Loren Naji (b. Brooklyn, NY, 8 January 1957) American conceptual sculpture
As a child, Loren Naji loved building things and drawing scenes of adventure and fantasy. Later he studied Graphic Design at Kent State University from 1975-1981. During this time he worked at Geauga Lake Amusement Park drawing portraits.
From 1981-1993 he studied figure/portrait drawing and painting at The Art Students League and The New York Studio School, both in New York City. During this time he worked as a graphic designer, sign painter and display design/fabrication.
From 1993-1998 he attended The Cleveland Institute of Art (CIA) with a scholarship, earning a B.F.A. in Painting. His “painting” at CIA was considered sculpture by many, but Naji felt it was painting on a three-dimensional surface. With this he challenged the departmental divisions in art school. The idea of blending the art disciplines is now in vogue in our post modern society.
During summers of art school Naji remodeled a condemned building in Cleveland Hts. This became his studio/gallery where he exhibited many shows for ten years. He travelled extensively on expeditions to Indonesia, Morocco, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Irian Jaya, Borneo and Turkey living with natives and procuring primitive artifacts for his gallery.
In 2002 he remodeled another building which is currently his studio in the Ohio City community of Cleveland. He produces what he calls conceptual sculptures and paintings which are cult-like objects with formal elements enhanced through non-visual entities such as hidden maps that lead to buried treasure or obsessively counted large numbers. He now also shares this large building as a public gallery.
Naji has displayed his work in The Cleveland Museum of Art, The NEO Show, Asterisk Gallery, Spaces, Pentagon Gallery, The Butler Art Museum, The Maryland Federation of Art, Phoenix Gallery in New York and many juried shows, with awards. He has a public sculpture, “They Have Landed” (a giant eight-foot, 3000 pound sphere) displayed at the prominent Cleveland location, Lorain Avenue, at the entrance to the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge, across from the famous West Side Market.
Naji has been voted “Best Sculptor 2013” in Cleveland by people’s choice in Cleveland Magazine.
He received a $20,000 grant, a $7500. Grant and was given a house to create a gallery space in Collinwood, OH.