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The final day of Movement festival closes out the long weekend on Memorial Day with some of our most anticipated DJ sets from a range of artists including Shigeto, Madlib, Yaeji and more. If the weather or all of the dancing hasn’t exhausted you yet, prepare yourself to close the holiday with one final push. Read on for more of our top staff picks.

CIEL (3PM-4PM, RED BULL STAGE)

Embodying the mantra “think global, act local”, Ciel fuses her skillful prowess and expansive taste with a single-minded resolve to bettering her adopted home of Toronto. She began with a youthful voracity for sound that eventually brought her into college radio and later into DJing, and now into her monthly n10.as show, Work In Progress, where she highlights the best and weirdest in underground electronic music produced by women.

She recently landed with local label Ghostly International, home of one of her all-time favorites Add Mulinix, and has also started her own imprint Parallel Minds, which will act as a further manifestation of her personal values and passion for music. It has been said that at heart, Ciel’s work in electronic music boils down to a simple truth: If everyone isn’t having a good time, what’s the fucking point?

https://soundcloud.com/cl_lit/sets/dj-mag-recognise

LOREN (3PM-5PM, PYRAMID STAGE)

Lauren “Loren” Vellucci has become an integral voice in the Detroit underground scene, as is evident from her residency at the legendary TV Lounge and her work with progressive Detroit promotions group, Dissolute.

From the time her parents first surprised her with 2 turntables and a crate of records, she has continued to define her own style of futuristic, minimal techno, deliberately contributing to her local artistic community and earning the praise of her peers and supporters. She spends most of her days working at the renowned record store Detroit Threads, causally exploring the newest and rarest sounds on the market, and her presence at Movement is expected to be as it is at her shows: genuine, enthusiastic, and appreciative.

https://soundcloud.com/platform/loren

SHIGETO (LIVE) (5:15PM-6:15PM, RED BULL STAGE)

Originally hailing from Ann Arbor, Detroit transplant Shigeto‘s music is a direct representation of his interests, influences, and aspirations. His discography is varied and distinctly personal, featuring a collection of deliberate acts that offer a snapshot of where he has been as an artist, as well as where he was pointed at the time.

As his life continues to develop and unfolds, so does his music, and with the incessantly collaborative nature of Monday is The New Monday series (a weekly residency lucky locals have the pleasure of enjoying his sets weekly at Motor City Wine) as well as the blistering experimentation of his ZGTO collaboration with Zelooperz, Shigeto promises to keep pushing the limits of what he’s done to unlock the potential of what will come next. With his live set on Monday, it’s safe to say that we can expect the unexpected, and we’re definitely excited to see it all happen.

https://shigeto.bandcamp.com/album/the-new-monday

MK (5:30PM-7PM, MOVEMENT STAGE)

MK’s musical progression is a testament to long-term creative development. His roots are purely Detroit, but his early cues come from electronic leaning UK bands like Depeche Mode, New Order and The Cure. As a teenager growing up in close proximity to Detroit’s musical landscape, he found his way into the studio with the city’s nascent techno legends Juan Atkins, Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson at a young age. That experience built the foundation for his success through the mid-90’s, and into his so-called MK hiatus from dance music later in that decade, when his desire to explore other genres of music led him to delve into hip hop, R&B and pop, working with the likes of Quincy Jones, Diane Warren, and Pitbull to name a few. MK’s experience and hard-earned prowess have given him a certain resolve behind the decks, and his sets are further proof that momentum and intention are a formula for artistic success.

https://soundcloud.com/marckinchen

MADLIB (6:15PM-7:45PM, RED BULL STAGE)

Madlib‘s biography reads, “Madlib, aka Beat Konducta (born Madlib the Bad Kid 1922-1993) was an American comedian best known for his starring role on the television sitcom Quasimoto and Son. He was 3/4 African-American and 1/4 Blazed.”

Describing himself as “a DJ first, producer second, and MC last,” Madlib is one of the many aliases of Otis Jackson, Jr., who has become one of the most celebrated, prolific, and eclectic artists in hip-hop since emerging on the scene in the early ’90s. His connection to Detroit has been evident in his storied career, particularly in 2003 when teamed up with fellow producer and Detroit hero J Dilla for the first of a series of collaborative recordings released under the banner Jaylib. Madlib’s propensity for ambitious ideas and undeniable talent have made him a legend, and any true hip hop head would be remiss to not catch his appearance.

https://soundcloud.com/madlib

HEIDI (8PM-9:30PM, STARGATE)

Heidi has worked hard over the past decade to make her mark on the new house and techno music generation. Growing up in Windsor, Ontario Canada, just across the border from Detroit, and then relocating to London in 2000, Heidi’s work has been guided by a pursuit of a certain energy. “I came from the dancefloor, I love dancing, it’s disappointing when you leave without a strong memory from the night, I want to finish it with an explosion.” 

