According to lightworkers.org, (“Welcome Home all Lightworkers, Star Seeds, and Divine Multidimensional Beings”), 2011 is the year of Living Courageously, the year of Loving Co-Creatively, and the year of Liberating Freedom! Seeing these words, Seattle's collective unconscious (or possibly unconscious collective) must have immediately alighted on the name Joey Veltkamp. Thinking about Lightworker’s predictions, it made sense to nominate an exemplar, a mascot for this year's upcoming spiritual awesomeness. Few bears (nevertheless Star Seeds and Divine Multidimensional Beings) up here in the woods of the Great North receive such resoundingly positive comments upon their mention. Veltkamp is a self-trained and greatly under-appreciated painter with areas of expertise which expand beyond his practice as a painter and into his behavior as a member of a community. His remarkable sociability and energy seem to infect everything he touches. His modest personal blog, “Best Of” (joeyveltkamp.blogspot.com), has grown into one of the most charming, original, and useful sources of art writing and events information in Seattle.
Veltkamp is nothing if not a Co-Creative Lover, encouraging those slightly more up-and-coming than himself, established artists, and everyone in between. He believes in a populist, unifying espirit de corps in the arts community, laboring diligently to reshape his corner of the artworld through various forms of encouragement and engagement. Partnering with local culture magazine City Arts, he awards $500 a month to artists who show during First Thursday Art Walk, and recently conducted the end-of-the-year Best Of Art Walk Awards, which included a $1000 prize. These awards are typically artist-nominated, public selected, and in all honestly reflect the true diversity of art walk participants, spanning all disciplines, ages, practices, and mediums. Veltkamp doesn't lack for courage, nor a nose for liberation. His paintings, activities, and personage should all be duly ruminated upon in the New Year. Somehow Veltkamp’s example seems more fulfilling than a resolution.
Around the flickering campfires and under the piney boughs of the once rugged Northwest, the struggling community of artists with a small base of support and encouragement feels just as unconquerable as the wilderness once was. But the stars (at least according to the Lightworkers) are aligned, and I’m just going to go ahead and order them over Joey Veltkamp.