Kelly Knopp's First Solo Show 

Flying M 500 W. Idaho St., 208-345-4320,

If you're unfamiliar with painter, illustrator and graphic designer Kelly Knopp, there are a few things you should know. First off, he's a dude. Second, though his subject matter skews toward the dark side--tattooed drag tooth fairies and cigarette-smoking, pot-bellied hula-hoopers--Knopp is a clean-cut, wide-eyed, 20-something. Lastly, despite the fact that Knopp's work has graced numerous BW covers over the last few years (including this week's issue), he just recently opened his first-ever art show at Flying M.

"It's never been like, 'I need to get ready for a show,'" said Knopp. "In my free time, I'll grab a paintbrush and pencil and just draw. It's my way of coping with things."

Knopp's brightly colored illustration of brew-swilling, knobby-kneed bike racer and beat-up cartoon cat, Whistling Fixie, graced BW's last Coldest Beer issue. Most of Knopp's pieces--like Heart Strings, in which a man's heart busts through his fanned-out accordion or Monday's Little Piggy, in which a cartoon pig stares off blankly as a fork dangles from his neck--are marked by a certain literalism

"The subject matter is always kind of fun, if you will--like the lady riding a shark--and his style is simple," explains Flying M co-curator John Warfel.

But Knopp's fun earnestness is also tempered by an exacting precision and sinister underpinning, both of which seat Knopp at the dinner table beside local pop-surrealists like Ben Wilson, Erin Ruiz and Bill Carman.

"I always like to provoke feelings in people, even if they're uncomfortable," said Knopp.

One of Knopp's more provocative recent projects is an adult activity book called The Faulty Embrace. The book's hand-bound pages are filled with things like a porn-littered Mormon temptation maze, a draw your own mullet salon and a message decoder--which uses bullets, pills and brass knuckles to spell out "You Are Adopted." But these off-coloring books aren't paying the bills for Knopp just yet--he still does graphic design work for local businesses like the Board Room.

"I'd rather be doing the fine art, like painting stuff, but the graphic design helps me pay my rent," said Knopp.

But Knopp might not be doing graphic design much longer. In addition to his current show at Flying M, he's also been asked to hang new work at Basement Gallery during November and December.

For fans of Knopp's work, or local collectors looking to snag an inexpensive painting, now is the time to buy. Prices at Knopp's Flying M show range from a super-reasonable $8 for prints to $200 for the largest painting.

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