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Lions & Tigers, etc.

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Bobby Spillman creates whimsical children's book illustrations for children's books that don't exist and that wouldn't necessarily be for children if they did.

"I probably am the best-collected artist in Memphis for decorating kids' bedrooms," says Spillman, a teacher and artist whose show "Waterworks" opens this week at Material Art Space on Broad.

"A lot of the work begins as these everyday scenarios," Spillman says. Only instead of drawing his friends or the people he sees driving to and from work, he finds it's easier to create animal characters.

"I've wanted to be a cartoonist since I was a little kid," says Spillman, who says his friends all know which animals they are in his work and isn't entirely convinced that's a good thing.

"Waterworks" will feature between seven and nine new watercolor images of various sizes. It will be the last show produced by Hamlett Dobbins for Material Art Space.

"For Material, I like to do something different," says Spillman, who typically works in ink on coffee-stained paper. "This is all more lighthearted."

Waterworks, at Material Art Space. Reception: Friday, August 9th, 6-8 p.m. Through August 29th.

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