She spends her life surrounded by music, and her genuine ardor for sound allows her to fit within any destination that she plays around the world. For Heidi, the vibe isn’t merely situational; her belief in her own agency and confidence in her abilities have allowed her blossom as an artist that takes pride in connecting with the people that enjoy her music.

https://soundcloud.com/heidi-dj

YAEJI (10:30PM-11:45PM, RED BULL STAGE)

“I’m into it all…” -via Brooklyn-based Yeaji‘s Facebook page. Her catchy music is an intimate presentation of sounds that invite listeners to explore, expand, and heal through movement. Her performance at the festival will not be her first time touching down in Detroit, she packed the house at El Club in late 2018 with fans screaming and bouncing along to her hit single, “Raingurl.”

Within the past couple years, Yeaji’s sonic sensibilities have made her a buzzy up-and-coming name with her first release Yaeji EP, which presents a sound that showcases her many talents while exhibiting an air of comfort that extends to her listeners. Beyond contemplative ambience wrapped in a dance structure, Yeaji’s most popular tracks “Drink I’m Sippin On” and “Raingurl” are just undeniable bops that give her production and DJ sets an energy that simultaneously soothes and invigorates.

https://soundcloud.com/kraejiyaeji

GRIZ [LIVE] (10:45PM-12:00AM, MOVEMENT STAGE)

GRiZ has continued to be on the forefront of independent electronic music throughout the years, from his 2011 debut album to his breakout album Good Will Prevail (September 2016), which debuted at #1 on the iTunes Electronic chart and charted on the Billboard 200 chart.

Ride Waves (self-released on April 5th, 2019) is his most creatively ambitious and most personal project to date, featuring collaborations with major artists like Wiz Khalifa and Bootsy Collins spanning across an expansive 14 tracks. A proud champion of the live electronic landscape, GRiZ’s live shows have resulted in widespread critical acclaim, including selling out the legendary Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Denver for four consecutive years and counting. He also debuted the 15-piece GRiZ Live Band at the iconic venue in 2017, and his headlining set at Movement 2019 promises to be a memorable highlight of his impressive music career.

https://soundcloud.com/griz

The post PLAYGROUND DETROIT MOVEMENT 2019 GUIDE: MONDAY MAY 27 appeared first on PLAYGROUND DETROIT.

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In celebration of what is without a doubt, one of the world’s premiere exhibitions of electronic music, PLAYGROUND has you covered with our annual festival day guide of the emerging and major performances that you need to see, all weekend long. Read on below for all of our rec’s for Day 2 of Movement 2019.

Andrea Ghita (2pm-3pm, Stargate)

Andrea Ghita’s impressive reputation defies her age; at only 24 years old, she has made a name for herself as a solo artist, and also as 1/2 of Detroit’s sister-duo “Ghita Sisters.” Her studied taste for tenebrous sounds and minimalist structures is the result being immersed in Detroit’s music culture at a young age, and her excursions into different tangents underground techno’s deep-rooted history have resulted in a sound that is cognizant of the music’s past and excited for the potential of what’s to come. Having worked side-by-side with some of the city’s greatest local talent, as well as some of the most revered names in Detroit dance music, Ghita is no stranger to the decks and will surely start things off right on Day 2 of Movement 2019.

https://soundcloud.com/littlediscopeach

Circle of Live (3pm-9pm, Tito’s Pop Up Stage)

Envisioned and created by Sebastian Mullaert, Circle Of Live is a natural manifestation of collaborative energy and instinctual creation. Utilizing Sebastian’s unique live set-up which can accommodate any number of participants at once, artists drop in and out and collaborate as much or as little as they like. This year at Movement, he will be joined by Detroit legend Amp Fiddler, underground dance music icon Mathew Jonson, and German techno emissary VRIL

“The main intention with Circle of Live is to inspire people to improvise; let their life be an improvisation; a spontaneous expression of life. In one perspective this is a concept with clear visions and definitions but at the same time the core aim of the project is to allow both us, the artists, and the audience to drop concepts and habitual patterns in the creative process of dance and music.”

