Isaiah (“Zay”) Williams, Ciara Holten, and Shauniece Williams are all Rock Island 20-somethings, passionate about art.

They are among a quartet of young artists who will show their paintings in a “Yo, That’s Dope” art show, on Saturday, Nov. 18, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., at Kru Salon, 1727 2nd Ave., Rock Island.

Organized by Zay — a 28-year-old graduate of Rock Island High School, who attended Black Hawk College — admission is $15, available HERE. The Saturday event will feature some appetizers, recorded music and spoken-word poetry.

Shauniece Williams, left, Ciara Holten, and Isaiah (“Zay”) Williams at Kru Salon Nov. 15, 2023. Zay is holding his painting of Breasia Terrell (photo by Jonathan Turner).

“I feel like poetry and art go hand in hand, especially when it comes to expressing emotions,” Zay said Wednesday. “With poetry, it’s different in taking the words, and expressing them through your voice.”

“I think they’re super similar,” Holten, 27, said. “When I was in high school, I always used to have a book of poetry next to me when I was working in my sketchbook. I think both are forms of storytelling, both art and poetry. It just depends on how you deliver it.”

They like to base a painting off a poem, and vice versa.

Zay is a poet, designer, business owner (website to come soon) and a creative arts educator. He’s originally from Louisville, Ky., and currently lives in Rock Island.

He does art of all kinds — visual, surreal, abstract, mixed media, and installation.

“Most of what I create is inspired and influenced by pop culture as well as current events in the world that I’m able to express through art, poetry, etc.,” he said. “My young experiences as a young man getting bullied also contribute to my expressive flow in poetry and art and I hope to inspire and encourage people to never give up.”

Other artists displaying in the Nov. 18 show are Deasia Hickman, Shauniece Williams, and Ciara Holten.

The three young artists from Rock Island will display their work at Kru Salon downtown on Saturday night, Nov. 18 (photo by Jonathan Turner).

Williams knew Holten’s art from Instagram and at the Davenport Freight House Farmers’ Market.

“I have my eye out for local artists in the QC, looking for art that was different,” he said Wednesday.

Holten, of Rock Island, studied art at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. She’s an Army veteran (serving in her early 20s), with the National Guard.

She grew up in Sterling-Rock Falls and graduated high school there. After the military, Holten struggled with PTSD and was looking for a good outlet to cope, and painting filled the bill, as well as yoga.

“It’s a good coping skill,” she said of being creative. She paints with acrylics, watercolor, spray paint, and also enjoys journaling and writing poetry. Holten self-published her first book of poetry last year. “I either want to paint or sit around and write all day.”

Shauniece has been painting about 10 years now, and fell in love with it. She’s 27 and went to Rocky with Isaiah.

“I’m more of an emotional painter; it mostly comes from my emotions,” she said, noting she’s more of an Expressionist.

“It’s sadness and happiness, basically what I’m feeling in the moment,” Shauniece said. She said the pandemic inspired her to paint more, since she had more free time.

Zay said they plan to display about 15 artworks, which will be for sale. He liked the space at Kru Salon, with its exposed brick walls. He’s also displayed some of his paintings on the nearby windows at Quad City Arts, down on 2nd Avenue.