Originally from Bull Bay, Jamaica, Joshua Solas moved to Grand Rapids to pursue an education at Kendall College of Art and Design and stayed for the opportunities and artistic community. His work uses a variety of mediums to tell stories and talk about today’s issues. After graduating, Solas launched his own art brand, SolasInk, and continues to create logos, murals and paintings while traveling the world.
For Jordan Wetherbee, design is about dreaming. Wetherbee taught himself art in his late teens while touring the country as a musician and is now a full-time designer and business owner in his hometown of Grand Rapids. When he’s not crafting work for bands like Rend Collective, Switchfoot and Lifehouse, he’s branding companies such as Civil House Coffee and The Michigan Box, as well as co-running his own business, Spacebar.
Born and raised on the southeast side of Grand Rapids, tattoo artist Tiffany “Tiffy” Elmergreen knew she had a passion for art at an early age. She was always drawn to tattooing, but in high school, she saw it as a mere “pipe dream.” When the opportunity to do what she loved finally came, she went for it.
Given a pen, illustrator Jordan K. Gaza can tap into a fundamental human dread. Her work is organic and whimsical, often with a dash of body horror. Imagine Dr. Seuss having a bad mescaline trip in a field of Venus flytraps. Her figures’ soft edges belie a terror that looms in the foreground, ready to penetrate if we let our guard down. She can draw a damn good looking piece of pizza too. A freelance artist in Grand Rapids, Gaza is a true talent who’s had art featured at the UICA, Glitter Milk Gallery and more. Keep your eyes peeled for a graphic novel down the pipeline, or any project from her for that matter. With a signature blend of comfort and unease, her work takes lodge in your mind, and you’ll want it to stay.
Artist, musician and multi-business owner Jared DeMeester was born and raised in Grand Rapids. He works as a freelance designer under the moniker I Tried My Best and is a founder of Stovetop Coffee Roasters, which is opening a café on 944 E. Fulton St. this fall. Over the past few years, DeMeester has started eight companies, played in multiple bands and become an award-winning package designer for Stovetop. But for DeMeester, this is all just the beginning.
A painting is never really done for Jean Stevens.
The Kalamazoo-based artist said she’ll sometimes take down a painting hanging on the wall of her Park Trades Center studio and add a few more brush strokes of color to it.
When you hear the word “embroidery,” you might not immediately think “artform,” but for Carrie Burch of Stitch Folks, embroidery is just as much a medium of art as painting or sculpture. An Ohio native, Burch is a graduate of Biola University in Los Angeles and a five-year resident of Grand Rapids. Her embroidery company, Stitch Folks, has been featured in Magnolia Journal and Better Homes and Gardens. The success of her online Etsy shop continues to grow month to month, bringing in dozens of new orders, each one as exciting as the last.
Popeye, boxing gloves, skulls, speaker cones, even UFOs — references to events and symbols from 20th century popular culture permeate the work of the late Billy Mayer, a well-known and well-liked Hope College art professor.
The idea to document the Work Progress Administration and the Farm Security Administration during the late 1930s through photography was an idea well ahead of its time, according to Michelle Stempien, curator of education for the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts.
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