This Local Artist’s Work Encourages Others to Own Their Individuality

NKU student Mo Herbe brings her abstract—and admittedly odd—art to City Flea. And with it, a message of staying true to you.

Mo Herbe’s artistic style is anything but ordinary. She’s known this since the eighth grade, when she proudly stood in front of her class sporting an original handmade outfit and announced the beginning of Odd Little Me. But it wasn’t until 2015 that the 20-year-old Cincinnati native found her whimsical abstract style that fuels her online shop—and its fitting name—today.

Photograph by Mo Herbe

Through Odd Little Me, Herbe has overcome her personal insecurities about her art. “Once I started to find my style, I wasn’t super confident in it because a lot of people were doing technical work,” she says. “People would make fun of me or put me down for it.” Thanks to the support and encouragement from her high school art teacher, Herbe found the confidence to launch her online shop in 2017 and has been selling her designs ever since. “It’s cool, because your art grows with you,” she says. “My artwork has grown to be more mature as I’ve grown to be more mature.”

Drawing inspiration from stand-up comedians and American filmmaker and artist David Lynch, Herbe embraces eccentricity in her art. Figures with elongated limbs and geometrical facial features are depicted in awkward social situations, body positivity messages, and puns. “It’s fun to create stories of these weird little people that I make in their own little world,” she says. The NKU painting student’s artistic world isn’t limited to living on canvas; she also creates art digitally, prints her work on clothing and accessories, and has even painted a mural on a wall behind Notre Dame Academy, her alma mater.

Photograph by Mo Herbe

Critics of Herbe’s artwork have only helped her learn to be unapologetically herself. “I shouldn’t let what other people think affect what I want to do, because life is too short to just listen to other people and hold yourself back,” she says. “So it’s really important to be proud of what you do and who you are.” The young artist hopes her art spreads positivity to others, and most importantly, helps to ensure “no one feels alone.”

Herbe’s world of simplistic and quirky abstract artwork debuts at Washington Park’s City Flea this Saturday, August 17, where she’ll be selling a wide range of items, from bralettes to earrings to painted purses. “I want to have stuff for everyone,” Herbe says. “I want to be able to somehow take my awkwardness but make people connect with it.” When it comes to Odd Little Me, nobody will feel like the odd one left out.

Click through our gallery to view more of Mo Herbe’s work:

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