– Sebastian Mullaert
DM Nation (3pm-5pm, Red Bull)

DM Nation is many things. This sovereign musical entity arose in tandem with the Detroit Lines collective, which consists of some of Detroit’s most exciting producers in hip hop/trap/whatever else they decide to play. DM Nation’s most recognizable manifestation comes in the form of their Redbull Radio show, which features skywlkr and Black Noi$e playing some of their favorite tracks, from metal to soul to rap and much more. They frequently invite special guests to join them on air, such as Lord Gulley, Meftah, and Jonah Baseball to name a few, and their set promises to be an eclectic collection of pieces of music that are sure to hit you on one level or another, so be sure to come early and expect a few surprises.

https://www.redbullradio.com/shows/dm-nation-black-noie-and-skywlkr/episodes/march-23-2019

Sheefy McFly (6pm-6:30pm, Red Bull)

Sheefy McFly does it all- literally. So it’s no surprise that he is returning to the Red Bull Stage once again. Whether it’s hosting on of Detroit’s most influential underground hip hip parties, “The Air Up There,” painting murals across the city or country, hosting his own art shows or getting accolades from his alma mater (he dropped out of CCS), McFly is prolific. This year, Sheefy promises to bring his personal sense of flair and originality to the Red Bull stage complete with his own tributes to jit, house, techno, hip hop, and much more. If an official set on the festival isn’t enough, he will also hosting and performing at four different events throughout the weekend, so be sure to check out his Instagram for more details.

https://soundcloud.com/mahoganimusic/edwardelecktro-mm37

DJ Minx (6pm-7:30pm, Stargate)

After nearly three decades of DJing, Detroit’s “First Lady of Wax” is still going strong. Her Women on Wax imprint has become a force to be reckoned with in the world of dance music, featuring a well-curated selection of local talent as well as a some incredible music from Minx herself.

She has been recognized as one of the “20 Women Who Shaped the History of Dance Music” by Mixmag and as one of the “Best house music DJs of all time” by TimeOut New York. Last year she was presented with the Spirit of Detroit Award for “exceptional achievement, outstanding leadership and dedication to improving the quality of life” in her city. In short, DJ Minx has nothing more to prove, and we’re looking forward to seeing that freedom shine during her set on Sunday.

https://soundcloud.com/djminx

Sam Austins (8pm-9pm, Red Bull)

The rise of Sam Austins has been hard to miss (does anyone remember that short-lived billboard in Corktown? You didn’t hear it from me). His unique collection of singles is impressive in variety and execution, and his full-length Angst finds Austins at his most vulnerable, a move that set the stage for the successes that he has seen as of recent. From collaborating with Takeadaytrip to being mentored by Pusha T, his charisma and potential have caught the attention of people all across the industry, from Billboard to Lyrical Lemonade and from Ebro to Boi-1da. Given his stratospheric trajectory over the past year, it’s likely that we’ll be seeing a lot more of Sam Austins before 2019 is over.

https://soundcloud.com/samaustins

Gucci Mane (9:15pm-10:15pm, Red Bull)

After his release from prison in 2016, many people have speculated that Gucci Mane may actually be a clone (his response: “I will neither support nor deny those accusations”). I mean, they have a point; how did the guy that let his Bart Simpson chain hit a blunt become the man who was profiled by GQ?

In any case, Gucci’s output in recent years has been just as prolific as his mixtape era, and much like Wu-Tang Clan’s inclusion at last year’s festival, this time slot seems to be a draw for people outside of Movement’s usual fanbase. Or, perhaps, it is an attempt to entice new listeners to accidentally catch some of the best house and techno music in the world.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSugZEYrWbzqIWGD195V-YA

Danny Brown (10:30pm-11:30pm, Red Bull)

With his performance at Movement 2017, Danny Brown cemented his place as one of the most memorable names in Detroit hip hop. Known for his on stage antics and questionable inclinations, the Linwood native graced the stage that night to perform songs old and new, showcasing the range of his talents as evidenced by the intriguing discography that he was brought to life. Listening to XXX, OLD, and Atrocity Exhibition one after another (and throw in a few Detroit State of Mind mixtapes, while you’re at it) is a visceral and fascinating experience, bringing to light the progression of a troubled and inspiring artist that knows who he is and knows where he’s from.

