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Artist's love of 'Stranger Things' to be on display at Spring Grove's Affair of the Arts

A look at Sara Michaels' "Stranger Things," which will be part of Affair of the Arts on Nov. 19 at The Shores of Turtle Creek in Spring Grove.
A look at Sara Michaels' "Stranger Things," which will be part of Affair of the Arts on Nov. 19 at The Shores of Turtle Creek in Spring Grove.

Sara Michaels has put her love of the Netflix series “Stranger Things” into her artwork.

The Spring Grove native binge-watched the first season of the show in two days. As soon as she was finished, she knew the theme of her next project.

“I was like, ‘OK, I need to do something for this,’ ” said Michaels, a graphic designer and illustrator whose work can be found at http://semillustrations.com. “The characters were so rich and interesting. I’m really into sci-fi horror so it was a perfect fit.”

Featuring an illustrated depiction of the five young starring characters of the show, as well as what’s known as “The Upside Down” in the series, Michaels’ “Stranger Things” artwork will be part of the upcoming Affair of the Arts in Spring Grove.

A 10th annual event, this year’s Affair of the Arts will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 19 at The Shores of Turtle Creek, 7908 Winn Road, Spring Grove. Featuring 40 artists, the fine art and holiday artisan gift show includes two full floors of original artwork, artisan crafts and demonstrations. Admission is free. Visitors can buy wine, mixed drinks and other beverages, and light snacks will be available. For information, visit www.affairofthearts.org.

Now living in Palatine, Michaels has taken part in the event for years, enjoying the chance to return to her hometown. Having painted and illustrated children’s books, often referencing “old fairy tales,” her work has been described as “creepy cute,” she said.

“I kind of like unsettling things,” she said. “Sometimes, when you go too far with one thing, cuteness, it can start to look really odd and creepy. I like pushing that.”

She said her new “Stranger things” work definitely has the “creepy cute vibe going on.

“But the [Netflix] show is always creepy,” she said. “It doesn’t need a huge push into that territory.”

Written by the Duffer brothers, “Stranger Things” reaches people on different levels, she said, not only drawing fans of sci-fi, but also those connecting with its numerous references to the 1980s, a time when Michaels grew up watching Steven Spielberg movies, such as “E.T.”

“There’s a huge nostalgia factor in the show,” she said. “I think that resonates, besides the fact the cast is amazing and writing is amazing and the visuals are amazing. For the general public, it’s sort of like a dream show.”

Having finished binge-watching the second season of “Stranger Things,” released Oct. 31 on Netflix, Michaels already is at work on new artwork themed around that season.

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