Wednesday, June 24, 2015

newly finished

Dr. Vince Murray, of Bagley Housing and Matrix Theater.
Gouache and collaged map of Bagley Housing in Southwest Detroit. 16 3/8 x 12 ½ in. Photographed at Stanton Park.

“One of the biggest mentors in my life has been my boss at Bagley Housing, Dr. Vincent Murray.”

Dr. Murray helped bring the community organization of Bagley Housing out of confusion in part by ousting 2 members of the board who also had ties to the nearby Ambassador Bridge. He believed those two individuals had sought positions on the board to keep the area disempowered for real estate interests. Shortly after their removal, the organization received grants to create new, affordable houses so people could relocate from places that did not have good housing. He has since retired and contributes as a board member of Matrix Theater and still believes that “every person matters.”

"3 Women Fight to Save Their Neighborhoods" AKA "3 Women, 3 Stories"

Rashida Tlaib is just one of the women I have met or heard about recently who is fighting to secure community benefits for her hometown of Southwest Detroit (through the Detroit Community Benefits Agreement, CBA). Some of the women have been doing this work for decades. The letters behind her form words from quotes by these women, starting with the past and ending with their most recent experiences in the foreground.


Resilience, Private Collection
This piece was created over the course of a year. It started out with a satellite view of the truck depot in Delray and an ink painting of a skyline. This was one of the first attempts I made at combining industrial imagery with portraiture. I left an opening for the portrait of a person, but I didn't know who to draw. Then I saw the movie Wasteland, about Vik Muniz's project in Jardim Gramacho, Brazil, the worlds largest landfill. I draw one of the women catadores (garbage pickers) and titled it Resilience as a hope for the future.

Friday, May 29, 2015

"Common Heroes" coming along...

Common Heroes (Phil, John, Daron). Each 16 3/8 x 12 ½ in. Gouache, ink, ink wash, and collaged satellite views of Detroit Wastewater Treatment Plant in Delray, plus map of Delray, and photo of chainlink fence in Delray.

Phil—“Mentor and guitar teacher who is an all-around amazing guy. He does it all on top of studying to be an architect. A lot of kids move out of Southwest Detroit once they get older, but he’s stayed and he gives back a lot.”
John—“John is really invested in this city. He provides opportunities to young people in Detroit, and he is always involved in important projects like the murals. I met him as Pastor John but he’s really just my friend John. I think the students he works with feel the same. He makes faith relate-able. I think his congregation is going places. “

Daron—“First to arrive and last to leave during community projects.” “He and I moved 1,000 tires in one day once.” At 15 years old, Daron helps mow the grass at the fire station and loves football and acting. He was recently in one of the featured films of “Detroit Voices” at the DIA and Ann Arbor (“Wait 'til the Wolves Make Nice” by Jessica dela Merced).

Thursday, April 23, 2015

MCACA grant recipient!

As awardee of a New Leaders grant from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA), I will be able to continue a portrait documentation project showcasing everyday people from the city of Detroit.

The project, entitled Common Heroes, provides leadership and mentorship opportunities for youth in Detroit through a creative workshop and art exhibition. Starting with a focus on residents of my neighborhood of Southwest Detroit and nearby neighborhood of Del Rey, Common Heroes highlighting individual uniqueness, fosters internal pride for our city, and reminds us all that we have a purpose.

Look out for the upcoming exhibition in July 2015!

If you are interested in being a resident participant or taking part in the youth workshop, or know someone I should reach out to, please contact me at, (313) 437-2112.

Heart Cookies, 2015

This is a painting of my neighbors. They are like family. We go to their weddings, baptisms, birthdays, all of it. I love Mary because she is always laughing and always has time to talk. I went over to take her photo so I could draw a portrait, and I took a few more snapshots of the everyday moments that were happening while I was there. This is a composition made out of 4 snapshots and painted with gouache on a found scrap wood board. It is a scene showing everyday modern life at home.

Monday, February 16, 2015

upcoming exhibition

Ann Arbor Art Center
February 27-March 5th, 2015

Regional Arts Collaboritives Showcase

Opening Reception February 27, 2015 6–9 PM

Mary, 2015. From "Common Heroes" series. Gouache on cardboard. 13 x 16.25 in.