Bio: Louise Chen
Louise Chen, also known as “Ouizi,” is a muralist based in Detroit, MI. She studied drawing and printmaking at the University of California (Santa Cruz), but her artwork also involves the use of metal fabrication, woodworking, sewing and painting. Chen’s pieces are mostly inspired by the patterns found in nature, especially plantlife.
Inspiration: “Eleven” by Sandra Cisneros
My “Totem Pillars” are inspired by a work in which a boy talks about experiencing every age within himself up to his eleventh birthday, and how he wished to embody all the different emotions and physical reactions associated with them. He feels conflicted, because although language and social constructs ask him to be one particular way, he wishes to be a more whole version of himself, more than just eleven years old.
The totem pillars are a celebration of the way cultures represent themselves in the language of ornament, with design inspired by many different cultures spanning the world. Drawing from original imagery, but with no license to do so other than artistic, this totem formation represents a defiant act of being and feeling like everything all at once. This overload of ornament transforms the pillars into architectural objects fit for a palace or temple. In the environmental context that suggests entry or passage (freeway overpass and nature hike), the pillars become a shrine, an invitation to the public to enter an experience of belonging anywhere and being anyone.
Bio: Katy Kosman
Katy Kosman is a 27-year-old visual artist, hailing from Cleveland, Ohio. Kosman mainly works with illustration, and is a part of Canopy Collective, a group representing 60 artists from Cleveland and around the country. She currently lives in Westlake with her mom and her dog, Fox.
Inspiration: “5 Dollar Bill” by Dorothy West
In the story, a young girl has a complicated relationship with her parents, in which she learns hard life lessons at a young age. I related to this story and applied it to my own upbringing. My father and I had a complicated relationship like the one in the story, and he died when I was fairly young. Nonetheless, he taught me most of the lessons I use now in my everyday life. The father in the story seemed to be a distant and practical man, much like my own father, who bestowed this mentality on me. These lessons have served me in being a practical adult. The girl in the story is trying to find herself, just like I have in my life, and this is a verbalization of a way in which I have done this, just like the main character in the story.
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.