U.S. Navy Veteran, Michael Hyacinthe was introduced to artist & designer, Tyler Way in 2010. Once they met for coffee, they soon realized the divide between their respective Veteran and creative communities living and working in Grand Rapids, Michigan. This first conversation over coffee led them to bridge the divide by utilizing the power of art, design, and the creative process to bring their two worlds together.
At a local Veterans event, Michael met a wounded U.S. Marine & his full-time nurse. Paralyzed from the neck down & unable to speak due to injuries suffered in Iraq, the young Marine shared his story through a special alphanumeric communication code that was translated with the aid of his nurse. Michael learned of his love of t-shirts and asked the Marine if he would like to design his own. Seeing the larger-than-life grin come across his face, Michael called Tyler to see if they could design a shirt together.
From that first t-shirt design & its powerful creative process, the HERO[series] was created: a Veteran partnered with an artist for the shared mission to tell their story through the mediums of art, design, & fashion.