Skating Tree Town – Valerie Le

Skating Tree Town by Valerie Le is a publication that chronicles Ann Arbor’s rich skateboarding history and culture. Using visual design, photography, interviews, and historical archives, this book attempts to synthesize Ann Arbor skate culture and its community for skaters and readers to enjoy. All sales proceeds will be donated to All Girls Skate, an Ann Arbor Skatepark initiative that gives instruction to young female skaters of all experience levels in a welcoming environment. – Valerie Le

You can purchase Skating Tree Town on Valerie’s website and at Olympia Skate Shop (1145 W Michigan Ave #5124, Ypsilanti, MI 48197) as of April 15th.

Bryan Wilson – 1-derful beauty

Artwork by University of Michigan Art and Design Student Bryan Wilson (@bryn art)

“My name is Bryan Wilson and I am a realistic oil painter and digital artist. My art represents my experiences and the people who surround me.”

“My artistic process starts with the creation of a concept and creating sketches based on that concept. Once I create these sketches I would select the sketch I like the most and further develop that sketch and eventually turning the developed sketch into a finished composition.”

“My goal as an artist are to inspire people who aspire to be artist and enter a creative field. I also hope to be able to be able to support myself and be able to create freely.”

Bryan along with oil paintings, has taken his artwork to merchandise design. He currently has items available for purchase on his website that can be found at

Hannah Levine-Drizin’s Artistry

We connected with Ann Arbor-based artist and student Hannah Levine-Drizin and asked her about her process, art and more!

HLD: When I’m making art, especially these illustrations, I get really in the zone. Right now, it’s especially hard for me to find motivation, but my art motivates me. I get excited about seeing something come together, although at the same time it’s kind of scary. One minute what I’m working on looks like trash and then all of a sudden it doesn’t. 

I think when it comes to making these pieces, I really focus on reference photos, which takes up most of my attention. I look back and forth between what I’m creating and what it’s based on. It is great because life can be overwhelming at times, but when I’m creating art, that’s all I’m really thinking about. I also get very excited when I think about people having my art hanging up in their houses.

Some of the pieces are my versions of famous pieces, so I can’t rake all the credit. The woman with the umbrella is a Monet piece I tried in my own style–“Woman with a Parasol turned to the left”. The orange with dancers is based off of a Degas, “Dancers at the Barre”. And the bedroom one is a Van Gogh, “Bedroom at Arles”.

Follow Hannah on Instagram to see more of her work!

All images provided by Hannah Levine-Drizin

Ajay Gallardo- Seattle’s rising

“My name is Ajay (AJ) Gallardo, I was born and raised in and around the Seattle area! Being the first born to a young single mother, I had a lot of time spent to myself. I used this time watching cartoons, playing video games, and playing sports. My mom had always been into drawing and painting during her free times and I think that’s where I was initially influenced. Growing up, I had always been into creating these cartoon characters at home and especially during class. Much of my original inspiration comes from early nickelodeon cartoons, such as Fairly Oddparents and Spongebob. I also took a lot of inspiration from classic Disney cartoons and Studio Ghibili films.

Today, I grab most of my inspiration from my favorite artists, Takashi Murakami and Jean-Michel Basquiat. I also take lots of inspiration from music. Music is such a big part of my day-to-day life, ask anyone who knows me and they’ll tell you how much music means to me. I listen to music of all kinds, to get an idea of what I mainly listen to, my daily listening usually consists of: Smashing Pumpkins, 070 Shake, and Aries. If you take a look at any of my art, you’ll notice my use of colors. Growing up in a city as dull as Seattle, I had an infatuation with the use of colors and how to manipulate combinations and mixtures of colors to get a strong emotion or message across in my art. If I were to explain my style, I would say that I create cartoon inspired characters that represent or influence a particular mood or message that is relevant to the viewer.

