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“Innocent Until Proven Guilty” mixed media shadow-box 18″ x 12″ x 6.”  Created for the invitational exhibition “Gun Control” at 555 Nonprofit Gallery and Studios in Detroit, MI.

Here’s a photo of the final piece before the glass and frame went on.  I’ll show you some of the steps along the way.

GCfin
An early sketch before I’d decided on the line-up and redrew the character in the ski mask.

GCsketchWeb
After adding color to the characters, cutting them out, and inking all of their edges, I added some paper armature to the backs to keep them rigid.  This also gave me more material to tie into for the paper ‘posts’ attaching them to the background.

GCribWebI pulled out an old trick for the numbers.  I wanted them clean and well spaced, and done by hand.  The matte board was too thick for a light box, so I printed out the numbers and made a carbon-transfer with pencil; shading in the reverse of the print and drawing the contours on to the board.

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I made a digital version (from the hand-drawn characters) and there are  prints for sale!

Thanks for checking out my work, and check out what they’re up to at 555!

Taurus Burns is a ninja of a painter; quietly slaying canvases all day with efficiency and style.  I had the good fortune of meeting Burns years ago in his studio at 555.  His paintings have a studied color and light while maintaining a certain fluidity and ease.

Some of his work feels like perfectly rendered snapshots of Detroit, including a series of over 200 such cityscapes.  Other pieces have more apparent layers of symbols and parables which he rewrites with compassion and sharp wit.

Treat yourself to more beautiful work at paintdetroit.com.

Do you remember that one time you made it backstage and met the singer/dj/flutist who was socially disappointing?  Or that writer who was better on paper?  Sometimes the art that we love is made by folks we wouldn’t like if we knew them.  Sometimes bright, heartfelt, awesome, positive work comes from people who could be described the same way.  Carl Oxley III is one such artist.  He is the Happiness Company, and he’s a nice guy.

Detroit doesn’t enjoy the same kind of prestige as its big city counter-parts on those other coasts, but it does have a creative community working together with respect and a lot of heart.  Oxley has collaborated with the city’s finest, exhibited in the full range of the cities venues, and left his mark on more than a few corners around town.  In his own words; “I believe art should be accessible to everyone. It is extremely important to me that the people who enjoy my work the most, can afford to take home the piece they love.”

Carl Oxley III just wants to see you smile.  You can check out his gallery at popartmonkey.com, buy some art on his etsy, and look over his virtual shoulder via his facebook fan page.

Starting with a primed panel I penciled a grid interrupted with arcs.  I brushed in ink as the hierarchy of line and curve developed.  An ink wash established values before washes of color layered over the top.  Keeping the color thin and the contrast high gave the piece the look of glowing stained glass.

spring gesture
acrylic and ink on panel, cradled box frame
37.5 x 48″

building
acrylic and ink on panel, cradled box frame
29 x 45.5″

This piece stands as one of my favorites from my years in Detroit, made in my studio with 555. Theme’s of shelter, post-industrial decay, reuse and sub-optimal weather were always close at hand in that strangely beautiful city.  “Building” was one of those pieces that came together without much fight.

More insights on Detroit, and moving there from a small town in SW Michigan, can be found at Jim Griffioen’s fantastic blog; Sweet Juniper.