A typical day in the life of Miranda Krajniak involves an Uber through the stop-and-go traffic on Monroe Center Street, asking her driver what they think of the bright, yet stormy mural of an angelic, silver woman outside the window. After giving their full opinion, the driver learns exactly who their passenger is: the executive director of the Urban Institute of Contemporary Art, and she has been on the forefront of most of Grand Rapids’ major street art installations over the past five years.
When it comes to enjoying a concert, keep the iPhone in your pocket and leave the photos to the pros. A great photographer captures the essence of an artist and those moments within the sweat and reverberation while watching from the floor. Count Adeshola Makinde among the best of those with a lens. Visceral, kinetic and undeniably dope, his photos are a bridge to connecting with these larger-than-life icons. Sometimes a peek behind the veil, always fully immersive, he has a knack for coaxing the X-factor out of his subjects.
Dayna Walton hasn’t even graduated from Kendall College yet and she’s already leading workshops at local art hub Lions and Rabbits. She has more than 8,000 Instagram followers and her work is being sold online as Solstice Handmade. Between textile work, printmaking, illustration and graphic design, Walton is already making a name for herself in the West Michigan art and maker scene.
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.
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