As I’ve written in the past, Detroit has plenty of interesting wall paintings and colorful, brightly painted advertisements on the sides of buildings. They promote a variety of goods and services that include liquor, cigarettes, money orders, check cashing services, poultry and an array of other items. A number of them are crudely hand drawn and somewhat hard to decipher. Others offer intricate, colorful graphics and detail. A few are elaborate in their wording and messaging.
Many in the overall mix of images I see have religious themes. As expected, most of them are found on the sides of churches, both big and small. Others can be seen on mini billboards located on the less traveled secondary streets running through Detroit’s many neighborhoods. Certain sections of the city, such as Southwest Detroit, seem to have a higher concentration of them. Generally, they can be found just about anywhere in Detroit in a wide range of colors and sizes.
On my bike journeys, I stumbled across three that represent the broad perspective of religious paintings that can be found scattered across this city. These particular paintings are a small sampling of religious themed wall paintings; ranging from the sophisticated and highly detailed to the basic hand painted, unrefined wall paintings.
The painting below, found in a neighborhood in Southwest Detroit, represents the colorful, detailed variety of religious wall paintings found throughout Detroit. Although it is somewhat rare to see them on garages and other residential type buildings, I do spot them there on occasion.
There are countless storefront churches in Detroit. Many of them are quite small and rather unassuming. But one of the cool things most have in common is the unsophisticated, free style wall paintings found on their buildings. This particular one reminds me of the spiritual song “Go Tell It On The Mountain”.
Not all religious paintings I see are actually sacred in nature. Some, I assume, use the word God, Jesus and other religious words in their messaging to draw attention. From what I’ve seen from my bike, most of the businesses using these terms on wall graphics, are day-care centers or nurseries. Here is a quirky example of what appears to be a circus tent painted on a bricked-in entrance with the word God on a makeshift sign.