A retrospective looking at all the Speakers Bureau films we have developed for the Detroit Creative Corridor Center. Go go gadget creative economy Detroit!
Happy MLK day!
We are still pumping out content with the DC3 for the Speakers Bureau! As you know, we are releasing a new vignette every Monday morning, and today’s installment comes from Northwest Detroit. Ladies and gentleman, Mr. Chazz Miller and his organization Public Art Workz:
PAWz creates innovative public art projects that inspire and encourage community participation. Chazz lives and works out of the Artist Village, where all the magic happens. It provides base camp for a ton of really amazing projects and also serves as neighborhood gathering spot.
Stay tuned for more from the Speakers Bureau next week.
Hot off the presses, check out our time lapse video of the first MANTRACITY Mural. This baby is located at Brush and Milwaukee in Detroit. There is a really long list of folks that were involved in arranging this mural, coming up with the concept, paying for it, designing it, painting it, doing the video, providing the music…. and on and on and on. Those folks are, in no order of importance:
Organizational Partners – Public Art Workz, Motor City Blight Busters
Concept – Travis Wright
Design – Philip Lauri, Nick Jaroch
Painting – Chazz Miller, Philip Lauri, Nick Jaroch, Dom Bisquiat
Music – Ish and Artwork
Film – Sean Redenz
Financial Support – Patrick Thompson, Courtney Roschek, Chris Damico
Stay tuned for more MANTRACITY murals around town!
As of right now I am probably landing in Warsaw headed to Lodz to begin filming our newest documentary. I am writing this Sunday to be published on Monday in anticipation of not being able to post something while in transit.
It’s been a nutso week getting prepped to take off for Poland– securing equipment across the pond, arranging interviews, last minute errands, rocking the house at Rust Belt market, preparing for our booth at DEMF (Movement), making sure that retail accounts (like Bureau of Urban Living or South Street Skate Shop in Rochester) have inventory while I’m overseas, and, oh yeah, painting this MONSTER:
That’s right! Talk about leaving on a bang! I was hellbent on finishing this thing before leaving for Poland, and low and behold, here you go: the second mural in the MANTRACITY series is complete. It still needs to be cleaned up in some spots, but it’s in a good place for now. It’s quite stunning if I do say so myself. That high gloss latex enamel lights up the alley, the bright colors can even be seen as you drive west on Warren just past Trumbull. It was such a fun time painting, no less than five people came through during the process of it all and lent a hand paiting, talking, telling jokes and just generally keeping things lively. Quite honestly, that’s what really makes this all worthwhile.
One of the highlights came when a fella that lived in the neighborhood walked by asking questions about what we were painting. After a bit of conversation, he asked what he could do to help. Before I even said “grab a brush,” he already had an idea. He was going to arrange a cleanup of the alley that the mural was in. Low and behold, the next morning at 10 am, an army of people from the neighborhood were outside cleaning the alley.
Now that’s some momentum. One action leads to another and slowly these murals help people see different possibilities in the city, but also helps to create larger scale change through some manifestation of a domino effect. Love it.
Here are the credits for this mural, a pat on the back to all participants and contributors:
Design – Silent Giants, Chris Everhart
Painting crew – Nick Jaroch, Chazz Miller, Dom, Jeremy, myself
Financier – Larry John, Liveinwoodbridge.com
From here on forward, I will be posting about the progress of the film in Poland and conversing about Detroit from afar. I’ll keep it relevant and interesting (well, I’ll try to), but the majority of the content will revolve around experiences making this film and talking about Lodz and Detroit. Cool?
Stay tuned, the magic is about to happen.
As you may recall, last week I revealed the details of DL!’s involvement in the East London Design Show with a limited edition print of the Speaker Stack design printed through EAST END PRINTS. In anticipation of all that coolness, I am guest blogging on a site called THECUBE London– essentially a business incubator in London with shared workspace and resources ala TechTown or the Detroit Creative Corridor Center locally. Anyway, the first blog discussed how I got this whole DETROIT LIVES! thing going and where I see it in the future. Today, a new piece was posted on the site discussing what enterprise means in Detroit and how it is all embodied in the phrase “MAKE IT HAPPEN.”
