The LGBTQ+ artist in Michigan Jury Panel
Inspired by nature, humanity, and the exploration of how the two are connected, Sara’s work is playful and vibrant, with moody undertones. The presence of this duality in the Midwest provides her with a constant source of material. As a multimedia artist, Sara works digitally, as well as utilizing more traditional techniques with acrylic, gouache, and watercolor paints. Simple shapes, lines, and experimentation with patterns give her illustrations a whimsical feel intended to bring joy and reflection.
Often perplexed about how she landed her dream job, Sara is the most self-deprecating Leo you’ve ever met. An avid feminist and mental health advocate, these themes frequently present themselves in her artwork as well.
Alongside her personal artwork, Sara keeps her passion for snail mail alive by owning and operating Dear Ollie, a line of illustrated paper goods and gifts.
When she’s not busy creating, you can find her wandering aimlessly in the woods, consuming pop culture at indescribable speeds, or at home with her husband, two dogs, two cats, and chickens who provide hours of endless entertainment.
Traverse City, MI
Jamie John is a two-spirit trans and queer Anishinaabe and Korean-American multi-disciplinary artist (he/him and they/themme) They are a dually enrolled tribal citizen of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians and the United States of America. A lack of connection with Korean heritage and family and being raised alongside their adopted Olmec/Nahua descendant family, much of early life was full of cultural richness and contrasts. Jamie’s cultural and familial background gives a profound sense of kinship and belonging as well as what it means to connect to the land, to our ancestry, and to each other.
From early on, art has been a way of navigating and communicating the complexities of colonialism, Indigenous worldviews, gender variance, and the intergenerational capacity for trauma and joy. The viewing of Jamie’s work begins with the understanding that we do not live in a post-colonial society and the Indian Wars never ended. The responsibilities Jamie has to their community(ies), kin, and culture is a mindset that extends throughout their body of work. Intertwining personal narrative with historical memory and cultural loss provides a window into Indigeneity in the 21st century. With works tackling topics of imperialism, colonial genocide, and historical consciousness Jamie hopes to uplift and emphasize stories of Indigenous resistance, kinship, and collective survival.
Grand Rapids, MI
Nick Nortier is an illustrator, mural painter, and printmaker, but also enjoys woodworking, performing spoken word poetry, and the overall process of making creative work. Growing up, his main interests were skating and drawing, two hobbies that would eventually merge into one. From skating, he learned to look at the environment in new and creative ways, which would end up influencing how his work interacts with the area that it’s placed in. He believes the role of street art and murals is to be an art form that is accessible to everyone.
Old Growth Creative is the business name for artist and muralist Nick Nortier. It comes from the admiration of old-growth forests and the reverence that comes from seeing something existing in the natural world that hasn’t been altered by human hands. Due to deforestation these forests are increasingly rare and symbolize a need for us to protect our planet and the life that lives here.