Category Archives: Steve Panton

56 Carl Demeulenaere

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Born Detroit, 1956 / BFA, Wayne State University/ Lives in Grosse Pointe, MI

To understand Carl Demeulenaere it is best to approach his art from the perspective of technique, but also to remain conscious that the resulting work originates from a place of deep-rooted anger. Demeulenaere sets out to seduce you with color and craft. He sees himself as a “contemporary Pre-Raphaelite,” seeking to emulate the 19th century English “brotherhood” who themselves sought a return to the detail and intense coloring of 15th century Italian art. Continue reading

52 Gina Reichert and Mitch Cope

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Gina Reichert, Born Cincinnati, OH, 1974 / BArch, Tulane University, MArch, Cranbrook Academy of Art / Lives in Detroit

Mitch Cope, Born Detroit, 1973 /  BA, Center for Creative Studies; MFA, Washington State University /  Lives in Detroit

There are effectively two periods in the recent history of Detroit art: before and after the publication of “For Sale: The $100 House,” the now infamous 2009 New York Times article that extolled the creative possibilities of minimally priced Detroit real-estate by relating the experiences of Gina Reichert and Mitch Cope, the couple behind art/architecture practice Design 99, and the artist-run, neighborhood-based nonprofit Power House Productions. After the article was published the pair were deluged with interview requests, and with e-mails from artists around the world requesting information on how to move to Detroit and participate. They decided that for a period of two months they would try to answer every media approach they received. At the end of that period their lives were irreversibly changed, and if the truth be told, so was the narrative of Detroit art. Continue reading

46 Megan Heeres

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Born Battle Creek, MI, 1979 / BA, University of Michigan; MFA, Cranbrook Academy of Art / Lives in Detroit

Megan Heeres’s Invasive Paper Project is, in principle, quite simple: participants take vegetable matter from invasive plants, such as Phragmites, Honeysuckle, and Garlic Mustard, and use it to create paper. Continue reading

42 Jessica Frelinghuysen

 

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Born Bryn Mawr, Pa, 1980 / BFA, Rhode Island School of Design; MArch, Cranbrook Academy of Art / Lives in Hamtramck

Art, it’s been said, is often about taking something small, and making a really big deal out of it. For Jessica Frelinghuysen, that initial seed is the minutiae of social interaction – the tiny events that individually are of little consequence, but that collectively make up the fabric of any society. Continue reading

39 Olayami Dabls

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Born Canton, MS, 1948 / Studies in Mechanical Engineering and Art, Wayne State University / Lives in Detroit

Olayami Dabls’ sprawling outdoor installation at Grand River and West Grand Boulevard verges on a world where America rushes by, cocooned in tons of rusting metal – in other words it overlooks Interstate 96. Dabls knows that world. He trained as a mechanical engineer, and worked as a draftsman for Chevrolet Motors. Then in 1975 he had a serious car accident that hospitalized him for three years. During that time he turned to painting (his minor in college) as an escape from the constant physical and psychic pain. He left the hospital and never looked back, taking stints with the original African-American museum, and various theater companies, before eventually founding a gallery with his wife. Around 1998 he moved to the present location, starting the African Bead Museum that carries his name, and transitioning from an artist/gallerist to an educator/storyteller. Continue reading

30 Matt Corbin

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Born Pittsburgh, 1945 / Studies in Industrial Design, College for Creative Studies, Detroit / Lives in Detroit

What does Matt Corbin’s performance piece GYMSHOELIFESTYLE, in which he periodically wore size 22 gym shoes to the high school class he taught, have in common with the found object assemblages he has been making for nearly four decades? Actually more than you might think. Continue reading

27 Chido Johnson

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Born Nyadiri, Zimbabwe, 1969 / BFA, University of Georgia; MFA Notre Dame University, Indiana / Lives in Detroit, MI

Chido Johnson grew up knowing the meaning of struggle. His Methodist missionary parents were deeply committed to the Zimbabwean independence movement, and one of his early memories is of the family being deported for his father’s political cartoons. Continue reading

20 Dylan Spaysky

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Born Waterford, Michigan, 1981 / BFA, College for Creative Studies / Lives in Hamtramck, Michigan

How do you construct a life in the ex-urban cultural wasteland of Waterford? How do you create meaning from the detritus of America’s lowest-common-denominator consumer culture? Two questions that may, or may not, interest the artist Dylan Spaysky. Most likely he would politely decline any such lofty dimensions to his work.

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