Niles artist hosts first gallery at Culturfx

Published 9:05 am Thursday, April 18, 2019

DOWAGIAC — For years, Niles resident Steve Sult’s artwork has lived in the computer.

His artwork, colorful creations that he describes as “an M.C. Escher painting crossed with pop art,” is mainly produced digitally and has been sold almost exclusively online and on his website

“I have a pretty significant online presence,” Sult said, relaxing inside of his Niles home, every wall around him decorated with some form of artwork.

Now, things are changing, and Sult has brought his work out of the digital work and into the 3-D landscape.

Sult, 65, is currently displaying and selling his art at Culturfx Art Gallery in Dowagiac. The showing marks the first time Sult has sold his work in an art gallery.

“This is the first time I’ve ever had work in a gallery ever,” Sult said. “I was a nervous wreck [showing], and I don’t get nervous. I can show to a group of 1,000 people and not get nervous. … But I was nervous for this because it is such personal work.”

Though he has been drawing and doing some sort of creative or marketing work his entire life, Sult only began selling his own personal art a few years ago. Sult chose Culturfx to show his work at for the first time in a gallery because Culturfx is a new gallery, opened late last year, which he said made it a good fit for him.

“This was always a hidden talent that I never exposed publically,” he said. “This side of it was very personal. This partnership with Culturfx seemed like a meeting of startups. … I saw that as a good opportunity, and I like the idea of contributing to a new business.”

Owners of Culturfx, Jeff Andres and Kandy Grady, said that giving local artists like Sult a chance to show their work and share it with the community is part of their mission.

“Everyone needs to start somewhere,” Grady said. “This gives artists a chance to grow, and that is pretty much what we are trying to do and give them exposure.”

“There is so much talent that goes unrecognized,” Andres added. “We want to give local artists the exposure and recognition that we feel they deserve.”

So far, Sult said he has found having his work at Culturfx to be a positive experience that has inspired him to show at more galleries in the future. He said he hopes that by becoming more involved with local galleries that he can be connected to the southwest Michigan community and be a part of the revitalization of cities such as Niles and Dowagiac.

“I want to see these galleries prosper,” Sult said. “[The showing at Culturfx] fed a desire to get involved more with the local art community.”