Jon Lund’s Little Italy and Cuyahoga River posters for Lund Studio (photos courtesy of Lund Studio)
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How Artist Jon Lund Immortalizes Cleveland Landmarks and Icons

His Hudson-based Lund Studio creates a line of beautiful prints that celebrates neighborhoods like Little Italy, natural features such as the Cuyahoga River and more. 

Jon Lund noticed the power of art at a young age and the way it was able to represent him without his having to say a word. The designer attended Akron’s Firestone High School in the mid-1970s, hoping to one day work as an illustrator. He later graduated from the University of Akron and began his career in agency work, eventually moving on to freelance.

Lund started in advertising, where he worked solely with paper and pencil, transferring his designs and then finishing each piece with his signature airbrush style. In the late 1990s, he began creating digitally, but the switch wasn’t easy.

“I absolutely hated Adobe Illustrator,” he says. “Eventually, I was able to make some lucky breakthroughs in it that enabled me to create a style that was sort of like my other style, [just] a little different.”

Today, his Hudson-based Lund Studio creates prints that focus on iconic Cleveland architecture, landmarks and neighborhoods as well as other northeast Ohio communities. He was initially inspired by artist Michael Schwab, who did a series of posters in the mid-1980s depicting San Francisco structures.

“After that, everybody started looking at their own towns and trying to find something that was special in the place they live and celebrating it,” Lund says.

For Lund Studio, it all started with the Guardians of Traffic. Lund was fascinated that one of Cleveland’s most prominent icons wasn’t a building or a bridge but instead eight art deco-style statues holding different vehicles in their hands.

He will sometimes take photos for inspiration and then sketch the spot before making the digital shapes that will become the finished work. It takes a lot of trial and error to create a balanced composition. Lund had one unfinished print in a folder for three or four years before deciding to give the design one last try.

The final product became his Little Italy print — a bestseller and the work he is most proud of to this day. Lund spent time adjusting the piece until the layers felt right, moving the people to the foreground and darkening their shadows. 

“And then suddenly,” he says. “… I find a way to get all these elements to work, to gel.” 

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