Local tie-dye artist hosting makers from around nation

Artist Jonathan Riley is hosting an event this weekend in Columbus for other tie dye artists from around the country.

Clearly, this is hardly your father’s 1960s tie-dye.

Columbus artist Jonathan Riley’s designs seem crazier, bolder and far more powerfully patterned than the swirling, amoeba shapes of yesteryear.

And it’s fair to say that his work, featured on everything from t-shirts to tapestries, is as popular as it is colorful. He sells plenty of it, for example, on loveonhaightsf.com, one of the largest locations for such work, and fittingly based in San Francisco.

“They are a huge emporium,” Riley said.

Columbus artist Jonathan Riley’s T-shirts are part of what he says is “a real kind of renaissance going on in tie-dye.”

Columbus artist Jonathan Riley’s T-shirts are part of what he says is “a real kind of renaissance going on in tie-dye.”

And they’re part of hugely growing arts industry, according to Riley.

The 49-year-old North Vernon creative is hosting the invitational, inaugural Tie-Dye Cypher 2024 Friday through Sunday at his business at Trip Team Tie-Dye at Shaggy INKS artist collective at 431 S. Mapleton St. in Columbus. The event, though closed to the public, features some of the top tie-dye professionals in the country to collaborate and create.

“There is a real kind of renaissance going on in tie-dye, and it’s become something much more than people fully realize,” Riley said. “Artists nationwide are taking things to a whole other level.”

Riley has been full time in this business for only four years, but he has been selling his one-of-a-kind work at everything from concerts to festivals throughout the Midwest. His t-shirts sell for anywhere from $75 to $160. His tapestries go for $125 to sometimes more than $2,000, depending upon the size. It helps that the grooviness, if you will, of the ’60s and ’70s has partially returned to culture and couture.

“Absolutely, it does have something to do with that,” Riley said.

Yet, the artist explained that tie dye is as old as the ancient Asian arts. So he knows where it’s from — and where he’d like to take it.

“I have a vision or a goal of creating my own collective of tie-dye artists working together on a larger, national, wholesale scale,” he said.

Occasionally, he leads workshops for the public at his space that he recently expanded. The next one will come in late spring or early summer. That way, the man making his own splash of color can help others, in turn, very much make their own.