August was bittersweet as The Pop Shop art gallery in Lakewood closed it’s final show. “Avenging Cleveland” was an open artist call for pieces themed around The Avengers. Dozens of area artists submitted their own interpretation of the many heroes associated with The Avengers over the years. The former owners of the gallery have decided to take a few years off to focus on some other things. Not wanting to lose the progress they made in the community, they contacted fellow artist and friend, Sean Burns, about taking over. Burns had organized a show for them in the previous year titled “Where’s my Jetpack?“ Burns, and his wife Kristen, had been working on opening a gallery on the other side of town. Things weren’t working out as perfectly as planned and the change in location seemed like the perfect opportunity to get their ideas moving again. Sean has a fine arts degree from the Cleveland Institute of Art and focuses on pencil, ink and marker drawings. Kristen is also an artist, but focuses on film photography, recycling old records, humorous “You Stink” homemade soap and obscure crafting, such as ornaments shaped to look like moustaches and beer bottles or tote bags sewn with robots and zombies. They have an 11-year-old daughter, Maggie; a future fashion designer who loves playing the cello and riding her unicycle. The Pop Shop had an adjoined gallery, “The (Art)ificial Gallery.” That gallery will be having one more opening featuring the drawings of Josh Usmani for the month of September. Usmani’s work is various abstract creatures and patterns done with ink and marker. After that, the Burns’ are bringing both spaces together to form the “Breakneck Gallery.” What used to be specifically The Pop Shop section of the galleries will become a retail area. Instead of having a themed group show or one artists work rotating monthly, they plan to keep it simple and have several artists rotating uncoordinated work throughout the months. The (Art)ificial Gallery will become the changing show space. This is where all the themed shows and individual openings will hang. In the near future, Sean hopes to introduce art classes into this area as well. Old fashion printmaking and figure drawing classes are a few of the ideas currently on the table. The Burns’ both like and appreciate the following of artists and viewers The Pop Shop has gained over time, but there is a gap between artists and their friends who regularly attend art openings and those who don’t. “Generally between my friends who I hang out with, there are the artist friends who are all into art and go to gallery openings and then there are some of my friends who wouldn’t come to an art gallery unless I or Kristen was showing in there,” said Sean. Art is meant to be experienced by everyone. Sean created a tagline for the gallery, “fine art for real people.“ Their goal is to make an ideal environment for someone to walk in off the street and not be put back by the stereotypical pretentious atmosphere of some galleries. Breakneck will continue to use many of the traditional shows that The Pop Shop used, but still have a their own new presence in the gallery. Some of those shows include the $50 show, “Anti-Valentine’s,” and individual shows featuring local artists. Breakneck will also be hosting a sequel to The Pop Shop’s show “Cinematic Redux” in October. Titled “Cinematic Redux 2,” the show will feature cinematic poster inspired art. Where does a name like Breakneck come from? Two particular ideas went into the name. Sean was part of a band, Zapguns, and they wrote a song titled “Breakneck Girls.” The concept behind that was the girls you passed while driving look so good, you “break your neck” for a second look. “I thought it would be fun to apply that to art — art that looks so good you have to take another glance,” said Kristen The idea also came from a sci-fi breakneck speed reference. The new Breakneck Gallery is located at 17020 Madison Avenue in Lakewood. They hope you bring more than just your artist friends to stop in.