Life may imitate art, but when it comes to local visual artist Kevin Coleman, art also imitates life. His series of colorful, realistic water drop pieces titled “Ripple of Positivity” accurately represents the ripple of positivity he creates as an artist, philanthropist, and champion of the arts in Bellingham.
Coleman started his Ripple of Positivity series in 2017 as a means to discover a new personal happiness. “I found, looking in nature, that if you look at a water drop, there’s a story within a water drop. And when you go down to a molecular level, you realize that everything is different. We’re all different. Everything is our own perception.”
During the day, Coleman spreads his positivity as the community relations and business development manager at WhatcomTalk, where he connects people and businesses. Not only does his work at WhatcomTalk benefit the community, but he also plays a large role in local nonprofit work. He’s donated a dozen paintings to charity fundraisers, teaches art and creativity at the Boys & Girls Club, and is currently working on a program to recycle discarded glass cannabis containers—the first program of its kind. He hopes to use the glass jars to create art kits for underprivileged youth.
In December of 2018, Coleman competed against his husband, Keith, for the Bellingham Regional Chamber of Commerce Man of the Year award. Coleman won, in recognition of the positivity he brings to the community. “Working with WhatcomTalk, and going out and expressing what the positive people are doing and [what] businesses are doing positive things to represent them has allowed me to live a more positive life—waking up every day to find the positive instead of the negative.”
Before moving to Bellingham, Coleman and his husband adopted two sons. The transition to fatherhood had a great impact not only on Coleman’s life but on his art as well: “[My art] is not the same at all. It’s much more in-depth, much more vibrant in color. Daring, I would say daring. Being an artist and being a parent, we tell our kids, ‘You can be anything you want to be,’ and living what you are is so important. And if my kids can see that I’m living who I am, through my artwork and by giving back to the community… then they see that I’m being the best possible me I can be.”
The Allied Arts—for which Coleman serves on the Board of Directors—is having their 40th anniversary on October 13. The Artist Invasion Extravaganza is taking over the entire Heliotrope Hotel for the day, with 15 artist installations in each room, including Coleman’s own works. His set will feature art that incorporates 3D and glow-in-the-dark elements. The event will have food trucks, a beer garden, and all kinds of swag. “We want our city to know the arts matter.”
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