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Governor's Awards Spotlight: C.F. Payne

ABOUT C.F. payne | individual artist

LOCATION: Lebanon | Warren County

BIO: From Lebanon, Ohio, C.F. Payne is the Director of the Hartford Art School’s MFA in Illustration program at the University of Hartford. For forty years, he has worked as an illustrator for magazines, advertisements, and children’s books. For 30 years, he has been an art educator. Graduating from Miami University in 1976 with a BFA, and studying at the Illustrators Workshop, he started work as a studio illustrator in Akron and Chicago. Moving to Texas, he began his freelance career in 1980 in Dallas and his teaching career in 1983 at Brookhaven College and later at East Texas State University. His art has appeared on the covers of Time Magazine, MAD Magazine, DerSpiegel, the New York Times Magazine, Sports Illustrated, and Reader’s Digest. His art has been exhibited in numerous museums and university galleries including the Cincinnati Art Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, the Norman Rockwell Museum, Huntington Art Museum, and the Baseball Hall of Fame. Payne has illustrated 20 children’s books including “Mousetronaut” by Mark Kelly, which reached Number 1 by the New York Times. His recent projects include 80 pictures for Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and 40 pictures for the Cincinnati Symphony’s performance of the Serge Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf.”

NOMINATED BY:C.F. Payne HeadshotTrey Devey | Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra | President

“His extraordinary career as a freelance artist began in 1980, four years after received his BFA from Miami (OH) University, and his work has graced the covers of Time, Sports Illustrated, Rolling Stone, Mad, Esquire, National Geographic, and Spy magazines.”

John Morris Russell | Cincinnati Pops Orchestra | Conductor

“The imagination, creativity, and artistry in his work brings a whole new dimension to the piece, and I couldn’t be happier to bring this artwork to life through the orchestra’s performance.”

Charley Frank | Reds Community Fund | Executive Director

“While the demand for Mr. Payne’s time and talents continues to grow, he remains the same dedicated individual and community advocate. It’s rare that someone of his considerable talent remains as down-to-earth and approachable.”

Tamara Harkavy | ArtWorks | CEO and Artistic Director

“The ripple effect of C.F.’s influence can be felt not only through the direct impact of these stunning murals and the countless other works he has contributed to celebrate and elevate the arts in our city, but also through his inclusive and generous creative process. The lessons we learned through our partnership with C.F. transformed how ArtWorks delivers on our mission. He is the definition of an Ohio artist whose work has made a significant impact on his or her discipline locally, statewide, regionally and nationally.”

Nancy M. Stuart, Ph.D. | Hartford Art School at University of Hartford | Dean

“For more than 30 years, Chris has been one of the country’s most prominent illustrators and has been recognized with two of the Society of Illustrators’ highest honors: The Distinguished Educator in the Arts Award in 2012 and the Hamilton King Award in 1995.”

George G. Morrison III | supporter of the arts in Cincinnati

"Commissioning new work is important, even more significant when it creates an impact on and connection with our own community. After seeing the illustrations that Mr. Payne has created for this concert, we are very excited to see the finished product and believe it will present a wonderful multi-media experience for audiences of all ages.”

The Governor's Awards for the Arts in Ohio is a statewide program that showcases and celebrates Ohio artists, arts organizations, arts patrons, and business support of the arts. The public is invited to nominate individuals and organizations in seven awards categories. A selection committee, made up of Ohio Arts Council board members and three individuals selected by Ohio Citizens for the Arts, chooses the winners. The program is presented by the Ohio Arts Council and the Ohio Citizens for the Arts Foundation. The 2017 Arts Day & Governor's Awards Luncheon will take place Wednesday, May 17, noon, at the Columbus Athenaeum. Visit for more details.

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