Art Beat

A weekly look at creativity, arts, and culture in southwest Michigan, hosted by Zinta Aistars.

Fridays in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

Sy Ellens

It’s easy to recognize a painting by Sy Ellens. He paints with a unique aerial perspective, as if the viewer looks down upon the earth from the heavens. The land is dotted with trees, a patchwork quilt of farmland, broken up by winding rivers and sparkling lakes. His colors are bright: warm and fiery reds, oranges and yellows, calming blues, greens, and purples.

Conrad Kaufman

Wherever you turn in Kalamazoo, you’re bound to find a large and colorful mural painted on the side of a building, brightening up a lobby, or creating a wonderland inside a children’s library. These immense paintings are the work of Conrad Kaufman. He also creates unique pieces of furniture as well as two-dimensional works out of papier mâché.

Milo Gladstein

Author and journalist Dean Kuipers says place can change us. It is us, he says, and when we neglect or destroy the natural world around us, we abuse ourselves as well as nature.

Carissa Russell

Caitlin Horrocks has moved from piano keyboard to the one used by writers. Her story collection, This is Not Your City, was a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice and a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers selection. Her new novel, The Vexations, published in July by Little-Brown, has already gained critical acclaim, including a nod from Oprah. It’s a historical novel about the eccentric French composer, Erik Satie (1866-1925).

BJ Enright

Joe Sacksteder believes that all art forms meld. He works in several mediums—music, literature, and filmmaking. He’s also the director of creative writing at Interlochen Center for the Arts.