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Posts Tagged ‘Detroit Graffiti’

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the fantastic street art wall murals that were being painted on various building in Detroit’s Historic Eastern Market. Over 45 Detroit area, out-of-state and international street and graffiti artists were invited to take part in a week-long outdoor street art event entitled: Murals in the Market. The event ran from September 17th through the 25th.

In my previous blog entry, I presented early renderings of six incomplete murals that were being created by some of the many street artists taking part in the event. I recently revisited the market on my bicycle to check out the final, completed pieces, including those that I featured in my last story.  Simply stated, the huge, colorful murals at the market are fantastic!

Below are photos of the series of early works that I featured in my prior blog along with a final picture of each. I’m always amazed at what the talented street artist can do, especially on such a massive scale. Some of the pieces are sized 30’ tall x 60’ wide. When looking at the photos, keep in mind that much of the work was done with nothing more than spray cans. Think about that. It’s pretty incredible!

Nosego and Woes - early stage

Nosego and Woes (artists names) – early stage

Nosego and; Woes - final

Nosego and Woes – final

 

Fel3000 - early stage

Fel3000 (artist name) – early stage

Fel3000 - Final

Fel3000 – final

 

Beau Stanton - early stage

Beau Stanton (artist name) – early stage

Beau Stanton - final

Beau Stanton – final

 

Zak - early stage

Zak (artist name) – early stage

Zak - final

Zak – final

 

Naturel and Rick Williams - early stage

Naturel and Rick Williams (artists names) – early stage

Naturel and Rick Williams - final

Naturel and Rick Williams – final

 

Sydney G James - early stage

Sydney G James (artist name) – early stage

Sidney G. James - Final

Sidney G. James – final

It’s worth a trip to the market to view the beautiful murals I’ve posted above along with the other 40 or so that were painted during the week-long event.  You’ll never know what you may find there, including this dazzling beauty found on a wall just off Gratiot Avenue. It’s one of my favorites!

Miss Van - French Artist

Miss Van (artist name)

Reminder – you can click on any image to view them larger.
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Over the years, Detroit’s Historic Eastern Market has been a hot spot of colorful wall murals. Much of their visual content builds on the market theme of fruits, vegetables and meats. Others themes have been created by local and international street artists, and they feature a variety of strong graphic elements, dreamy caricatures and cartoonish looking characters. Also found on the walls are murals featuring highly stylized letters and striking abstract designs and illustrations.

Building on the market’s rich heritage of street art, the Eastern Market Corporation (in conjunction with a local art gallery, various sponsors and partners) has created a week-long street art event called Murals in the Market. Over 45 Detroit, out-of-state and international street artists have been invited to paint murals in a range of styles on many of the buildings throughout the market. The event got under way on September 17th and runs through the 25th.

Below are a few early photos I took of some of the incomplete murals while riding throughout the market on my bicycle over the past weekend. Many of the finished wall art pieces will soar 20 to 30 feet, and they’ll be at least that wide. Look for final images of the pieces featured below in an upcoming blog entry.

Nosego Woes_2586

Fel3000 E Mkt_2568

Beau Stanton E Mkt_2572

Outline on white bldg E Mkt_2575

Rick Williams E Mkt_2578

Sydney G Games E Mkt _2579

It was quite interesting to see how the artists worked the walls one small section at a time, and it will be exciting to see how their pieces evolve into the final stage.

Stay tuned!

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Detroit’s North End neighborhood is an interesting place full of history. It’s an old section of the city where residential and industrial areas seem to intersect. It’s also a good-sized neighborhood that radiates about two miles around the intersection of East Grand Boulevard and Oakland Avenue.

Bicycling through the streets of this old, historic neighborhood, I was struck by the contrast between the industrial area south of East Grand Blvd. and the farm like feel north of the Blvd. Like other areas of Detroit, it’s a tale of two neighborhoods within its borders.

The neighborhood’s south boundary area has a gritty, hard edged, industrial feel to it. There are expansive brick buildings throughout that were constructed in the 1920’s. Heavy-duty steel structures that support train tracks cut through that section of the neighborhood too. Many of the buildings once housed machine shops that fed parts into the burgeoning auto industry. Thankfully, many of those old storied buildings have now taken on a new life.

One of many small shops in the neighborhood

One of many small shops in the neighborhood

Many of the small manufacturing businesses that have survived the ups and downs of Detroit’s automotive industry over the decades can still be found along the old streets, but change seems to be coming. Young artists and others have been converting the vintage brick buildings found along the densely packed, narrow streets into residential lofts, art studios, performance spaces, etc.

This old building has been converted to residential  lofts

This  building has been converted to residential lofts

Tangent Art Gallery is located in the neighborhood

Tangent  Gallery is located in the neighborhood

Restored apartment building

Restored apartment building

The artists that have moved into the old places on the south side of East Grand Boulevard have created colorful exteriors paintings on the buildings. The large wall paintings seem to glow brightly in the early morning sunrise and late evening sunsets. The wall art offers a pleasing, uplifting contrast to the harsh industrial feel in that section of the neighborhood.

