Ohio 84 , Geneva, Ohio, 44041, us
Note on the location: The actual address of the site is @ Rt. 84 & West St. Harpersfield, Ohio. If you wish to contact the artist, his mailing address is: 5807 S. Ridge Rd. (at West St.) Geneva, Ohio 44041
About the Artist/Site
Jeff Elersic is a man with a mission: to broadcast a narrative about his brother’s death, which was erroneously, in Elersic’s view, ruled an accident, and to indict the various local police officers, attorneys, and judges who he believes conspired not only to cover up this murder but also, separately, to rob him of his inheritance. In order to do this, he researches documents, gathers evidence, and paints the results of his investigations on large carefully-lettered signs that are posted on the front and side façades of his home.
Elersic, with his four brothers and two sisters, was born near Johnston, Pennsylvania; his father was an operational engineer who could no longer find work in Pennsylvania’s rust belt; he thus moved his family to eastern Ohio’s Lake County near Painesville. Stressed at his inability to properly support his family, he died at age 47. One of the lessons the younger Elersic took from his father’s untimely passing was to not take a full-time job, and he has never had one. Instead, he has made his way by doing home remodels for family members, and describes himself as an artist and a jack-of-all-trades who can do electrical, plumbing, carpentry, and operate heavy equipment. He is also licensed as a notary public.
At the age of 16 Elersic met a woman who inspired him to start creating “fantasy paintings,” mostly organic abstractions in bright colors. He continues to paint these works, generally with water-based paints on 16 x 20” papers, and gives most of them away after they are completed.
Although Elersic initially believed that the official account of his brother’s death was accurate, over time he came to believe that he had survived the car accident only to have been later killed by police. Yet while he decries what he considers cover-ups, he repeats again and again that he is grateful for the freedom allowed by America’s systems, which give him the opportunity to publicly criticize and berate these very systems. He is rigorously peaceful in his protests, taking care to stay within the letter of the law. He has taken his signs down to the courthouse, holding them up while wearing a clown costume; and has been able to purchase license plates with the names of some of the judges who he holds responsible; he pays every ticket he is given – daily, if necessary – but will not silence himself.
Elersic adds signs to the house whenever he has the money to buy paint and board (his earliest sign, painted on canvas, shows marked signs of deterioration). With the amount of time and money he has spent painting the signs, he says he could have painted the entire house three times over. He lives with his sister, Cathy, who has a small apartment at the rear of the house; she refuses to let him adorn the façade of her section with his signs. Elersic is not worried about running out of space, however; he has painted and repainted vehicles that he owns, including cars and boats; “give me a mountain,” he says, “and that mountain would be covered.” The signs are colorful and well-painted; some are painted on boards in the colors of the American flag, and some are painted with standard horizontal lettering while others are painted with vertical lettering. He works flat so the paint won’t run, marking off the lines for his texts with masking tape. The total effect is colorful and compelling.
Elersic’s signs chronicling his battles with the local L.E.O.s (Law Enforcement Officials) are visible from the road, and if he is at home, he is happy to discuss the various court cases with visitors and show them his work.
Update August, 2016: Elersic’s sister, who lived in the rear apartment, had insisted that he not adorn her area nor the entire rear of the house. However, she moved out in 2016 and the apartment is now for rent; this provides the artist with the potential to almost double his signage.
~Jo Farb Hernández
Map & Site Information
Geneva, Ohio, 44041 us
Latitude/Longitude: 41.7969305 / -80.9369484