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Brownell a self-taught artist

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Artist Devin Brownell talks about his process for creating art. John M. Steiner / The Sun2 / 2

Devin Brownell may best be known in Jamestown as the artist who created the mural on the retaining wall behind the Frank Clemens house in the 400 block of 4th Avenue Southwest, the one visible from the east side of Klaus Park.

Brownell, 22, is a Jamestown High School graduate who is working as a freelance artist, graphic designer and writer, all without having gone to college.

“It has been a work in progress, trying to develop a career off of this (his artwork),” he said.

Brownell said he knew he didn’t want to go to college, he just wanted to start working as an artist. He was born in Minot and before he and his family moved to Jamestown they lived in Minneapolis, Minn.

Brownell said he has always like drawing.

“When I was a young kid in school more of my class assignments were covered in doodles than actual class work,” he said.

He continued developing his art skills in high school and while he wasn’t a particularly driven student, he did think about how he could make a living as an artist. He thought his artwork lent itself to tattoos. He said he messaged a tattoo parlor, Drenched in Ink, on the business’s Facebook page. He said the business owner liked what he saw of Brownell’s work, and Brownell decided to see if he could get an apprenticeship.

While he didn’t get that apprenticeship, he did develop a logo and put together a marketing strategy for the business.

As to how he came to develop and draw a mural for Clemens, another Jamestown artist, Brownell said a few friends approached him about graffiti drawn on the retaining wall.

“It was some pretty distasteful graffiti,” he said.

Brownell’s friends had come up with a project to cover it up. He said Clemens said the graffiti had been covered up before, only to have new graffiti sprout up. His friends came up with designs that would make the wall more appealing.

Brownell said his work on Clemens’s wall has become more of a project to commemorate a friend who died. He said while the work, which is ongoing, hasn’t brought him any direct business, it has helped open some doors for him in the Jamestown art community.

Brownell said he has been meeting with Larry Kopp, the Arts Center director, on creating ideas to promote the Downtown Arts Market, which will be held every Thursday through the summer starting June 7. He said someday he would like have his work included in an exhibit at the Arts Center, but until that day he will keep developing his art and working freelance to pay his bills.

To see some of Brownell’s work, go to http://bit.ly/Dbrownell.

Chris Olson

Hometown: Traverse City, MI College: Northwestern Michigan College and Michigan State University

(701) 952-8454
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