Born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Derrick was raised by his mother and maternal grandparents, Reverend and Mrs. Howard Hollowell. As a child he split his interests between sports and art. He was a tremendous student and advanced directly from 4th to 6th grade. He was very influenced by his uncle, James Hollowell, who at the time was studying art at a local college, and is now an established artist in Los Angeles, California. When Derrick was about 10 years old, a family member noticed a slight limp in Derricks walking. Later that summer, His mother noticed the same dysfunction while watching him play rocket football. This led to numerous medical visits, examinations, and misdiagnoses, a specific medical conclusion was never determined. He says “I still believe I injured myself trying too hard to dance like Michael Jackson!”. Eventually spinal cord surgery was attempted to correct this “disability“. After unsuccessful attempts at rehabilitation, Derrick continued his education. He graduated class president from Creston High School and went on to Grand Valley College to work towards a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in drawing/printmaking. He also began a prolific music career based on his exposure to an emerging new music form, Hip-Hop. He adopted the moniker, “Vito”, and his group, Euro-K, signed a New York based, record label deal and filmed a video for MTV. Derrick traveled much of the United States promoting music and art. He has worked in radio broadcasting, voice over, and acting. He had been involved in youth mentoring and community building. In the past few years He has opened and operated a series of innovative, storefront and warehouse galleries. Derrick currently resides in one of the live/work art spaces, stretched along Grand Rapids, Avenue of the Arts. The “L-Loft” is a spacious gallery and workspace that has been the venue for numerous exhibits, workshops, video sets, poetry readings and more. Recently, Derrick has placed original art in The Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital Guild Collection, The Grand Rapids Metropolitan Hospital, and an extensive jazz themed collection of paintings at The HopCat Brewery in Grand Rapids. “I feel most fulfilled when my art is put in places where many people can see it; I have always been intrigued by the power of posters, iconography, and illustrative images. Derrick is currently teaching and learning art from adults and children with cognitive issues for the non-profit organization, Artist Creating Together/ACT. Artistically, Derrick is continually exploring watercolor portraiture while expanding on his aesthetic vision in oil painting, drawing and the self coined Post-Pop American Expressionism style. His influences are 1960-70s Illustration, Japanese Printmaking, African, and Comic art, among others.
Derrick's ArtPrize Entries
These are Derrick's official ArtPrize entries from this year and past years.