I am Derrick Hollowell, born February 23, 1965, to Patricia Hollowell and Rochelle Atkins. During my formative years, I was raised by my mother and maternal grandparents. As a child, I split my interests between sports and art. Because I was a good student, I advanced directly from 4th to 6th grade. I was greatly influenced by my uncle, James Hollowell, who was studying art at Grand Valley State College.
During one of my Rocket League football games when I was about 10, my uncle noticed that I was running with a slight limp. My mother noticed the same change in my gait while watching me play later that summer. This change led to numerous medical visits, examinations and diagnoses. A specific medical conclusion was never confirmed. Eventually, spinal cord surgery was attempted to correct my disability.
After unsuccessful attempts at rehabilitation, I continued my education and graduated from Creston High School in Grand Rapids as class president. I went on to GVSU, earning a bachelor’s degree in fine arts with an emphasis on printmaking. I also began a prolific music career based on my exposure to hip-hop music in the early 1980s. My group, Euro-K, signed a record label deal and filmed a music video for MTV.
I have traveled much of the U.S. to promote music and art and have dabbled in radio broadcasting, voiceover and acting. Over the past few years, I have been heavily involved in youth mentoring and community building. I worked as program director for the Hattie Beverly Tutoring Center and was lead youth instructor for the Grand Rapids Art Museum and Creation House. I currently operate a community art gallery (The Gallery at 742 Franklin) and serve on the board of directors for several community-based organizations.
Artistically, I continue to grow exponentially. Along with constant demands for portrait work, I am exploring new areas of expressionist line drawing and absorbing new influences to complement my long-time affection for Japanese printmaking, impressionism and German expressionism. In terms of new ground, I am blending my interests in hip-hop music with visual interpretation. I plan to continue to influence young people through the arts and build community through art- and education-based economics.