With his upcoming album on the way, which is apparently executive produced by Q-Tip, it seems that we will get a chance to see Danny Brown in his prime. In his own words: “Before, I felt like I was trying to fit in—but for the first time, I feel like I’m making music for me. I know Danny Brown’s sound, and I’m just doing what Danny Brown knows how to do.”

https://pitchfork.com/artists/29257-danny-brown/

The post PLAYGROUND DETROIT MOVEMENT 2019 GUIDE: SUNDAY MAY 26 appeared first on PLAYGROUND DETROIT.

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In Detroit, dedicated electronic music fans lovingly refer to Memorial Day weekend as “Techno Christmas.” Any account of Detroit’s storied musical history is incomplete without mentioning the origins of techno music and the many iterations of what is now Movement Electronic Music Festival.

In celebration of what is without a doubt, one of the world’s premiere exhibitions of electronic music, PLAYGROUND has you covered with our annual festival day guide of the emerging and major performances that you need to see, all weekend long. Check out Saturday’s top DJ sets you do not want to miss.

Al Ester B2B Earl “Mixin” McKinney (2pm-4pm, Stargate)

While there are plenty of reasons to stay up in the nights leading up to the festival, Saturday is the best day to suggest that you arrive when gates open (see our after party guide for more details, coming soon). What better way to start off the festival than by seeing a B2B set from two of Detroit’s finest longtime selectors?

DJ Al Ester has been earning his place in Detroit’s electronic scene since he was 13 years old, and he has continued to feed his love for music for close to three decades, despite keeping a relatively low profile and being somewhat selective about his live appearances.

Earl “Mixin” McKinney’s track record spans just as long, and his journey has taken him from the halls of Mumford High School in Detroit (where he was an audio / visual aid) to sharing booths with some of the biggest names in house music. From his artist bio: “(McKinney) is a beast on any medium, but vinyl is where his skill and longevity in the game are at its best.”

Featured Mix: https://soundcloud.com/emixxin313/party-favors-cttp

DJ Holographic (3:30-5pm, Red Bull Stage)

Detroit’s DJ Holographic is on a mission to “serve a mix of musical cuisine that contains consuming house beats, passionate R&B with Hip Hop, unreserved disco, true Detroit Techno, and Motown.” She has spent the past year traveling to play for crowds around the world, and has DJ’d at most every notable underground venue in her hometown as well.

Her work embodies an emphasis on paying tribute to electronic music’s roots and how they are entwined with the LGBTQ+ community, and she is currently spending much of her time in the studio at Submerge working on her first release. She also hosts a monthly radio show on Red Bull Radio called Stardust that is broadcast live from Red Bull Studio in Detroit, and her next episode airs this Friday at 4pm, aptly titled, “Because of Detroit.”

MGUN (4pm-6pm, Movement Stage):

2019 marks the first time MGUN is performing at the festival, fresh off his latest release FP002 //The Nerve EP, which now available here. Before he was ‘MGUN,’ Manuel Gonzalez first emerged with the Wild Oats released “Laygo My Faygo” as part of NSNT PRJCT alongside Kyle Hall in 2010. In 2012 he first began releasing 12″ EPs as MGUN, starting with Harmnear on Wild Oats and The Upstairs Apt. on U.K. label Don’t Be Afraid.

Since then, he has continued to create his experimental, genre-defying sound using analog equipment and recording most of his music in one take directly to cassette. After taking 2015 off, he resumed his release schedule in 2016 with the debut MGUN full-length Gentium, on Don’t Be Afraid.

FP002 //The Nerve EP

He followed in 2018 with Axiom, which was recorded between shifts at Peoples Records in Detroit, where Gonzales “absorbs endless releases and rediscoveries passing through the stock, trading the occasional tip with some of Detroit’s best known producers.” Check out Gonzalez’s release FP002 //The Nerve EP here.

Maya Jane Coles (7pm-8:30pm, Pyramid Stage)

Maya Jane Coles was first Brough into music by the mixture of sounds she heard at home, from dub to punk to soul to jazz to world to classical. Maya began to pick up a few instruments herself and started to produce at a young age, and now it is typical for her to have written, produced, engineered, arranged, mixed, and performed every element of her tracks.

Performing under a number of monikers and as a part of several groups, by the age of 24 Maya had already played in over 30 countries at some of the most prestigious venues in the world. 2017’s ‘Take Flight,’ released on her label I/AM/ME, is certainly a highlight of her impressive discography, as is her “Waves & Whirlwinds EP” from earlier this year, which you can listen to below:

https://soundcloud.com/mayajanecoles/sets/waves-whirlwinds-ep-1

Virgil Abloh (8:30pm-10pm, Pyramid Stage):

Though he is best known for his work as a fashion designer with his brand OFF-WHITE and his recent position as Men’s Artistic Director for Louis Vuitton, perhaps fewer people know that Virgil Abloh has been DJing under the name Flat White since as early as 1998.

