In a Midtown studio apartment adorned with paintings on every inch of its walls, Joseph DeCommer, 35, figuratively lives and breathes art. He sleeps in the same room he creates, merging pop culture and realism with critically-endangered species and apocalyptic scenarios. He’s been at it for five years and has been steadily exhibiting his work throughout Michigan and beyond — even as far out as New York City.
The new book Re-Entry: The Orbit Magazine Anthology begins with a quote from magazine founder and publisher Jerry Vile: “I really, really enjoy making people upset. I think that is my art.” By that benchmark, Vile’s entry in this year’s edition of ArtPrize may well be his masterpiece.
Jason Quigno, who specializes in large and small scale stone sculptures, prefers a lasting approach to art. “Part of my mission as an Anishinaabe artist is to tell the stories of my people through stone – to keep them alive, so several thousands of years from now the stories of the Anishinaabe people will still be here in stone,” said Quigno, a Grand Rapids-based artist.
Ryan Brady is an artistic chameleon, capable of creating both comic book-style illustrations and fine-art oil paintings. Born and raised in Portage, Brady moved to Grand Rapids to get his Bachelor’s Degree in Illustration from Kendall College of Art and Design. Since then he’s displayed work at venues across West Michigan, including at Glitter Milk Gallery, Kalamazoo Institute of the Arts, UICA and the Meanwhile Bar, among others. With an upcoming show in November at Have Company (136 S. Division Ave, Grand Rapids), Brady, 28, chatted with Revue about what it takes to be a diverse artist and why the unknown inspires him.
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.
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