Artist Anthony Shechtman was born and raised in Grand Rapids and currently spends much of his time at home creating mysterious and beautiful narrative images. A milestone for the painter was when he received his BFA in Illustration from Kendall College of Art and Design — another was his debut exhibition in 2006 at the Division Avenue Arts Cooperative. Since then he’s kept busy with fine arts, illustrations and a series of exhibitions. Here’s what he had to say.
Almost a decade ago, Patrick Hershberger packed up and left West Michigan for the Windy City — this was the genesis of his tag name: Bonus Saves. “I moved from Kalamazoo to Chicago back in 2006 and discovered street art and graffiti,” Hershberger said. “I have a photography background, so I did what came naturally and photographed everything. I had stopped making art other than photography, but seeing all these new art forms on the streets pulled me back in.”
Sarah Jean Anderson, 31, has been at it for a decade — but nailing what “it” is can be a tad difficult. Beyond her life as a Grand Rapids-based painter, she hosts drag shows, comedy events and other artistically festive shindigs. “When I’m not working on art I’m writing comedy or hosting a comedy show,” Anderson said. “I have a character named Rita I’ve been doing since I was 16. I’ve seen recently on YouTube one of my videos was translated into Italian.
Originally a graphic design major, Grand Rapids-based artist Alynn Guerra, 40, has studied everything from painting and sculpture to silversmithing, though her career is now dedicated to printmaking. Her bold and organic work features lively prints of skeletons, plants and other living creatures. According to Guerra, her work “always carries a concrete message, but it is also very likely that you may be able to insert your own story.” Here’s the story she told Revue.
Avenue for the Arts is home to a creative community actively transforming a blighted stretch along South Division Ave. into a destination with profitable businesses, attractions and imaginative events. Curators from three Avenue galleries shed light on what their galleries do for artists and the community.
A friend on social media recently indicated that dating in Grand Rapids is an unhappy prospect because there’s a pretty good chance you’ll run into an ex. Indeed, everyone seems to know everyone, which is why I was surprised that I hadn’t met Keemo. Soon after my first encounter with Keemo’s art I purchased one of his mixed-media works, a stylized portrait in his signature red, turquoise, lime and cadmium yellow — with an enigmatic morsel of text framed within the face.
Salvador Jiménez-Flores says his work is inspired by his multiculturalism and the need to communicate — two pivotal aspects of the artist’s life. Since moving to the United States in 2000 from Jalisco, Mexico he has created several socially-conscious installations as well as studio-based and public art. His work can be seen at the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago, Casa De La Cultura in Texas, Koehnline Museum of Art in Illinois, and locally at the Grand Rapids Art Museum and the Urban Institute for Contemporary Art.
Gallery-goers this month have an opportunity to once again engage with one of Grand Rapids’ most contemporary, vital and forward-looking art collectives as the DAAC takes over The Fed Galleries at KCAD.
Kinky Boots seems to have it all. It’s got Broadway dazzle with a modern edge, joyous drag queens and outrageous footwear — it also champions a message of hope and acceptance.
The production, a six-time Tony Award-winner, centers on protagonist Charlie Price as he inherits a floundering shoe factory after his father’s death. The cause seems hopeless until Charlie runs into drag queen Lola and her glamorous backup troupe, the Angels. The queens introduce Charlie to the niche market of drag boots and create a fabulous new line.
But how did it all begin? We take a look back. Also: a run-down of other summer art events.
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