Meet Steven Rainey, a Grand Rapids Artist Taking the Violence Out of Weapons

by jennifer

This week my Grand Rapids Press column is about Steven Rainey, a Grand Rapids artist who I met a while back at the fabric store where he works.

A recent Ferris State University Kendall College of Art and Design grad with a BFA in printmaking, Rainey juggles art with a full-time work schedule. He’s been working on a collection of screen printed fabric weapons and also uses his prints to embellish the messenger bags he sews.

I visited Rainey during a recent weekend printing session. He was printing images of his friends for a machine embroidered quilt he’s making. Now, I’m itching to get into screen printing myself.

I have yet to purchase official screen printing supplies. However, Steven gave me some ideas about similar techniques to try out and share with readers. Turns out all you need is an embroidery hoop and a little bit of sheer polyester fabric to make a screen.

We tried using contact paper to make a stencil, but found freezer paper worked much better. You can find the directions to make your own freezer paper stencils in this previous post.

And in case you’re wondering, Steven is the artist who inspired my Gunslinger Apron. After seeing the holstered gun patches he printed and stitched to his jeans, I asked to buy a couple patches to use as pockets for my new apron. The resulting apron is the most artistic and disturbing ones I’ve made so far. (Thanks for agreeing to collaborate, Steven. That was fun)

If you’re interested in Steven’s work, you can contact him via e-mail. Or, better yet, go meet him in person if you’re local. He’s one of the artists who will be making art during the UICA’s Live Coverage event from 6:30-11 p.m. Saturday, March 14. Those who attend will be able to watch artists make art and then bid on their favorite pieces. The luckiest folks will go home with a new piece of art for their collections. Call 616-454-7000 for ticket information.

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