There’s more to David Wysocki than being a gay man. He loves wine, travel, sewing and interior decorating. He also installs roofs, works as a landscaper, and has been a graphic designer for 17 years.
Wysocki is just one of the many graphic designers and illustrators who will have artwork on display at “Beyond the Bar: An LGBT Graphic Design and Illustration Showcase” during this year’s Detroit Design Festival. The showcase challenges stereotypes about LGBTs.
“Yes, we are hairdressers and interior designers,” Wysocki said. “(We’re also) doctors, builders, athletes, mechanics and graphic designers.
“A lot of people stereotype the careers of LGBT professionals, and while they may not mean it to be offensive, it’s actually quite demeaning.”
DDF is a weeklong festival taking place all over Detroit through events and exhibits featuring artists, illustrators and graphic designers from the metro area. The event was established by the Detroit Creative Corridor Center as a way to showcase the talent and creativity of metro Detroit and connect designers with consumers and each other. The city will host 60 happenings, including panels, studio tours, roundtable discussions, fashion shows, art battles and more.
“Beyond the Bar” is presented by the Detroit chapter of the American Institute of Graphic Arts and exhibit sponsor DishKin. According to exhibit curator Alex Harvilla, this is DDF’s first LGBT-specific showcase.
“We wanted to show that art and creativity has a place in the professional world, and that the LGBT community has done so much for the graphic design and professional art world,” said Harvilla.
Start Gallery will display the exhibit, which is made up of 30 pieces by 15 different LGBT artists. Artists were encouraged to include two pieces to showcase both their professional and artistic styles. The exhibit will include website designs, T-shirt graphics used in fashion lines as well as a marker rendering used by the Detroit Zoo.
“Beyond the Bar” designers and illustrators will also be present during the exhibition to talk about their art and make connections with attendees. “I wanted artists to be there to talk about what they do,” said Harvilla. “It’s a way to make the show more interactive.”
Artist information will be available for businesses interested in connecting with graphic designers or illustrators. The showcase will be open to the public 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 23 in the Street Gallery at 206 E. Grand River. For more information, go to http://www.detroitdesignfestival.com.