Bio: Jasper Wong
Jasper Wong is an artist, illustrator, and curator, best known for his art as a unique clash of Asian-influenced pop culture on paper. Jasper has exhibited worldwide, and he has been selected on multiple occasions by Archive magazine as one of the 200 Best Illustrators worldwide. He has also scored press in multiple publications, and he was recently chosen as one of the HB100, a list of Hypebeast’s 100 most influential figures in the industry, which included the likes of Pharrel, Jay Z and Kanye West.
Jasper is also the founder of a gallery in Hong Kong called ABOVE SECOND and another creative venue in Honolulu called LOFT IN SPACE. Jasper is also the creator and lead director of POW! WOW! HAWAII, a non-profit organization of contemporary artists committed to community enrichment through the creation of art outreach programs, educational programs and engaging the community in the creation and appreciation of art.
This piece is a collaboration with Jeff Gress of POW!WOW! HAWAII.
Fuku and Zafa. Those are the words of the day. The excerpt from “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” is all about luck. In order to survive, we employ our desperate ways to gain as much good luck as possible and our superstitious methods to ward off the bad. In the Dominican Republic, they called it Fuku and Zafa, Fuku being the bad, and Zafa being the good. This artistic concept is all about that; it’s about the inevitable bad luck that happens, which is represented by the broken down cars. They are populated by anamorphic animals in the form of cats (usually symbols of bad luck) and rabbits (symbols of good luck with their amputated limbs). The idea is to create a fun scene that appeals to a wide range of demographics, but I’m hoping children will find it especially amusing.
Faith47 is an internationally-acclaimed visual artist from South Africa who has been applauded for her ability to resonate with people around the world. Through her work, Faith47 attempts to disarm the strategies of global realpolitik, in order to advance the expression of personal truth. In this way, her work is both an internal and spiritual release that speaks to the complexities of the human condition, its deviant histories and existential search.
Channeling the international destinations that have been imprinted on her after two decades of interacting with urban environments as one of the most renowned and prolific muralists, she continues to examine our place in the world.
Using a wide range of media intended for gallery settings, her approach is explorative and substrate appropriate, including found and rescued objects, shrine construction, painting, projection mapping, video installation, printmaking and drawings.
The seeds for Faith47’s works begin with a raw intimacy. Exploring the duality of human relationships, her imagery carries the profound weight of our interconnectedness.
While some people see a dilapidated building as proof that the world is purging itself of the unwanted, Faith47 is reclaiming these forgotten elements with a sensuality of her own and presenting them with a virtuoso’s skill-set.
Inspiration: “Language as a Boundary” by Wole Soyinka
My mural is metaphorically depicting a scene that draws symbolic inspiration for the written work, “Language as a Boundary” by Wole Soyinka. It looks at language as a lived phenomenon, with its dualistic function of providing necessary cultural self-affirmation on an individualistic and cultural level. However, this work will also simultaneously act as one of the key factors in embedding the separatist definition in social consciousness, further solidifying colonial boundaries and obstructing the humanist search for a common understanding. Human communication and understanding is a key element to social cohesion.
Bio: Ellen Rutt
Ellen Rutt is a Detroit-based multidisciplinary artist and designer. Things that fuel her creativity are: puns, breakfast tacos, architecture, patterns, talking to myself, bike rides, all my fellow Detroit creatives who are always making strange and wonderful things, Sriracha, Instagram, eavesdropping, the internet, laughing all the time, ceilings, floors and thrifting.
In her TED talk, Adichie describes many instances when she, or people she met, made generalizations about culture based on a singular experience or limited knowledge. This type of prejudice, generalizing entire cultures without adequate data, or an unwillingness to see past a restricted viewpoint, “robs people of their humanity,” Adichie asserts. Her TED talk rang true for me on a variety of levels, both as a Detroiter, and as a young female artist. My decision to move to Detroit four years ago was met with skepticism, confusion, and fear by almost everyone I encountered. The news sources offered an onslaught of grim crime reports and heartbreaking housing foreclosures, and an unemployment rate that more than doubled the national average. And yet, within all of that darkness, were whispers of an opportunity to explore creative, alternative ways of living. After several years, my sense of home in Detroit grew solid, and I felt a sense of pride in being able to tell a different, more robust narrative about the city to my family, friends, and people I met while traveling.
My mural Patchwork Cleveland is a collection of patterns is a compilation of textural ‘stories,’ each contributing to the intricate and intertwined plurality of the growing, diverse city. It’s with great excitement and an unquenchable thirst to learn that I approach Cleveland, ready to share stories and expand my perspective.
Bio: Darius Steward
Darius Steward is a visual artist, and educator currently living in Cleveland, Ohio. He graduated from the University of Delaware, obtaining a Master of Fine Art degree in May 2010. His undergraduate work was completed at the Cleveland Institute of Art where he had a concentration in Drawing and Painting. Since graduating from the University of Delaware, Darius has shown paintings at the William Busta Gallery, Zygote Press, FORUM Artspace, Kent State, Cleveland Clinic and has also had an article written up about his achievements in the Call & Post. In addition to that, Darius also has a collection of his work at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, the Cleveland Clinic, The Presidents Council, The University of Delaware, and has recently became a recipient of the 2016 Creative Workforce Fellowship. Currently, Darius teaches at Saint Ignatius High School.
Inspiration: “The Rain” by John Edgar Wideman
I was quickly intrigued in how Wideman described aspects within the scene. He talks about how the banana was the only thing in color and how the gray landscape is even grayer due to the rain; this set up a clear mood that I wanted to utilize in my mural. Yellow, therefore, is the main color within my piece.
I also related to how he is questioning every aspect of the scene. The idea of going on and on, never really arriving to a concrete answer really allows me to get to the key issues. The motion of the swing in the mural illustrates this concept well. I want the audience to feel the mood that Wideman describes.
The image I proposed is a painting of a boy on a swing wearing a bright yellow vest. Everything else in the image is desaturated. He also has two other translucent images of him that overlap his frame, illustrating the movement of the swing.
Bio: Brendan Monroe
Brendan Monroe currently lives and works in Oakland, California with his wife Evah and their cat, Jalapeno. He occasionally takes on illustration commissions, but most of the time, Monroe paints and sculpts for exhibitions. His motto is that it’s imperative to constantly challenge oneself with new ideas and new mediums. Usually, his interpretations of the world are mostly rooted in science, then executed through painting and sculpting, but he also dabbles in other forms of art as well.
Inspiration: “The Boat” by Nam Le
In ‘The Boat’, a dangerous sea voyage takes place. In my piece, the rough sea is translated and turned upside down, paralleling the life of the main characters. The protagonists’ journey is extremely unpredictable and harrowing. They are at the mercy of the sea, but ultimately seem to come under a magical bout of luck. In the mural, the earth as far as one can see is turned on its head. My hope is that the mural also calls to mind an impending storm, which also relates to the overall plot of the story.