Meet The Makers: WALRUSNovember 24, 2021
Though we miss the businesses we’ve lost in the past year and a half, new doors are still opening, and we can support these doers and dreamers in the place of ones we no longer can. WALRUS is a new art gallery and consignment shop in the Camden neighborhood of North Minneapolis. Michelle Courtright, founder, and owner, opened WALRUS to champion local artists and change your view on purchasing art. The pieces sold at WALRUS are affordable, local, and anything but stuffy. Explore more about WALRUS including their story, upcoming events, and even how to submit your own art at walrus.style!
WALRUS Featured Makers
Michelle Courtright, Founder and Gallery Owner of WALRUS
This past March, Michelle fulfilled her dream of opening an affordable, locally sourced gallery in North Minneapolis. “I’ve always liked to do art with my kids,” and now, she’s combined a hobby with her desire to build a community, support local artists, and offer affordable art in the Twin Cities.
Igor Dukic, Fine Art Painter
While most artists recall being interested in art as far back as they can remember, Igor takes it one step further. His first memory is watching his mom paint, and thinking, “If I could paint like that, I’d paint all the time.” He didn’t think he was talented as a child because he couldn’t paint realistically. Flash forward to now, and Igor’s abstract paintings will make you feel lots of feelings all at once. What feelings though, we cannot tell you, and neither can Igor, as he believes that it’s not the artist’s job to tell you what to feel, and that art is meant to make everyone feel differently.
“When you let go, that’s when the magic happens.” Igor Dukic says everything in life is inspiring when you stop and truly look at it. “When you are present, there’s so much to see. You become like a little kid again. That’s where life happens, in the present moment. The only place it can happen.” You can explore Igor’s artwork at his website, www.igordu.com.
Suyao Tian, Watercolor Artist, Designer, and Independent Curator
Suyao is fascinated by the snippets of memories we get from our youth that make us feel something, even if we can’t remember what or why. “My creative process is to extract fragments of memory and separate, reorganize, and integrate them.” Suyao’s artwork is at the intersection of memories and fantasy. Her watercolors will make you remember and reimagine.
“I was born during the one-child-only generation of China in the ‘80s. Growing up, I hadn’t any siblings, I couldn’t have pets, and making friends was limited by rules, which inhibited my communication and confidence. As a child, I often caught all kinds of small bugs and put them in jars. I spoke to them and played with them – they were the only listeners in my childhood. Now I still often talk to these creatures, but instead of putting them in the jar, I put them into my creations. They become a symbol and language of my own.” Suyao is currently working on a mural for uptown, has a solo show at the Hallberg Center for the Arts, and is working on commission projects and upcoming shows. To see more of her work, go to www.instagram.com/suyaotian.
Crystal Lynea Colbert Brown, Erotic Poetry Greeting Card Author
If you thought you’d never learn about erotic poetry in an eyebobs blog, do we have a surprise for you! Self-dubbed queen of Freudian slips, Crystal Lynea Colbert Brown sees the untapped joy in the things we do not say out loud. Her response? Bring out those smiles through playful and cheeky greeting cards. Crystal has been a writer all of her life and found that whenever she wrote things in the erotic vein, she felt inclined to leave it short and sweet. Somebody made a suggestion to her, “Why don’t you just put it on a card?” And thus, her business – Tha Horny Housewife – was born. (She warns you to make sure to spell it ‘T-H-A’ when searching, to make sure you don’t get something you’re not looking for.) Crystal was featured in the 2018 Seattle Erotic Arts Festival annual literary anthology and has been printing her cards since then. “I haven’t seen anything else out there like what I’m doing.” Discover her cards at www.instagram.com/thahornyhousewife.
Ron Brown, Multi-Disciplinary Artist, Focusing in Afro-Futurism
Multi-disciplinary artist, art teacher, head curator at WALRUS and Advanced Curator at WALRUS, Ron Brown is fully immersed in art and art cultivation. On the first day of kindergarten, Ron remembers being in the classroom but not wanting to be put inside a box. Doodling and drawing was not a distraction, it was something that helped him focus and learn. Ron grew up in Gary, Indiana, and had many Black teachers who supported his way of learning. He looks back fondly on these educators and now, as a teacher himself, gives that same supportive, passionate energy to the kids in his classroom. He wants the kids he now teaches to know: You are the creator and there are no mistakes when making art.
Besides WALRUS, Ron’s work can be found at Martin Patrick 3 in downtown Minneapolis, From The Roots hair salon in St. Paul, and more. You can see Ron’s art at www.artofronbrown.com or check out his Instagram page at www.instagram.com/afroanimeillustrator_ronbrown to see “a personal sliver of who he is.”