Poor Man’s Art Collective showcases Detroit artists

By |2018-01-16T15:41:43-05:00October 31st, 2017|Uncategorized|

By Brent Dorian Carpenter
The medium he works in is called decoupage, the art of affixing paper, photos or small objects to a flat surface with an adhesive and then coating it with a polyurethane varnish. He uses the technique to create breathtaking hanging art and to custom-decorate furniture and kitchen cabinetry. His sense of color and design is extremely impressive for a relative newcomer to the art world. He is Geno Harris, the front man for the Poor ManÕs Art Collective, a group of four local African American Detroit artists whose work is on display at the River Park Lofts, April 15-17.
Harris is joined by Mychal Noir, Kenya Vinson and Jack Johnson. The show, Designed Confusion, is a follow-up to their successful venture last October. Together they hope to make a lasting impact on Detroit’s art scene – a commitment to his hometown Harris says is long-term.
“The Collective is not strictly for gay people. It’s for people from all walks of life. Myself and Mychal Noir are gay. Kenya Vinson and Jack Johnson are very straight. In my mind, an art collective entails a whole lot of different things. Not only is it a variety of artists who happen to paint or sculpt or whatever, I want to put out in the forefront poets, writers, fashion designers. The way I envision us is like Janet Jackson’s video for ‘Escapade.’ Everybody out in a big ass festival of art! There are so many artists in whatever particular realm they are in that you never hear about because they don’t have the connections. There are so many talented people in Detroit that simply don’t have a venue to show their work.”
Harris now refers to himself as a full-time artist. Once employed by the Detroit Institute of Arts as an office manager and assistant to the curator of the Modern and Contemporary Art Gallery Department, he has taken the proverbial leap off the cliff for the sake of his craft. Rather than wait around for corporate sponsorship, these enterprising artists have taken matters into their own hands.
“It amazes me that I was able to do something creative that I could be good at, that I enjoyed. And it has just spiraled into something that is so much bigger than myself. I think I will always be in Detroit. I love Chicago, I love New York City. I know the art scene is really happening there, but no. Detroit is where it’s at for me.”

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BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.