originally published in the Rapidian
Jewly Warren is a Grand Rapids artist who has spent the last few years exploring collage techniques. She describes herself as a self-taught artist, whose main passions are painting and photography. Active in the arts community in the Detroit metropolitan area for over a decade, she brings her talents as an artist and experiences as a promoter and producer of the arts to Grand Rapids, where she has experienced a renewed interest in helping build and support a creative arts community.
Since moving to Grand Rapids in 2009, Jewly has focused heavily on collage. She views it as a more sustainable form of art, recycling and repurposing found materials into a new and exciting medium, and reducing the waste stream of by-products that frequently accompanies the artistic process. The element of surprise involved in manipulating and reconfiguring existing images into new contexts is another source of fascination for her as an artist.
Jewly’s new series of collage work, Remnants of Route 66, combines her interest sustainability, with her quirky eye for creating bizarre juxtapositions of American pop culture iconography and characters who suddenly find themselves in unexpected circumstances. Marilyn Monroe and a deadly, lime green serpent rendezvous under a full moon. A google-eyed bull dog oversees the operation of his barbeque chicken stand. A Volkswagen micro-bus transports a rock-a-billy band across a strange alien landscape.
Remnants of Route 66, which has been described as absurdist, slapstick surrealism, is Jewly’s vision of the unusual and interesting stops along the iconic American highway. Those spots represent some of the great things about our history as a nation, in a time of great growth, increased productivity, and seemingly endless expansion. The sky was the limit. But there was also a price that was to be paid for all of this unprecedented, uncontrolled excess. As Jewly puts it, “If our grandparents had known what some of the effects of all this would end up costing future generations, how it hurts their grandchildren, would they have done things a little differently?”