Cultivate Artists

A curated collection of artists who work with Cultivate, as well as local and regional artists.  The featured artist program at Cultivate serves to share the artist's work and process with the community, inviting them to understand how and why an artist creates the work they do, to market and promote artists, and to connect artists to each other and to our network of curators, artists, and gallery owners.  


These artists are curated together and represent the work that we exhibit at Cultivate.  The artists are selected in January and June, and scheduled out for the six-month period.  If you are interested in being one of Cultivate featured artists, please email

David Nguyen
David Nguyen artist Grand Rapids.jpeg

Briefly describe your work or share your artist statement

My name is David Nguyen, at times I run experiments where If I put this pen, brush, pencil, pastel, or stylus on this usually white stationary, what will be the outcome? I enjoy having my time with them, art pieces done, finite in its medium, and maybe give it to another form, continuing its life, where I was once more limited. Presented here are a few pastel, oil, photographed, then digitally painted on pieces, some of my favorites. Other one of a kind art projects I also do are by the process of ebru, a Turkish methodology where one adds teaspoons of seaweed to a tub of water, thickening the water, and dropping paint onto the surface, only to wipe it away with your medium of choice, the paint having imprinted onto the surface of the medium. I have also added on top of some of these pieces, not always, but by painting on them with acrylics. I studied at Kendall College of Art and Design in 2018 for a semester before my mental health challenges came to face forcing me to drop out of my courses, I still consider myself self taught. I make my art out of Grand Rapids, MI, so far I have had pieces showing at “The Haunt” art venue, and the “2021 National Veterans Creative Art Festival” in Battle Creek, MI, taking first place for two separate submissions in two separate mediums. There is not a theme to them necessarily, other than time, some adventure and what can come of it. So enjoy with me at my Ballyhoo, the fruits of my labor for the past few years. 

How do you go about beginning a new piece? Do you have it planned or is it more spontaneous? 

My art is rather spontaneous, really experiments conducted with a stylus, brush, pencil, oil stick, or marker on whatever medium, paper, digital, canvas, and I’m looking into the wood for future works. In my past I would often just make a mark, do that again, usually a face soon appears, a profile, a gesture, then I proceed with the body. I do have certain ideas inspired by waking life or under the magic of the amazing realm of dreams that I bring back to the canvas.  

David Nguyen Artist 3.jpeg

Eve in Eden
Sculpture, Ebru, Digital art 

Images courtesy of the artist 

David Nguyen artist 2.jpeg

Woman Outside
Digital art

Images courtesy of the artist 

What is a barrier that you, as an artist, overcame? 

In my short time as a legitimate art student, we didn't really get to go over many drawing or painting methods, so I really have to muster up the courage and go out of my realm of comfort if I want to grow. It's challenging, but the more experiments I run, the more success I find in them, and the more I'm willing to run them, growing from the experience. 


What is your go-to music when you're working on art?


I've started doing most of my work in coffee shops, so the music I hear is not really up to me. I enjoy the spontaneity of that. But when I'm at home or with headphones in, my tastes vary in every way.


What do you strive for as an artist? What form of recognition is important for you? 

I really strive for captivating. I hope to be so intimate and authentic to myself as I'm working to captivate myself and reveal glimpses of what being alive can mean. I want to be inspired, and I feel like if that can happen to me, well, myself and others are really not that different, I would just like to share some more familiarity even on abstract things, being us sharing a gaze on a piece, words as to what it feels like to them, time, a moment, space, anything. 

David Nguyen artist.jpeg

Untitled #1
Digital art 

Images courtesy of the artist 

What advice would you share for artists? Share something that you have learned along the way. 

Something that I've learned along the way is, nothing can mean anything, so be willing to create.  Pablo Picasso once said, "Inspiration exists, it just has to find you working."

What is a work of art that is an inspiration to you? 

Art of all kinds inspires me - Anime, the Impressionists, the Golden age of Disney, all kinds of films, music videos, late 1800, and early 1900's paintings. I also really enjoy seeing art from people who don't often draw too, or who don't call themselves artists, their journeys are most times refreshing to see. 

Who are three working artists that you love and would recommend? 


Jacob Joe Knapp is a Grand Rapids, Michigan native. His work really reflects on really everything from perfection, to war, the immediate space it's in, the list goes on. @jacobjoeknapp on IG

My second artist recommendation would be Dakota Brinkert, he is also a Grand Rapids, Michigan native but through life has been traveling the world with his camera, capturing wonderful moments of planet earth and different societies. @dakotabrinkert on IG