When you think of the composition of a piece of art you may expect it to be made with paint or out of clay. You do not expect it to be comprised of outdoor grill covers or scraps of denim. However, that is exactly what you would see when viewing a piece from Columbus based artist Don ‘DonCee’ Coulter. The brilliance behind the work is that Coulter creates his paintings by using everyday items not traditionally associated with ‘painting.’

From Fashion to Art: A Fabric Painter is Born

When he was growing up, Coulter was heavily influenced by hip-hop and this led him to become a clothing designer who made items for both hip-hop artists and break-dancers, according to his website. He attended school where he further honed his fashion design skills, and eventually discovered his passion for creating works of art with fabric.

Ohio State University’s Urban Art Space held an exhibit of Coulter’s work in 2010 and described the paintings as both creative and environmentally friendly, as the fabric used in the pieces are all up-cycled. His subject matter ranges from images heavily influenced by the Jazz movement as well as traditional and urban landscapes—each comprised of everyday materials ranging from leather and suede to any piece of cloth or fabric that he can re purpose, according to Columbus Alive.

How the Paintings Are Created


Columbus Alive detailed the process that Coulter goes through to create each highly individual piece. He reportedly always begins by sketching the scene that he wishes to create. The next step is analyzing the image and breaking it down into various shapes and planes so that he can transfer them to whatever fabric or material he will be using. Then, using a xacto knife he begins cutting his fabric.

Through the Painter’s Eyes

In a statement that accompanied the OSU exhibit, Coulter explained that while other materials such as outdoor grill covers or denim have crept their way into his work, suede and leather are his go-to fabrics. This is because he feels they translate best in his final product. He explained that texture is a large contributor to the overall impact of his work and that he is constantly evolving the look of each piece. The paintings are highly personal to Coulter, with certain pieces like “Where I’m From” depicting places close to him, in this case his childhood neighborhood. He believes that the paintings allow viewers to take a look at the world through his eyes.

Jake Alexander is an avid blogger who likes to write about art and history. Follow him @JakeAlexander17.