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 hello@cultivategrandrapids.org.

Keemo
he/him
keemo.jpg

Briefly describe your work or share your artist statement

My work focuses primarily on the abstract figure and portrait paintings that explore relationships and the connections between communication, love, nature, the mind, and the heart. 

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

I rely on feeling and intuition throughout the entire process. There is rarely a plan with regard to what the finished piece will look like. I think of painting much like a healthy conversation. There is a constant back and forth between myself and the piece with no premeditated outcome. 

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'There is a Poem in Here'

Acrylic paint, ink, canvas

2021

Image courtesy of the artist

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"Portrait of all things now and forever"

Acrylic paint, ink, canvas

2021

Image courtesy of the artist

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

Confidence. Self-doubt can be the artist's biggest nemesis. Well, at least it is for me it is. There is no right answer or correct path in pursuing an art life. You often find yourself alone in your endeavors. When self-doubt creeps in (and it will!) I have learned it is important to acknowledge it and move forward. Having the confidence to recognize self-doubt as a natural feeling and not be captivated by it has been my key to moving forward as an artist. I suppose this can also be true if we apply it to the rest of our lives.

 

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

 

Lately, I have been working mostly in silence. I have been enjoying the peace that I find there in front of the canvas. If I do listen to something, it is likely jazz or classical. I tend to stay away from music with words because they often get in the way of my thought process.

 

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

My only goal as an artist is to get to the end of it all and feel like I lead a genuine, authentic, creative life. If this is my guiding principle, my hope is that the art I create will also be genuine, authentic, and creative. 
As far as recognition, it is nice to hear when others have a positive, emotional connection to my work. I like the idea that art has the capacity to reach beyond standard communication and bridge positive emotional connections between people. 

 

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"The Lovers Large"

Acrylic paint, ink, canvas
2021

Images courtesy of the artist 

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"A Lesson in Humanity" 
Acrylic paint, ink, canvas
2021

Images courtesy of the artist 

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

Creating art is one of the rare things that you can do in your life, in which, you create all the rules. You get to define the what, how, where, when, and why of everything you create. There are no right or wrong answers. Every detail is up to you, the artist. 


So, make the art that defines you. 

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

I don’t really look to other works of art for inspiration. Don’t get me wrong. I love all kinds of art but it rarely surfaces in my own work. I tend to be more inspired by individuals rather than the work they produce. I love to meet people who forge their own creative path and work hard to remain true to it. 


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

Three artists I have enjoyed for many years for the reason above are: 
Mike Egan
Matt Sesow
John McKie
I also really enjoy the work of local artist Jarrod Napierkowsk: Brambles Woodwork 

Keemo artist balancing-nature-a.jpg

"Balancing Nature" 

Acrylic paint, ink, canvas

2021

Image courtesy of the artist

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"Finding my Way"
Acrylic paint, ink, canvas
2021

Images courtesy of the artist