In the post, I talk about Mark Covington over at Georgia Street Community Garden, Chazz Miller at Public Art Workz and DL! as a company developing new media that attempts to get people to live, work and play in the city. All of that conversation rolls up in to this package that once again tells a tale of opportunity in the city. Wanna do installation art? Great, we’ve got some artists you can probably collaborate with. Start a business? Perfect place for that. Create a sustainable wind farm? Plenty of space. Initiate a non-profit group? You get the point. What are you waiting for?
Anyway, see the full post here.
Been making moves on the mural. We started the lettering now that the basecoat is all down and settled. That sea foam is just glowing all kinds of lovely. Whoo. The temperature is right to keep going this week, we just need to get rid of the rain. Ideally, this wall will be complete by Thanksgiving. The lettering has been fun, Chazz got up there and just free-handed it and we got to work filling in the gaps. Check out some new photos of the lettering below.
To see all the other photos chronicling the progress of the mural, head over here.
Today was a good day. The MANTRACITY mural project officially started. Chazz Miller and myself started the We Kahn do it! mural in New Center, the same one I have been talking about so much lately. The mural is a riff off of Albert Kahn and his legacy in the area having designed three prominent structures (GM Building, Fisher Building and the Argonaut) that are seen to the right while looking at the wall.
A couple months ago, a fellow named Nick that lives above me introduced himself while standing upon our mutual staircase entrance and eventually asked what I did for a living. “I’ve got a company called DETROIT LIVES!,” I replied. “We make stuff that tells a good story about Detroit. You?”
“I’m a painter,” he said.
“Interesting. I am just in the middle of scheming up some ideas for some new murals in the city. I did one about a year ago near Eastern Market and have been dying to do one since– something positive, something simple, message-based even.”
“Interesting. You ever hear of a project called ‘A Love Letter For You’ by a guy out in Philadelphia?”
“No, I haven’t”
Over the past couple years, DL! has kind of become my baby. It all started as a little drawing I made on a notepad while I was sitting shotgun in a friend’s station wagon whilst driving through the bush in Australia. A lifetime’s worth of airline miles had landed me out there visiting the one and only friend who has never told me no when I have suggested an adventure. We met in college at Michigan State. He is currently working in Antarctica of all places. We were headed to the Blue Mountains on that trip, and I was drawing pictures as he drove while contemplating the fact that I was going to be living in Detroit in a few weeks– my “home” more or less– after an extended amount of time living and working in various parts of the country.
I showed him the picture. I told him I was going to print it on a shirt, only because I knew I could with some equipment that I had. He laughed a little bit, but knew I would probably end up printing a t-shirt at some point with the drawing on it.
“Send me one, will you?”
It was a quintessential fall night. I was sitting on the porch. Nick, the fellow who lives above me, came outside and we talked again.
“You ever look at that project out in Philly?” he asked me referring to our last conversation on the steps.
“Yeah, I did. Amazing. I want to do something similar. You interested?”
“Yeah, I’m game.”
Three nights later, I stood in front of a full house for Detroit SOUP asking them to fund my mural project. I described it was going to be a series of murals painted throughout the city with positive, witty and casually inspirational messages on them. A text message from Travis Wright received before SOUP coined the project name– “MANTRACITY” (a play on the words mantra, city and monstrosity). I conveyed all this information to the crowd and passed around a few printouts of the mockup for the first Kahn mural that I wanted to do. Sure enough, it was heavily modeled after the project out in Philly that Nick mentioned.
I didn’t win the money.
Today I got catapulted 45 feet in the air– on an antiquated dump truck intended to be used for cleaning rubbish off of roofing sites circa 1979– to begin painting the first mural in the MANTRACITY series. This first wall is at Brush and Milwaukee in New Center. Chazz Miller from Public Art Workz was there painting with me. He has done so much to get this project moving– engaged John George at Blight Busters to get the lift truck, arranged for inexpensive paint, etc.
But let’s think about this. Two years ago I drew a picture on a notebook that said DETROIT LIVES!. Two months ago I talked to Nick who planted this mural series idea in my head to begin with. Then all of the sudden, these little isolated ideas and thoughts transform in to something larger. This is the essence of Detroit. It’s these tiniest of tiny little occurrences– a drawing, someone that you talk randomly with– that spark and fuel such larger efforts. Talk about it one day, scheme some things together, and then it’s happening. Be ready.