COVID-19, similar to almost everyone, has had a tremendous impact on my life. COVID sent me home from Bozeman, MT, where I was living and attending school. Instead of focusing on the inevitable negatives of this pandemic, I’ll focus on the positive aspects of the past year. Spending the last almost year in quarantine has impacted me similar to a lot of people. While in quarantine, I started to create much of my art again and had attempted many different art styles. Because of this, I had met many many people that I am extremely grateful to have met. From other artists on Instagram and Twitter, to many local artists in the Seattle area, I have made many meaningful connections. 

My favorite piece is always my last. When going to make a new piece of art, I always go into it with the mindset of getting better from the last piece. If I don’t believe it was better than the last, nobody will see it.

 In 10 years, I hope to be happy with my work, and having a positive influence over the people who are there to see what I’ve created. I hope to be creating clothing people would love to wear, painting murals across the globe, and just keeping a smile on my viewers’ faces.I don’t want to tell too much and put too much pressure on myself, but right now I’m actively looking to get my first solo mural somewhere in my hometown, Seattle. I also plan to put a website up, where people can purchase prints, stickers, and more!”

Check Ajay out @fizztwizzle on instagram!

Passion, Photography, and Katie Corbett

Katie Corbett is a student and photographer currently pursuing a Spanish and Global Health and Environment focus in the International Studies department at the University of Michigan.

“Photography has been a constant throughout my college experience and has helped me connect with creatives in the fashion industry. Looking forward, I hope to continue pursuing passion projects that incorporate photography.”

Take a scroll to see some of her work.

All images provided by Katie Corbett.

Evan Parness’ Creative Flow

“My art making is mostly fueled by an incessant drive to follow through with whatever creative thought I feel inspired by”. Meet Evan Parness, photographer and current Creative Director of SHEI Magazine.

“The more I say yes to an idea, even when rough and unpolished, the more freedom I find in its ultimate creative expression.” I’ll try to push everything beyond what I’ve tried before, and am always motivated and inspired when collaborating with others who share a similar vision or passion for creating”. His focus when shooting lies in the composition of the image (or, arranging elements of the image to express the goal of the photo).

“Framing is the truest way to articulate your perspective as the creator of your work. Additionally, I’ll try to focus on the expressiveness of the subject, wanting something that feels genuine to them and present in the moment I’m shooting. My favorite work has come from capturing the feeling of something more so than the aesthetic, when it can resonate or make you think about others or yourself or the world around us beyond what’s in frame”.

“The more I say yes to an idea, even when rough and unpolished, the more freedom I find in its ultimate creative expression.”

All images provided at the permission of Evan Parness

Emily Considine, Storyteller

“I want to tell stories, but not necessarily in the literary sense—” Emily Considine is an artist and graphic designer from California. “I feel deeply that narratives and stories are how many people learn to understand each other and emotionally communicate. Drawing comics, cartoons, and illustrated images that feel like snapshots of stories are a way for me to process and express complex emotions or thoughts without having to figure out how to communicate them through words, which feel limiting to me on their own”. Her work focuses on reality–”they usually have some kind of surreal element — but I want the images to feel grounded despite that. Like a place that someone could touch or feel themselves in without it being literally realistic”.

Featured: Gabrielle Mack

 “I love the making process as a whole”, photographer Gabrielle Mack explores the relationships that develop between her and the subject during her shooting process. “Finding a way to bring something to fruition from the very beginning is always a form of exploration”. Shooting film, she says, allows her to maintain an intimate proximity with her images.

All images featured provided by Gabrielle Mack.

Photography by Korrin Dering

Student and photographer Korrin Dering loves to capture people in their differing personalities and style. “I like doing location-based shoots because it makes it easier determining the tone and direction I want to take with my editing”. She cites her inspiration in portraiture and fashion photography from black artists such as Obidi Nzeribe, Ally Green & Breyona Holt. Only 5 months into experimenting with photography, her imagery emits a unique sense with every individual she captures.

All images featured at the permission of Korrin Dering.