired, featuring equal parts music, fashion and art.
Their next project commissioned the crew to create artwork for Homes for Heroes, an entity that offers substantial rebates and discounts to heroes like veterans, firefighters, police officers and others who contribute to improving communities. The group was there as a way to drive visibility and attention to the event, with all proceeds from the art sold going to Homes for Heroes. You may have also seen Lab Cabin live painting at events like the Gay Games 9, or Brite Winter Fest. Both of these volunteer projects were done in conjunction with Stamy Paul and her non-profit, Graffiti HeArt, an organization that focuses on promoting graffiti and street art, as well as beautification projects for communities like the Detroit Shoreway.
Not all of their collaborations are done live. In addition to group shows, Lab Cabin has started to embrace an entrepreneurial spirit, working with small businesses on client based projects, as well as with local musicians to create album art and music videos. “They put in the most hours around the studio by far,” Lake Affect Studios owner Dan LaGuardia said “I think one thing that keeps them busy all the time too, is that they dabble in all kinds of artistic mediums. When you can get involved in so many different ways it opens up a lot of diverse opportunities.”
We asked if they ever saw themselves turning into more of an interdisciplinary design studio. While a few crew members sounded interested, for the most part it seems that they don’t want to define themselves as anything just yet. Their only plan thus far—to make the city more colorful any way they can.
To follow Lab Cabin’s continued progress, you can follow them on Instagram (@labcabincle) or contact them at [email protected]