Artist Derin Fletcher opens Akron studio


After earning a degree in industrial design, Derin Fletcher turned to portraiture and said his new studio in the city center is a dream come true.

Although she studied industrial design with an emphasis on furniture and fashion accessories, the 2010 Firestone High School graduate said she found face design more satisfying.

But she hasn’t lost the interest that brought her to Savannah College of Art and Design, where she graduated with a BFA in 2014.

“This is something I want to come back to. I still do a lot of sketching and my goal is to buy a house this year and make my own dining table,” she said. “Designing furniture and accessories was my goal, but once I entered my senior year my focus changed.

“I really wanted to upgrade to a painting specialization,” she said.

Not everyone thought their decision to go in a different direction after graduation was a smart one.

“I knew my art would take me to the places I go now, but it was hard for people who know me to see,” she said.

Fletcher signed the lease for his studio at 380 S. Main Street, across from West Cedar Street from the AES building, in August.

Following: Focus on Black Owned Businesses: Read All Articles In The Ongoing Beacon Journal Series Here

Gain recognition

Derin Fletcher in his new art studio in Akron.

After graduation, Fletcher returned to Akron and began working on portraits, commissions, and promoting his work online.

She also responded to a call for artists in Cuyahoga County which led to a portrait now featured on one of the Greater Cleveland RTA’s Blue Line trains.

The work depicts the American writer Langston Hughes, with a stylized cityscape in the background.

“Out of 200 artists who submitted works, they selected five,” she said.

Writer Langston Hughes' portrait of Derin Fletcher is featured on one of the Greater Cleveland RTA trains.

She said the piece helped her get another order for a mural installed on the Mt. Pleasant NOW building on Kinsman Road in Cleveland. The building houses a non-profit development company specializing in housing and local services.

She said the Mt. Pleasant NOW coin, which was printed on panels from a computer file she created, made her around $ 10,000.

This mural by Derin Fletcher is on display in the Mt. Pleasant NOW building on Kinsman Road in Cleveland.

She has found work creating murals on Copley Road in West Akron, and even through online streaming site Hulu, where her work accompanies a special on singer Billy Holiday.

She was also featured on a local podcaster Live Your Purpose program by John Morgan Jr..

Share your space

After a few months in his downtown studio, Fletcher took a limited number of orders, in addition to offering classes for children and adults.

She also hosts “Paint and Sip” programs, where she leads a group in creating their own themed art, with a little adult drink to liven things up.

“Getting more space is a need,” she said, explaining that her current studio is just enough room for the present.

“Right now it’s perfect because of the COVID pandemic,” she said. “I don’t have a lot of people, but I finally want to have a bigger space. “

In addition to pursuing her own passion, she also provided space for other artists in her studio.

The Black Artist’s Guild recently rented a space to host an event. The October event, “Outlined in Black,” featured work by 16 artists, including Fletcher.

“We learned early in our early years in the guild that the ability to leave space for black artists to express themselves is vital to our work,” said Dominic Moore Dunson, co-founder of the Akron Black Artist Guild. , which launched in February.

Fletcher said she was happy that she decided to take the path that she felt was right.

“It has always been a dream of mine and I worked hard to make it happen,” said Fletcher.

Eric Marotta can be reached at 330-541-9433 or Follow him on Twitter @MarottaEric.

In one look

Company: Derin Fletcher Art Studio

Address: 380 S. Main Street, Akron

Owner: Derin Fletcher

In line:

About the series

Throughout February, the Beacon Journal profiles black-owned businesses in Summit County. The Beacon Journal will continue to highlight minority-owned businesses as part of its ongoing regular coverage.

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