Mighty Real/Queer Detroit was designed to gather together, for the first time, a grand-scale representation of the range and depth of Detroit LGBTQ art. But plans for the month-long, multi-venue exhibit had to be scrapped as a result of the novel coronavirus crisis. Not all is lost, though. Because this year, Mighty Real/Queer Detroit organizers have teamed up with Motor City Pride to create a virtual 2020 exhibit on MCP’s website.
Next year’s full exhibit will feature art by emerging and established Detroit artists, and it will celebrate artists, past and present, from Detroit and its metropolitan area whose works manifest distinct but intersecting backgrounds. Mighty Real/Queer Detroit will occur in multiple venues simultaneously, including two evenings of music, film, spoken word and performance work at the Detroit Institute of Arts. Confirmed galleries include Collected Detroit, Galerie Camille, Hatch, M Contemporary and The Scarab Club.
While next year’s exhibit will feature over 100 artists, there are 17 featured artists in the virtual exhibit. They include Cece Alaniz, Jan Brown, Jozie Bullard, Kaiden Dunn, Jamie Feldman, John Gutoskey, Bryan Hoffman, Stephanie Holloway, House of Kofi, Darrin (Dag) Marzorati, Maeve McCarron Quinn, Renee McCoy, Tih Penfil, Sean Rhaesa, Lisa Rice, Peter Sparling and Nick Indigo Szydlo.
Below is a closer look at two of these artists. To view the entire exhibit, visit motorcitypride.org/artist.
Inspiration: “I am inspired by contrast and lines. I am inspired by laughter. I am inspired by life.”
Process: “I don’t really have a process. I stand in front of my easel and say, ‘OK, what will you teach me today? I am here to learn.'”
Artist Statement: “Light, dark, shapes, colors, lines, space and the absence of space … it’s all art to me. I have loved art since I could hold a crayon. I couldn’t figure out where I fit in with this art thing but I knew there was a place for me. Art stretches from the familiar to the unknown. Art can be odd, mundane or familiar. My process of creating art is a healthy mix of uncertainty and luck.”
“My work combines my knowledge of painting, drawing, graphic design and photography. Lines turn into shadows. Space jumps forward and steps back. Symmetry doesn’t matter. Balance is achieved through deception. I start at nothing. There are no concrete ideas, no rough sketches. There is only the thought that I want to create something 3-dimensional, spacious on a flat sheet of paper. Lines and shadows give you a false sense of space. I have a vague idea of where to start. I am still learning how to decide when I am done. What I create is something and it is nothing. Art is whoever or whatever you want it to be. No two people will see it the same.”
“Blue,” 11-by-17’chalk pastel on paper.
“Close Up,” 9-by-12 on charcoal on paper.
Inspiration: “My art of the last 15 years was originally inspired by my volunteer work at The Ruth Ellis Center and the young people who use their incredible services.”
Process: “I’m a self-taught artist. I was born in Michigan, but I truly came into my own when I moved to New York in 1980 to pursue a life in the fashion business. I ended up working for Bill Blass who became a mentor, encouraged my art and was an invaluable influence on my life both personally and creatively. In 1995 I left fashion and devoted myself full time to making art.”
Artist Statement: “My work takes on a realistic bent with my sitter’s features, usually gazing unsentimentally at the viewer. I don’t use a discernable horizon or traditional sense of depth. Instead, I use circles, a form without beginning or end, that hover in front of and behind the sitter forgoing any conventional identifiers that may influence the viewers’ biases. I try to suggest the journey, the road my sister is on whether emotional or spiritual whose outcome is yet to be determined.
“Kellie looks left,” acrylic on wood. Part of Hoffman’s trans girl series.
“Andrei” LGBTQ Detroit, acrylic on wood.