Our Artists


Chandler Johannsen

chandler-e1384266595885-225x300Hi! I’m Chandler Johannsen and I’m a Sophomore at Iowa State, majoring in Graphic Design. I’m new to the Creative Spirits staff, and so excited about being a part of this group and opening up our own studio in Ames!

I graduated from Sioux Central High School, which is outside of Sioux Rapids, Iowa. I grew up on an acreage about 8 miles NW of Storm Lake, where we have a small cattle lot, raise hogs and farm quite a bit of land. I come from a very loving family, consisting of my dad, mom, and my 3 younger siblings. During high school, I was involved in volleyball, basketball, track and softball, as well as very active with creating and showcasing my own artwork. I knew I liked art when I was younger, but it wasn’t really until high school where I discovered just how passionate I really was about it! I liked experimenting with different mediums:  simple ink drawings, paintings (both realistic and abstract), and screen printing different clothing and textiles. I even gave pottery a whirl! Out of all the different methods and mediums I experimented with, painting was always my favorite – and I have stacks of painted canvases as evidence!

My mom has always said that when I was little when anyone would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, my answer was always “an artist.” It certainly isn’t a coincidence that I ended up coming to ISU and found Creative Spirits to help other people learn to love painting as much as I do! I am so excited to see you all at our events!

Sarah Van Berkum

sarahI was born and raised in Spencer, graduating from Spencer High School in 2012. When I was growing up I considered myself a “tomboy”; dressing and doing activities that my brother did. I found my feminine roots later in elementary school when I began to cut my hair, pluck my eyebrows, and experiment with my mom’s makeup…making for some interesting school photos! Although I was developing as a young girl, one hobby always stood with me; art. Creating art has always been a big part of my life; I have been drawing and painting ever since I can remember. But it wasn’t until high school that I realized how passionate I was about it, and how much it impacted my life.

After High School, I chose to continue my education in Ames, Iowa (Go Cyclones!). I just began my second year at Iowa State University where I was recently accepted into the graphic design program – and it’s exciting to finally be taking courses that interest me!

Now 19 years old, my experience with art has expanded into various mediums like charcoal, prismacolor, and airbrushing. I continue to love experimenting with different painting techniques, and have started to become fond of a more abstract look in my artwork. Although Iowa gives me inspiration for art and design, I hope to continue my life journey in a large city somewhere! Maybe I will find myself back in the area someday; only time will tell.

Melissa Gale

imageI’m a Junior at Iowa State University majoring in Advertising and minoring in Sociology. Growing up I was always into some kind of new art project, sketching and drawing were my go- to hobbies during my younger age. It actually turned into a problem while I was in elementary and middle school, rather than paying attention to my course work I focused more on my sketching techniques and color blending in my notebooks. My parents placed me into multiple Art courses at the Siouxland Art Center in my hometown of Sioux City, where I became fascinated with cameras. I was that annoying girl who was all up in everyone’s face trying to work on different unique angles to capture the best image. Once I hit high school I enrolled in various art and photography classes where I picked up my love for painting and more knowledge on photography. After my high school graduation I gladly jumped at the opportunity to start taking senior photos for incoming seniors. Shortly after, I moved to my lake home where I spent my summers as a child, Okoboji Iowa. My love for creativity and art have always been a significant part of my life. Last summer when I heard about Creative Spirits, I was ecstatic to see an artistic business with so much talent being welcomed into the community with open arms! I felt like it was almost fate that the same year I moved to Ames was the year that Creative Spirits family opened a studio here as well. I am so honored to be a part of the Creative Spirits team and can’t wait to help your inner artist shine through!