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Holland artist shares powerful messages through paint

What was once a private practice of illustrative journaling has grown into something more

HOLLAND, Mich — Here at 13 ON YOUR SIDE we love to celebrate incredible things happening in West Michigan, even more so, we love to celebrate incredible people.

Holland resident Crystal Wright wears many hats, including associate area director for Greater Holland Young Life and graduation coach at Holland Public Middle School.

Crystal's household is a busy and noisy one with three teenaged sons, but it's something she does alone in the quiet, that's stretching far beyond the walls of her home. On a cold and cloudy winter morning, vibrant images and powerful messages are coming to life.

As Crystal creates she explains what, and why, she is painting, "The one who is worthy calls us worthy, beloved."

For Crystal, what began as a private practice of illustrative journaling in her Bible, has grown into something more.

"It comes from scripture reading, from whatever the spirit is speaking, whatever is going on in the world," she explains.   

Credit: Meredith TerHaar

At the insistence of friends, Crystal starting sharing and selling her artwork on social media. Orders came in slow but steady, until last spring when her anguish over the deaths of black men at the hands of police poured out on paper.

"I had done a Black Lives Matter poster and people were like, 'we want that, we want that.' Someone said, 'I'd take it as a sticker.'" From there, her orders exploded.   

"It is a really surreal thing that there are people outside of this house, outside of this state, that have a piece of my journey that connects with their journey." 

Her artwork communicates deep and raw emotion. "It expresses thanks and praise and that gut punch feeling when you are in the darkest places that you never expected to be in," Crystal explains.

It also expresses light. Crystal was inspired to paint national youth poet laureate, Amanda Gorman, after the inauguration.

Credit: Meredith TerHaar

"The words that she spoke were so healing and so full of hope and allowed myself and a lot of people to breath in a way that we had not breathed in years," Crystal says.

These pieces are selling quickly, but that's not why she keeps going.

"I was given a gift and a talent not to bury in a hole but to share with the world, and to be in tune with what it speaks to the world."

To see more of Crystal's artwork, follow her on Facebook or Instagram

Credit: Meredith TerHaar

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