Archive for October, 2014

I see plenty of wall art on my bicycle rides. Some of the many pieces found on the walls of Detroit are colorful, abstract in design, and the execution can be flawless. Others incorporate monsters, birds and historical figures. I’ve also seen lively cartoon characters that cover the sides of walls.

Recently I revisited a site to show a friend a specific piece of wall art on an adjoining building. While poking around that area I spotted a set of painted dancers that I had completely forgotten about. They were painted about a year ago on a couple of interior cement block walls of a roofless building that is in major disrepair. On those walls are five well done paintings of ballet dancers.

Looking at them I was reminded of how captivating they are. They feature well-proportioned flowing lines of the bodies, which seems to create motion and movement. Their legs are well-toned, elegant, and positioned much like a dancer you’d see on stage. The wall paintings also feature long, thin flowing arms that create the look of a graceful maneuver found in a sophisticated dance routine or ballet pose. One of the wall pieces is a side view portrait of a dancer’s head that is simple in design, yet realistic in appearance.

Portrait of Dancer_1819

One of the things I really like about these wall paintings is the emotion and lifelike movements the pieces seem to deliver. I also like that they are all two-color paintings. Looking at them, it is easy to imagine the hard work, training, concentration, and effort real dancers must go through on a daily basis during their careers. Everything about them expresses movement, excitement, and elegance.

B:W Dancer on white background_1817

Blk:Blue Dancer_1816

Blk:Purple Dancer_1814

B:W Dancer on Red Background_1818

Kudos goes out to the talented artist that created these engaging dancers on a wall in Detroit.

Read Full Post »

I like the sun’s lighting in the fall. It seems brighter, crisper, and the light it gives off doesn’t appear as harsh as the summer months. This time of year the sun also seems to rise and set much slower than in the warm months. The sun is also lower in the sky and its lower angle casts interesting shadows that crisscross the landscape, creating intriguing shapes and patterns.

Light Pole w:Hook_1674

Tree w:Sign Shadow_1765

Pole Shadow_1699

The early morning and late afternoon shadows appear highly symmetrical or linear. They can also be fuzzy and distorted casting a shadow that appears much like an expressionist or abstract expressionist painting.  Many of the shadows generated by the crisp fall sunshine often do not represent their origin. A steel fence could look like a simple grid pattern painted on cement. A street lamp could appear as an ancient battle-axe, or the ribbing of a park bench may take on the look similar to a chess board.

Shadow Stripes _1755

Light Pole Shadow_1770

Signs and Poles_1678

Like most urban bicycle riders, I’m tuned into vehicle traffic and the surrounding environment while riding. I also keep a sharp eye to the road, always looking out for pot holes, broken glass, or other debris. So I notice the shadows more and I like how they spread out in front of me or shoot off into the distance on either side of me. There are plenty of captivating shadows this time of year and many seem to stretch out forever. They can be quite a sight!

Long Shadow w:Bike _1693

Long Bike Shadow1738

Overpass Shadow_1771

Read Full Post »

The weather this past weekend in Detroit was perfect. The temps were in the 70’s, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and I couldn’t think of better way to enjoy it than out on a bicycle aimlessly riding around. With no particular destination in mind I headed to the Dequindre Cut Greenway (a former railroad line) and rode its length from Gratiot Avenue, south to the Riverwalk. Once on the Riverwalk, I headed east along the Detroit River to where it ends at Mt. Elliot. From there I worked my way over to the Belle Isle Bridge and headed out to the island for a 5-mile loop around.

It was a peaceful morning on the island with little traffic but plenty of other cyclists, runners and walkers. Although the trees and other foliage were still pretty green, I did see a smidgen of autumn colors pushing their way in. Red Tree B Isle_1450

From Belle Isle I rode over the Detroit’s Historic West Village Neighborhood. That neighborhood and others that adjoin it along East Jefferson, is known as the Villages. The Villages were part of the weeklong Detroit Design Festival, and a good number of the design studios had open houses. Along with that, many of the unique shops found in that neighborhood participated in an open-air marketplace. A new coffee-house called Red Hook opened its doors, joining a bunch of new restaurants found in West Village.

Red Hook Coffee_1452

Leaving there, I went downtown and headed north on Woodward Avenue where construction is under way for the new M1 light rail system. Dodging plenty of orange barrels, I came upon the new Red Wings Arena District that just broke ground a couple days prior. Although the construction zone was fenced off, they were allowing people to visit the site and skate on a synthetic ice rink that was ringed by large shipping containers. The containers featured large photos and images of the Detroit Red Wings. In addition to the Red Wings graphics, a few had colorful graffiti works painted by local street artists.

Synthetic Ice Rink_1461 Red Wings Photos Arena_1463

Hockey Arena Graf Container_1464

Detroit’s nighttime festival of lights, called Dlectricity, lit up Midtown on both Friday and Saturday nights. The light show featured over 30 world-renowned artists. Much of their work was featured on the exterior sides of buildings throughout the neighborhood, including the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Detroit Public Library, College For Creative Studies, the brick wall on a building at Warren and Woodward Avenues, the Garfield Building, and many others. As I soon found out, getting around the neighborhood (with mobs of cars and people) was a breeze on a bicycle.

Dlectricity at DIA_1430The Dlectricity event also featured a Light Bike Parade Saturday night, and over 2,000 riders participated. Most (if not all) of the bikes were decorated with flashing lights and other glowing devices. The night parade zigzagged its way along a 4-mile route throughout the Midtown neighborhood.

Decorated Bikes Parade_1475

The night ended with the Unofficial Dlectricity Afterparty at the Lincoln Street Artpark. That event kicked off at 11:00 p.m. and didn’t end until the sun came up. The party featured live bands, light shows, a huge bonfire, and Classic Sci-Fi movies shown in the Catawampus bus. It’s always an interesting night at the Art Park and the afterparty was no exception.

Eno Piece Lincoln Street_1484

Cata Bus_8134

While bicycling around the streets of Detroit on this busy weekend, I also managed to pick up number 26 of 3,000 of the “Stay Classy” black tie art pieces that were scattered across the city. They seemed to be everywhere I went on Saturday and most were gone by late Sunday afternoon.

Blk Tie_1501

Read Full Post »