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May 29, 2009 4:09 PM

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Cartoon Network

When I first met Loren Kreiss in 2006, he had just moved from Los Angeles to New York to become East Coast director of his family's eponymous furniture company. He took me on a frenetic tour of his heavily designed...

When I first met Loren Kreiss in 2006, he had just moved from Los Angeles to New York to become East Coast director of his family's eponymous furniture company. He took me on a frenetic tour of his heavily designed apartment in Chelsea, and though he was embarking on a career in club chairs, it was very apparent that art was a passion (several of his own comic-book-like paintings were hung throughout).

Three years later, Kreiss is still on the family payroll but he's making a serious effort toward a more creative path: He's created a series of silkscreens featuring kooky cartoon characters. The exhibit, titled "Say Hello to My Little Friends," opened Thursday night at the AFP gallery.
As Kreiss' family and hip New York friends ogled the work, he explained the stories behind some of his creatures. Chino, a horned pink animal, "exists in the world above the tallest trees in the rain forests of an undiscoverable island;" Allegra is a "bohemian octopus," and the Black Sheep is an anti-hero with a Batman-like call signal.

Seriously?

"I watched a lot of nature documentaries when I was younger and always read books about
strange creatures," he explained. "When I doodle, I try to run with it and picture where and how this creature would live. I think part of me just refuses to grow up."

"Say Hello to My Little Friends" is on display through June 19.

AFP Gallery is located at 595 Madison Ave., Suite 702.
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