Metro Detroit Street Art & Graffiti – 70 New Works – Spring 2017
God bless the hard working, often anonymous, and largely under-recognized painters and artists who keep our Metro Detroit street art and graffiti traditions alive, vibrant and relevant as hell. We present to y’all here, in narrative form, the results of our most recent Detroit street art explorations, ranging from the inner city’s deepest ‘hoods to the metro area’s most distant suburbs, discovered and shot between the months of February and June in the year 2017. Enjoy…..
February gave us our first great find of 2017, located on the south-facing retaining wall of the Joseph Campau Street railroad overpass, just north of the intersection of Jos Campau & Hamtramck Drive in, of course, the great city of Hamtramck. Burt Reynolds. Didn’t see that coming. “Sometimes you are the tree and sometimes you are the dog,” reads the inscription. Is that a Best Little Whorehouse in Texas line? Cannonball Run? Anyone? Anyone? Beuller??
Weren’t ’til mid-April that we discovered an entire group of pieces in one location worth shooting. Find these eight street-level works by “Haeler”, “Begr” and others, plus a whole slew of more marginal offerings, on the grounds of the mostly defunct and abandoned St. Rita Catholic School at 1080 E. State Fair Avenue in Detroit. You’ll hafta drive down Hawthorne & Cameron if you wanna see ’em all……
Shot these two dope pieces by “Bowzer” and “Swank” on the very same April day at approximately 5609 Seven Mile Road….
…..and this epic beauty at 17521 Russell Street, on our roundabout way home. It’s visible from northbound US-75 just after ya pass McNichols. Huge ups to “Dyke”, the likely winner of our 2017 High Visibility award.
Nine short days later, on April 21st, we put in some major work around the city of Highland Park, where we found a cache of 20-something pieces ranging from borderline vandalism to borderline fine art. Representing the latter, we give you “Rensone” at 12223 Hamilton….
Found this pair a few blocks to the south at 11351 Hamilton….
….this pair by “Fucte” and “Haeler” at 75 Oakman….
….this pair at Hamilton & Manchester Parkway….
….and this pair, by “Trav” and “Chaos” at 15810 Hamilton:
Found more “Trav” on the northwest side of the intersection of Hamilton and the Davison Freeway….
….and some “Okay” on the southeast side:
Deeper probings into the blighted urban heart of Highland Park led us to the abandoned Glen-Villa Apartments at 138 Glendale, where we found seven solid pieces by the likes of “Esey”, “Wolf”, “J-Mack”, “Jasp” and “Sew”:
Just two blocks to the southeast, at Second & Cortland, among the relative detritus, we found a single photo-worthy piece on the derelict walls of what appeared to be at one a time a public and/or institutional building of some sort:
Another standalone piece just a block and a half away on the walls of the seemingly abandoned structure at approximately 12352 Third Avenue:
Another half block north and one more west brought us to the abandoned former home of Highland Park’s St. Luke’s Hospital at approximately 224 Highland Street and its next-door neighbor at about 210, whose walls are home to a large collection of artless to interesting graffiti, ten of which we deemed worthy of inclusion herein:
Three geographical outliers completed our April discoveries in the general vicinity of Highland Park, though all were actually located in the city limits of Detroit; one at Hamilton & Burlingame….
….”Nietz” at Elmhurst & Lawton….
….and “Loaf” at Monterrey & Linwood. Rest in peace, Brother.
On April 24th we were treated to four delightful floors of “Fel3000ft” in central Mt. Clemens, nearly 20 miles north of downtown Detroit via Gratiot Avenue. Find this lovely by driving north on the unnamed alley/street that runs between Walnut and southbound Gratiot, just to east of the Fifth-Third Bank Branch at 100 Cass Avenue. Ya can’t miss it.
Three days later while cruising down W. Fort Street, at approximately 1616 we came upon two fresh beauties by Detroit’s ever-provocative “Sintex“, including an expertly rendered image of Detroit civil rights legend, Daisy Elliott. Bonus.
One and a half miles later, heading west-by-southwest down Fort Street, we ran into this far less than technically flawless but nevertheless entertaining piece at the corner of Scotten Avenue:
Random city wanderings in late May and early June informed us of 10 more isolated works, found in six largely disconnected Detroit locations. First, on the east side, at the corner of E. Jefferson & Drexel Street, we found this seven-panel, socially conscious installation imploring us to “Eat Local Food”, signed by one “Ghetto Hip-P”. Good luck learning more about this artist. A quick Google search of their nom de plume produces, among the top results, a fascinating list of the “25 Worst Rapper Names of All Time“.
In a vacant lot around Eastern Market we found this unique piece signed by up to three possible creators: “Porab”, “Mozik” (possibly “Mazik”) and “Knuckles”:
Looking north while crossing Woodward at Gratiot & State one fine May afternoon we managed to sneak a quick snappy of this now aged Shepard Fairey work from, oh, sometime in 2015, we’d guess:
Just around the corner at Grand River & Griswold we enjoyed our first viewing of the highly publicized, eleven-story mural, “Unity”, created by the 92-year-old elder statesmen of Detroit public art, Mr. Charles McGee:
Zero idea who created these two highly expressive pieces we chanced upon in the alley that runs north/south from Hancock to Warren Avenue between Trumbull and Commonwealth Street in the city’s Woodbridge neighborhood:
We can tell you with certainty, however, that this sweet painting of Detroit music legend, George Clinton, located just around the corner on the north wall of 4833 Trumbull, was created by local master portraitist, Nicole Macdonald:
And finally, on the far north side, just north of McNichols, on the north wall of 17300 Woodward, this aging, peeling work of wisdom that still manages to impart the beautiful truth about Detroit long after it was first created:
The last nine pieces in our Spring 2017 collection were all found on the mean streets of Ferndale. Find three of the first six on the rear exterior walls of the downtown storefronts ranging from about 180 to 260 W. Nine Mile Road, and the other three in the automobile and pedestrian alleyways at the eastern and western extremes of said storefronts. Signatories include Evan Cissell of heavenlydogs.org, “248STUDIO” of somewhere in Oakland County we’d guess, and “Fridson” which we assume means Fridson Studios of Royal Oak. We could be wrong:
“Fantastic Ferndale” (2008) by Daniel Cascardo is located in the pedestrian alley running south between 131 and 141 W. Nine Mile, just east of Woodward:
An untitled, unsigned blow-up of Metro Detroit (minus Downriver) on the south wall of Rust Belt Market at Woodward & Nine Mile:
Head north on Woodward about five or six blocks to see the last of our Ferndale finds; this one by Daniel Cascardo on the north wall of Steven B’s Barber Shop at 23263 Woodward….
….and this unsigned piece on the north wall of Fern & Dale’s Hair Salon at 23344 Woodward:
And now dear readers, in the hope of endlessly titillating and amusing the 12-year-old within all of us, we head back into the city, to present here for you, as this post’s grand finale, an epic work of unequaled genius the likes of which we are usually loathe to include in our otherwise tasteful pages. Screw it. We’ve done the math. It’s worth the laughs. And now without further ado, the wonderousness that is the south exterior wall of the apartment building on the southwest corner of Linwood & Ford Street in the great, graffiti-laden city of Detroit, Michigan, USA. Don’t hate yourself for luvin’ it! ~I♥DM