A rainbow of colors cover the side of this tall building

A rainbow of colors cover the side of this building

Colorful art can be seen on many North End buildings

There is colorful art on many North End buildings

On the north side of the Boulevard there is virtually no industry. The streets, once lined with homes full of families and viable retail businesses, have changed dramatically over time. With the city’s massive population exodus and other factors, many of the businesses have closed and homes have been abandoned. Now most of the vacant homes and abandoned businesses have been cleared. The lots where they once stood are now fields of tall, wild plants turning many sections of the north side of the Boulevard into soothing, country like fields.

Community and religious organizations have moved into that area and are creating community gardens. Some cover close to a full block of land. City parks have been adopted and revitalized, and when I recently rode past one, it was in use by families and kids of all ages.

A Michigan Urban Farming Initiative garden

A Michigan Urban Farming Initiative garden

Oakland Avenue Community Garden

Oakland Avenue Community Garden

Delores Bennett Playground, a restored city park

Delores Bennett Playground, a restored city park

The North End is an interesting neighborhood. It offers plenty of diversity in architecture, lifestyles, and landscape. It seems every street I rode down and every corner I approached offered a sense of togetherness and vitality. It’s good to see that the city’s North End is coming back to life.

One of many murals in the North End

Mural in the North End

Colorfully painted artist studio north of East Grand Boulevard

Colorfully painted artist studio north of East Grand Boulevard

Beautiful doors on the Jim Handy Building on East Grand Boulevard

Beautiful restored doors on the Jim Handy Building on East Grand Boulevard

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In last week’s entry I highlighted some of the large, colorful graffiti murals that can be found in the city of Detroit. Many of the huge, multi-colored pieces I’ve seen (and presented in that blog entry) have extraordinary detail considering they are created from nothing more than the nozzle of a spray can. A number of the pieces I highlighted have graced the walls of outdoor galleries for years, while others have been added to walls within the last month or so.

Fel 3000 Rabbit_8373

SolomonFish Mural _9964

Two Ladies on Wall_9749

Lately, there seems to be a plenty of new murals being created on the sides of buildings and elsewhere. Although most are designed and created by talented Detroit artists, it isn’t unusual to spot a piece by a painter from Los Angeles, New York or elsewhere.

Meca and others wa;;_6259

E Mkt German Artist_6998

Fumeriosm_7016

This is the second in an occasional blog entry on the city’s imaginative graffiti murals. Since the works can vanish overnight, or change and evolve rapidly into something completely different, I hope to roll out more entries featuring the interesting street art I see on my bicycle travels across the city. In the meantime, keep your eyes open because you’ll never know what you’ll see on a wall in Detroit.

RSK Russell St_0925

D Cut B/W_9377

Horse and Lady Wall_1000

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It is no secret that graffiti and wall murals are widespread throughout the city of Detroit. In many ways it makes sense, considering the sheer amount of abandoned buildings with flat walls that seem to span city blocks. There are also plenty of tall railroad and street overpasses with flat, vertical walls. The large, smooth walls make perfect palettes for the artists, and it shows because they have created some of the best street art in the country.

Large mural by Detroit artist Sintex

Large mural by Detroit artist Sintex

There are other forms of interesting street art that can be found throughout the city in places beyond the underpasses and building walls. The art can be found almost anywhere, on street signs, bathroom walls, busses, store windows, and plenty of other conspicuous locations including within the many large graffiti galleries scattered across Detroit. The widespread art medium is stenciling and stickers. Both formats are quick hitting, highly mobile forms of art.

The stenciled art I’ve spotted are usually one color and made of well-designed cut-outs. The cut-outs are created from various materials (paper, plastic, etc.) in many sizes and shapes, and are temporarily taped to a wall or other surface. Once attached, the artist quickly spray paints over the stencil then peels it off. What’s left is the image created by the cut-out.

Falcon near the top of a tall wall

Stenciled falcon near the top of a tall wall

In an empty electrical box, one of my favorite stenciled piece

In an empty electrical box, one of my favorite stenciled pieces

Various colors using the same stencil

Various colors using the same stencil

Simple, clean stenciled image

Simple, clean stenciled image

Stenciled lizard on a freeway overpass

Stenciled lizard on a freeway overpass

Pre-printed stickers are the quickest type of graffiti for artists and others to spread their message. They are relatively cheap to produce, and easy to carry. Applying them to any surface is fast; just peel and stick. Many are used to promote a political cause while others are used to highlight an artist’s logo, website, or unique colorful image they created in a fast, efficient way.

Poster size sticker

Large, poster size sticker

Traffic signs seem to be a popular spot for stickers

Traffic signs seem to be a popular spot for small stickers

Political sticker

Political sticker

Sticker on Man in the City sculpture

Sticker on a Man in the City sculpture

Quirky black and white stickers on a fence post

Quirky logo stickers on a fence post

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There are plenty of railroad tracks that crisscross the city of Detroit. The long trains carry auto parts, rolls of steel, chemicals, cars from the auto factories, and many other manufactured goods. It’s not unusual to see the trains with two engines chugging along pulling upwards of 100 cars. Judging by the markings and corporate logos on the trains I see rumbling past my front window, they come from all across the country, Canada and Mexico.

