Acrylic Alchemist, Paint Practitioner, Engraver, Sculptor
Myke Amend, a wandering spirit for these past many years, fell in love with this city during last year’s ArtPrize, along with his One Girl’s Treasure and Destination1111 showings, and now calls Grand Rapids his home.
Myke began, as most artists do, at an early age, winning many All-City-Art Expos in his grade school and high school years with his intricate pen and ink drawings of mythical and otherworldly creatures.
His very first paintings were on jackets – painting album covers and original art in acrylic on denim and leather for himself, friends, and eventually customers.
He graduated to painting on wood panels and on canvas, showing at Dark Arts Expos and other alternative arts events as he studied at University of Cincinnati, laid bricks, cleaned stables, drove tractors, worked in metal fabrication, tended bar, DJed darkwave dance nights, promoted music events, and/or worked at the advertising firms. Eventually, he left his 15 years in commercial design to paint full-time. From art shows in LA to comic conventions in PA to horror cons in DC, it was in this time that he met his fiancee and fellow artist Bethalynne Bajema, who eventually brought him from Massachusetts to her childhood home of Grand Rapids, MI.
Since then, Myke and Beth have appeared mostly as the guests of horror conventions, comic book conventions, steampunk conventions, and fantasy/alternative realities conventions, while shipping their artworks to museums and galleries nationwide.
Self-educated in a great many things, through books, the web, by taking new jobs to learn new skills, or by just diving in, Myke has over the years worked in many artistic mediums: charcoal, graphite, inks, oils, acrylics, watercolors, digital, woodcarving, art carpentry, metal, polymer clay, drypoint/intaglio, stone, and even skin & ink. He prides himself not only on his attention to detail within his works, but attention to detail in every step along the way, from choosing the wood panel to surface preparation to image captures and printing… constantly researching and looking for new and better ways to make everlasting works of art through the best materials and best processes.
If there is anything he cannot do, he will learn; As a result, Myke is prone to spending many sleepless nights or weeks on everything from new programming languages to new printing techniques … whenever he is not burning the midnight oil on his highly obsessive paintings and engravings.
“My goal is to create calm, and beautiful scenes, atop an undercurrent of confusion, rage, terror, fascination, love, wonder, and even jest – all based upon a seemingly random combination of obvious themes, and obscured meanings – for others to interpret, or project upon, as they will.
I seek not only to present a scene, but to place the viewer within the scene – hence landscapes tend to be an integral part of my works, as I endeavor to make the viewer and painting one, offering strange new worlds to explore.”
David & Nan Braun
Kinetic Artists, Makers, Builders
Ogre Workshop and Cogbots, LLC
David and Nan are husband & wife partners in an adventure through steampunk and kinetic art.
They strongly believe that art can be functional as well as beautiful, useful as well as transforming. They not only build art, but encourage others to find ways to express their own artistic aesthetic in all parts of their lives.
Steampunk Machine Sculptor
For now, we’re going to let Todd’s work tell the story. It does so marvelously well anyway.
Greatly appreciated and highly important parts of the device
We have the great fortune of having help and insight from last year’s finalists at the Steampig Experiment: Alicia Vahuelen, Thomas Birks, Megan Brown, and Joachim Jensen. We will also be assisted by the great people at CogBots, who will be assisting us in the creation of many important moving parts, and Kaye Marie Zbiciak who will be assisting us with many of the important aesthetic touches on the structure itself.