Today’s featured artist is Merrit Wallace. Wallace was born in Japan in 1963 and was an artist at the Creative Growth Center in California from 2005 to 2013. Creative Growth is a non-profit studio art center that supports the work of artists with disabilities. Wallace’s lively drawings begin as black and white lines and end up covered with bursts of spontaneous colors and movement.
In the below video, the artist describes his work and process:
CGAC Featured Artist: Merritt Wallace from Michael Hall on Vimeo.
Michelle Stitzlein is an artist from Ohio who works with found and recycled objects. She uses unexpected materials to create her artwork, such as bottle caps, garden hoses, shards of china, old piano keys, and license plates. She has a great sense of color and design and knows how to transform the discarded items into intricate details that make her work come alive. Her butterfly and moth series is striking.
Michelle is also the author of two art books for children, Bottlecap Little Bottle Cap and Cool Caps! Her website has several great examples of bottle cap art projects.
Artist Bill Miller was a founding member of Industrial Arts Co-Op in Pittsburgh, a group that created large-scale sculptures made of discarded materials found at abandoned industrial sites. The goal of the installations was to bring attention to the damaging impact of industrialization.
While constructing the sculptures, Miller came across an unusual art material: vintage linoleum scraps. He has been creating linoleum masterpieces for over 20 years. His collage-like linoleum paintings are made using only recycled and vintage flooring, no extra paint is added.
Miller’s artwork has been exhibited in several museums and galleries. To view more of his work, please visit his website at billmillerart.com.
For the past several years, I have been a fan and advocate of studio programs for artists with disabilities. I have had the honor of visiting and volunteering with several studio programs in the U.S. The work being done by many of these organizations helps de-stigmatize developmental disabilities and mental illness. The participants are given the encouragement and resources they need to develop their own artistic visions and build confidence while gaining a supportive community.
I recently came across the work of Jonathan Campos. I love the repetition and color in his work. Campos is a participant at Pure Vision Arts (PVA) in New York City. Pure Vision Arts was started in 2002 by a non-profit called The Shield Institute and is dedicated to helping individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities find opportunities for artistic expression. Their website includes a gallery of other talented artists worth checking out.
Image Credits: © Jonathan Campos, Pure Vision Arts
1) Birds, color pencil on paper, 18″ x 24″. 2016
2) Cats, color pencil on paper, 18″ x 24″, 2016
3) Amphibians, color pencil on paper, 18″ x 24″. 2016
Emma Kunz (1892-1963) was a Swiss artist, healer, and researcher. Kunz’s intricate large-scale drawings were made with colored pencils on graph paper. She created each drawing using a pendulum and a form of divination, called radiesthesia. Her artwork was part of her research on vibrational energy, and it also served as a healing tool for her patients. Kunz would often have her patients sit or lie near the drawings in order to help them with the healing process.
Kunz was also interested in finding alternative remedies to help her patients. In 1941, after working with a seriously ill patient, Kunz discovered the healing properties of a rock found in the Roman Quarry of Würenlos, Switzerland. She named the rock AION A. The powder form of the rock was used to treat her patients with inflammatory issues and other illnesses. AION A is still sold as an alternative medicine in Switzerland.
Kunz’s first exhibition, The Case of Emma Kunz, was held after her death. Today, there is a museum dedicated to her work and life in Würenlos, Switzerland.
Image Credit: Emma Kunz
Sources: Emma Kunz Museum
Gayleen Aiken (1934-2005) was a self-taught artist from Barre, Vermont. Many of her artworks feature a family of 24 imaginary cousins called the Raimbilli Cousins. She invented them when she was a child.
A review in the New York Times from 2013 aptly describes her work:
“Carefully detailed and quirkily annotated pencil and crayon drawings of musical instruments, rural homes in zooming perspective and the inner workings of a granite gravestone company, whose raw material comes from nearby quarries, exude infectious curiosity about the world around her. There is much commotion in her works.”
Aiken passed away in 2005, leaving behind a large body of artwork, including handmade books, paintings, and cardboard figures. To view more of her work, visit the Gayleen Aiken Collection page at GRACE (Grass Roots Art and Community Effort).
1) Grace ©Gayleen Aiken, From the book Entertaining
2) Grace ©Gayleen Aiken, Ye Old Back Yard
3) Grace ©Gayleen Aiken, Our Music Room