Colorful critters and creatures

A passion for arts leads to creative products
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J6R6 courtesy art

Husband and wife team Jason and Rachel Six are the minds behind J6R6 – a stationery and lifestyle brand based in Grand Rapids that launched in the summer of 2021. Their passions for fine art and graphic design coalesce to form a collection of cards, stickers and paper products featuring a colorful assortment of creatures and critters.

The creative couple shares their story:

 

Rachel Six

GR Mag: So, tell me about J6R6 – how did it come to be?

Rachel Six: We met in college. Jason was in commercial art and design, and I was in fine art. I didn’t do anything with it for forever. It really started after my dad passed away. I was like, ‘I need to start doing what I really want to be doing, otherwise it’s just not going to happen.’ That was a wakeup call. I started just painting for fun and people really liked the work.

Jason Six: It was a couple of years ago she was painting some stuff that inspired me, and then that’s where J6R6 kind of started to really become something. I bring the creative direction to the table producing J6R6, and she does all the painting. I mean, you would not have any of this work without Rachel painting it, and you wouldn’t have any of the designs without me designing – it takes us both.

GR Mag: What’s your process for creating the pieces and offering them in different formats?

Rachel: I paint everything in India ink. It’s similar to watercolor, meaning it paints like watercolor, but you can use it opaque or transparent, and it’s permanent, where watercolor can get muddy. I can build up all these colorful layers and get this glow. It’s really shiny and pretty. I like it because I’m all about the color. From the painting, Jason digitizes it and then he designs with that. We use local printers; everything’s made in Michigan, so that’s pretty exciting.

GR Mag: What do you enjoy painting most?

Rachel: I love painting insects, and I think it’s because they’re something nobody really likes. I love how you can break it down into these abstract pieces because they are something people overlook. You can have a lot of fun with the details in there, and they’re so colorful.

J6R6 courtesy art

GR Mag: Why is J6R6 meaningful to you?

Rachel: I think it’s more the collaboration process. I’ve always wanted to have my own business. I’ve always been very entrepreneurial; I get that from my dad, who had his own business.

Jason: For 20 years, I’ve been doing graphic design, and then I morphed into having my own business, and I was meant to do that. I like having my own business, but I wanted my wife to have her own business. I really like working with her. I mean, it’s not easy. But I wouldn’t want to work with anybody else. If we can grow a business together like we are raising a child together, it’s pretty awesome. The design is not as important. It’s letting her artwork take front and center. It’s always about the artwork.

Rachel: I want color in the world, I want happiness, joy. I love to paint the animals ‘cause I love the faces. I want it to be a fun expression or something sweet.

 

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Ever since Pasha Shipp could talk, she's been dreaming up colorful stories. Fantasy creatures, mysterious kingdoms, enchanted forests, you name it. As she reached adulthood, she decided to take the magic out of her head and put it down on paper. Pasha has been writing for Grand Rapids Magazine since November 2015, and has loved every minute of it. She has a master's degree in Communication and a bachelor's degree in Film Studies from Grand Valley State University and Western Michigan University respectively. When she isn't daydreaming and writing stories for the magazine, she's exploring the many hidden treasures of Grand Rapids with her fiancé.