creative:impact - Who Was That Man Behind The (Medical) Masks? Hi Ho, John Gutoskey!

Apr 7, 2020

John Gutoskey's surgical masks
Credit John Gutoskey

Never someone to sit idly when a call to action is raised, John Gutoskey, local artist, printmaker, and costume designer, has redirected his talents to making much-needed face masks for our local medical facilities.  On this week’s edition of "creative:impact," he joins co-hosts Deb Polich and David Fair how local medical teams are responding to polka-dot, ladybug, and other whimsical masks that can literally save their lives while fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

Deb Polich, President and CEO of the Arts Alliance

Creative industries in Washtenaw County add hundreds of millions of dollars to the local economy.  In the weeks and months to come, 89.1 WEMU's David Fair and co-host Deb Polich, the President and CEO of The Arts Alliance, explore the myriad of contributors that make up the creative sector in Washtenaw County.

John Gutoskey wears one of his masks.
Credit John Gutoskey


John Gutoskey is an artist, designer, printmaker, & collector living and working in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  John earned his BFA in theater design with a minor in sculpture from Webster University in St. Louis.  He earned his MFA from the University of Michigan’s School of Art & Design where he studied printmaking & installation art, and also completed a certificate in LGBTQ Studies.

Early in his career, John worked as a costume designer and as a specialist in costume crafts, where he worked on productions in New York City and across the US in theater, opera, dance, film, and television.  He has taught classes in millinery, mask making, and fabric dyeing at the University of Michigan in the Department of Theater.

John has shown his work across the US, including the Detroit Institute of Art, Grand Rapids Art Museum, Society for Contemporary Craft in Pittsburgh, Indianapolis Art Center, Kinsey Institute, Ella Sharp Museum, and in galleries in Chicago, NYC, Detroit, Toledo, & Ann Arbor.  His series of monoprints honoring the victims from the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida in 2016, “PULSE Nightclub: 49 Elegies”, won the prize for Best Juried 2D at Artprize X 2018 and the Alpha Omega Award for Religious Art 2018.  John is the owner of JG Studio and the A2 Print Studio in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

A pile of masks
Credit John Gutoskey


“I am very honored & proud to announce that my series of monoprints, "PULSE Nightclub: 49 Elegies", will be part of the exhibition, "Love Speaks: Artistic Responses to the Pulse Nightclub Tragedy," on view at the Orange County Regional History Center in Orlando, Florida for the 3rd anniversary.  This remembrance exhibition will feature artwork from across the nation created in the wake of this terrible tragedy.  If you happen to be in Orlando, Florida, the exhibition runs from June 1 - September 22, 2019.  The museum built several walls to create an intimate room to view the monoprints. I love that they added 2 benches for viewers to sit, take in the work, and contemplate.  Pictures and link below.”


The 200th anniversary of Walt Whitman's birth is this Friday May 31st.  As part of a multi-state celebration (sponsored by the Walt Whitman Initiative), I am very excited to announce that I will have 6 assemblages from my series, "Whitmen's Men", in a show titled, "Walt Whitman, Democratic Vistas: Whitman, Body & Soul" that is part of the initiative.  The exhibition is in the Stedman Gallery at the Rutgers-Camden Center for the Arts, on the Camden, NJ campus of Rutgers University. Whitman spent the final years of his life in Camden, NJ.  "Walt Whitman, Democratic Vistas: Whitman, Body & Soul" will examine the influence of Whitman’s life and work on eight contemporary visual artists. The show opens tonight, May 29th, and will be up until December 6th. 

All in a day's work.
Credit John Gutoskey


John Gutoskey Website

John Gutoskey on Facebook

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