There’s an entire town here willing to dig in if you just sign up to do it. Sure, you need to believe in your goal. But believing in stuff is good. And yeah, there’s a lot of bologna and cheese you’ll encounter along the way– it’s not all peaches and roses, sitting on the porch and watching figments of your imagination become grandiose realities– but that’s sort of like any other thing in life.
Get to it. Someone’s listening. And as cheesy as it sounds, you can do it.
Or, well, “we KAHN do it.”
So, here’s to Detroit and here’s to the dreamin’
(And thanks Nick. Seriously. Your gonna be up on that dump truck with Chazz and I to do the “KAHN” letters.)
So, maybe a month or so ago, I unleashed some of the details about the new mural series project called MANTRACITY– a play on the words mantra, city and monstrosity. The idea is to paint large-scale murals throughout the city that impart a positive, witty and slightly motivating message. There are a few locations secured, some of the designs are still being worked on, but it’s looking like this baby is set to start this week:
The mural is at the corner of Brush and Milwaukee in New Center. The Kahn reference is playing up to the fact that as you look at the wall, the Fisher Building, GM Building and Argonaut are all in sight just off to the right– each of which was designed by the famed Albert Kahn. It’s been a pleasure working with a pretty swell team on this– Chazz Miller, man with the plan at Public Art Workz, Travis Wright, Arts and Culture Editor at Metro Times and Patrick Thompson of Patrick Thompson Design.
Hoping to have some sort of film or slideshow to document the process of getting this first mural up. Keep your eyes peeled!
Consider this tonight!
Some of the text gets hard to read on the postcard, but it’s all taking place at Willy’s Overland Lofts, 444 Willis, 5th Floor, from 6-8pm with a reception to follow.Â Panelists are as follows:
- Jim Boyle, Public Pool Artspace Co-Founder, Vice President of Integrated Marketing, Lovio George
- Melissa Dittmer, Hamilton Anderson Associates
- Chazz Miller, Urban Muralist, Director of Public Art Workz
- Dan Pitera, Executive Director of Detroit Collaborative Design Center, University of Detroit Mercy School of Architecture
- Noah Resnick, Principal uRbanDetail, Professor of Architecture and Urbanism, University of Detroit Mercy School of Architecture
I drank coffee this morning staring at that picture. Containers.Â Container homes.Â Detroit!Â Do it.Â This is how my mind works.Â I have yet to find a reliable local source for containers, though I haven’t actuallyÂ just gone out to the railyards and roamed around until I can find someone to talk with.Â I have just been making phone calls and most of the time not getting a response.Â Anyone with ideas on how to locally source shipping containers should direct them at once to email@example.com.
After the culmination of DL! super weekend 9000, I am pleased to relay some good news.Â For one, the exhibition opened on Saturday night at Whitdel Arts to a pleasantly petite crowd of interested participants.Â Chazz’s butterflies looked great on the wall and the short film to accompany them (a DL! production) was fitting.Â The ongoing documentary with Chazz is still in the works.Â That being said, we should have a little teaser up soon.Â It’s worth noting that many other film projects are in the churner, too.
The photo shoot on Sunday for the new catalog was a smash hit.Â Vanessa Miller was like a hungry wolf with her Canon super-camera.Â Talk about cool.Â The girl’s got talent.Â We got some good snaps, of which will be gathered and arranged in to a catalog of sorts that doubles as a picture show of the vibrant people that are pushing Detroit forward.Â Team Loveland was there, Margarita Barry from IAM YOUNG DETROIT, Meeshter Roland Legget Junior and a whole ragtag bunch of smarty pants that do cool stuff around town.Â It was ridiculously fun, we plowed through nearly 5 large pizzas, drank some ghetto blaster pitchers and generally enjoyed the excellency that is the backyard at the Old Miami.Â I mean seriously, that patch of land and green grass and swings and chairs is a gold mine and oasis of cool.Â So yeah, the shoot went well.Â The catalog will be done soon.
Got another big week prepping for the brand-spanking new Third Thursdays event (I’ll be posting with Claire at Bureau of Urban Living with some new stuff from 5-9pm on Thursday, deets here) and DIY Street Fair in Ferndale.Â Lord knows we’ve some new items together for the shop.Â They gon’ be sweet.Â Ciao for now.