Riding around this big city on my bicycle, I noticed that most of the train tracks are elevated above the streets and roads. The tracks are held up by huge cement supports that straddle the centerline of the streets below. The arched supports stand at least 13 feet tall.

There are also smooth, thick cement walls supporting the overhead tracks that flank the sidewalks, and they run the length of the overpass. From what I see, the large flat, horizontal gray walls make perfect canvases for graffiti and street artists.

It seems that every railroad underpass I ride through has some sort of graffiti; whether it is quick hitting simple one-color signature tags, large colorful elaborate “burners”, picturesque murals, or other graffiti types. Three underpasses in Detroit’s midtown area have outstanding wall paintings and are worth seeking out for their unique designs and overall artistic execution.

The first is the Trumbull Street underpass just north of I-94. It features a geometric pattern in an endless array of colors. The well-designed, complex wall painting stretches the length of the underpass. The multi-colored, bright design elements are also incorporated on the center supports. The pattern almost looks three-dimensional.

Outer wall of the Trumbull Street underpass

Outer wall of the Trumbull Street underpass

Colorful supports and wall

Colorful supports and wall

Geometry played a big roll in the design

Geometry played a big roll in the overall design

Arches in contrasting colors

Arches in contrasting colors

One street over from Trumbull is Lincoln.  The railroad underpass walls and supports found there are covered in a variety of eye-catching, intricate graffiti art, stunning wall murals, simple tags, and stenciled images.  Most have been designed and painted by a number of Detroit’s finest street artists: Malt, Stori, Fel3000ft, Tead, and others.

A couple of pieces by graffiti artist fel3000ft

A couple of pieces by graffiti artist fel3000ft

An artist at work on the Lincoln Street underpass

An artist at work on the Lincoln Street underpass

The flooded underpass reflects the art on the arches and outer wall

The flooded underpass reflects the art on the arches and on one of outer walls

Graffito artists Malt and Patch Whiskey collaborated on this piece

Graffito artists Malt and Patch Whiskey collaborated on this Lincoln Street wall mural

A little further to the northeast is the Beaubien Street underpass. The art there consists of simple colors painted in 45-degree angles, much like a pyramid. Depending on the wall or support, the V-shaped angles start at street level and rise to the base of the overpass, or they start at the top and cascade down. The inner arches of the center supports feature red and white bars that remind me of piano keys. The overall theme of the design on this underpass seems to be transportation.

Entering the Beaubien Street underpass

Entering the Beaubien Street underpass

Trains painted on the outer wall as viewed through the arches

Train engines painted on the outer wall as viewed through the arches

Cars painted on the opposite outer wall as viewed through the arches

Cars painted on the opposite outer wall as viewed through the arches

Note the red bars in the arches

Note the red bars in the arches

This is just a sampling of some of the amazing art found on the walls of railroad underpasses in the city of Detroit. Take a look the next time you pass through them.

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There is a Detroit Graffiti artist that goes by the name of Malt. He is also known as “Brown Bag Detroit”. His work is colorfully distinct and somewhat eerie and moody. It consists of mind-blowing forest scenes, owlish characters and unusual birdlike heads with eyes that seem to follow our every move. He calls his vibrant work “The Acid Forest”. His recognizable work can be found in many of the city’s hot graffiti galleries along Grand River Avenue, downtown’s Dequindre Cut and midtown’s Lincoln Street Art Park.  Malt’s large scale wall paintings can also be seen on the “Recycle Here” building just around the corner from the Lincoln Street Art Park.

An owl in the Acid Forest on a wall in the Lincoln Street Art Prk

Acid Forest and owl on a wall in the Lincoln Street Art Park

Although I’ve seen his stylized, bubble-letter name spray painted along railroad tracks and elsewhere, his bird-like and owlish paintings are the pieces that really seem to stand out. The unusual oversized characters found in the series feature menacing looking big-eyed, hawkish faces on feathered bodies. They, along with his gnarly woodland murals, look like something from an unknown supernatural world, deep within the acid forest. In some cases, the bodies of the strange mythical-looking creatures are entwined in the dark, moody forest as if they’re one in the same, and feature course feathers which remind me of sharp-edged fish scales found on a freshwater carp.

On a building Grand River Avenue and Canfield Street

On Grand River Ave near Canfield St

This beauty covers the side of a truck trainer

This beauty covers the side of a truck trainer

The owls he paints are similar in style, and they too have a certain distinct edge to the feathers. The large nocturnal bird drawings are simple in design, yet engaging.  They are painted in earth tone shades with hints of pastel colors and seem to be at ease in their urban environment. They also appear to cast a calming, alluring effect as they look down on us through half-open eyes, much like a mysterious Egyptian cat.

Check out the eyes

Check out the eyes

An owl painted on a Recycle Here door

An owl painted on a Recycle Here door

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