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Proper Represents Kalamazoo at ArtPrize


Headed to ArtPrize? Then "Behind Closed Doors," an installation by a local non-profit, Proper Creative Movement, (Proper) is worth stopping to see.

Easy to spot, it consists of two old doors from the 1930s that are riddled with bullet holes and attached vintage signs that speak to the civil rights movement. Thought provoking, unusual, and meant to start a current events conversation, the piece is about "positive actionable change, a reminder to do the right thing" or as JD Brink founder and creative director of Proper would say, "Its currency equals awareness."

How we treat one another is the higher purpose and the ground work that Proper is passionate about sharing through the creative arts within the community.

"We love the purpose behind our work. And the creative process - we are addicted to the blank page," Brink said.

The Proper movement was publicly launched in Kalamazoo in August 2014 and continues to be a project-based organization, always changing and striving to communicate work that is about bettering the community in some form through the creative arts.

The organization is intentionally vague insisting on not telling people what is proper, but gently reminding them to be mindful of their actions through strategic awareness campaigns like "Are you ____ Enough" which centered around local businesses telling their own stories like "Are you buying local Enough" or "Are you eating local Enough."

Born and raised in Kalamazoo, a graduate of K-Central and WMU, Brink made his journey to other states always with the intention of coming home.

"I have a life-long love affair with Kalamazoo," Brink said. "I never left, when I left. I enjoy the people the most."

Brink's career path and how he got to where he is now was through the agency world of advertising and digital media. He describes his path as being an "advertising junkie, with a ton of hustle, a curious spirit, and comprehensive faith that our talents are legitimate."

Proper's audience is everyone, but the younger generation definitely is active in their support and likes what the organization stands for. Its Brink's hope and challenge to our community to change its fear of the unknown into excitement for a future.

"A priority needs to be primarily placed on forward thinking," he said. "There's so much more to be accomplished."

Currently, Proper is in the midst of launching a concept book, "Always Never" that focuses on word pairings including "always love, never hate" and "always heal, never hurt." The book pages will be on display during the Oct. 2 Art Hop at the Proper Lab, 112 W. South Street, and are currently on outdoor billboards thanks to a collaboration with Adams Outdoors (as seen above).

"Having a presence downtown has definitely provided a sense of belonging within the Kalamazoo community, and we couldn't be more appreciative of that," Brink said.

Make sure when visiting ArtPrize to show your support by stopping in at Bang Blowdry Bar, 3 Oakes St. SW., where the Proper piece is being hosted and be part of the conversation "Have We Progressed?"

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