His affinity for music has certainly been influenced by his relationship with Kanye West, and his musical pursuits have brought him to venues around the world (he has played City Club with Brodinski and Detroit’s own Black Noi$e) and earned him placements at some of music’s biggest festivals. If anything, the set will be a rare chance to see a master of several disciplines making time for a passion that has also become something more, another piece of Abloh’s creative identity that surely cross-pollinates with his work beyond music.

https://soundcloud.com/vvvirgilabloh/circoloco_sept17

LSD (10pm-11:30pm, Underground Stage)

Each member of LSD, in their own right, has left a significant mark on techno music over the last two decades. As a group, Luke Slater, Steve Bicknell, David Sumner form a synergistic combination of their individual talents and tendencies, blurring the line between DJing and live performance to their mutual benefit. With their three track debut on Ostgut Ton, Process, as well as the upcoming launch of their self-titled label, the group is preparing for an exciting year as they pursue the intrinsic chemistry and improvisational nature of their latest collaboration. Imagine a very promising b2b2b set, except refined by time and nurtured by a shared appreciation for the potential in what the trio has created together.

https://ostgut.bandcamp.com/album/process

The post PLAYGROUND DETROIT MOVEMENT 2019 GUIDE: SATURDAY MAY 25 appeared first on PLAYGROUND DETROIT.

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Last weekend Galstock debuted its all-female festival at Tangent Gallery, with nearly $1500 in proceeds raised that will benefit Girls Rock Detroit and March of Dimes. As lucky attendees may know, Stef Chura was the surprise guest and the night even included local Girl Scout troops made an appearance to sell cookies as young entrepreneurs.

Galstock, Tangent Gallery, Photography: Lizz Wilkinson

Organized by Takayla Paterson, Galstock featured many women musicians and performers from the local Detroit areas including Britney Stoney, Double Winter, Tiny Jag, White Bee, DJ StacyeJ, Milfie, Yukiko and Neena Roe showcasing the contemporary landscape of Detroit performing women.

Tangent Gallery, Galstock, Photography: Lizz Wilkinson

The mission of Galstock is to create a friendly environment for women to build relationships and network with other inspiring local artist and entrepreneurs. Check out photos taken by photographer Lizz Wilkinson of the 2019 Galstock event host by powerful, and enthusiastic women.

Double Winter performs at Tangent Gallery. Photography: Lizz Wilkinson Augusta Morrison, Double Winter. Photography: Lizz Wilkinson
Yukiko DJ set. Photography: Lizz Wilkinson
Prissy Blanco, Galstock, Tangent Gallery, Photography: Lizz Wilkinson Tiny Jag, Tangent Gallery, Galstock, Photography: Lizz Wilkinson White Bee, Tangent Gallery, Galstock, Photography: Lizz Wilkinson White Bee. Photography: Lizz Wilkinson Galstock, Tangent Gallery, Photography: Lizz Wilkinson Britney Stoney. Tangent Gallery, Galstock, Photography: Lizz Wilkinson Britney Stoney. Photography: Lizz Wilkinson Britney Stoney. Galstock, Tangent Gallery, Photography: Lizz Wilkinson Britney Stoney. Galstock, Tangent Gallery, Photography: Lizz Wilkinson Galstock, Tangent Gallery, Photography: Lizz Wilkinson Galstock, Tangent Gallery, Photography: Lizz Wilkinson Al Casinelli, (Founder of Alstock) at Galstock, Tangent Gallery, Photography: Lizz Wilkinson Milfie, Tangent Gallery, Galstock, Photography: Lizz Wilkinson Problematicblackhottie, Tangent Gallery, Galstock, Photography: Lizz Wilkinson

The post Galstock 2019 at Tangent Gallery [Photo Recap] appeared first on PLAYGROUND DETROIT.

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Cousin Mouth - Mongrel (Live from the Basement) - YouTube

Cousin Mouth’s new visual for “Mongrel,” premieres today with a track off of their forthcoming project that represents the most recent iteration of the group’s structure and sound. Though the instrumentation and the general approach noticeably differ from their past work, Cousin Mouth has retained the engrossing poise of Medusa, while embracing the challenge and potential of live recording and progressively intricate composition.

In the song and accompanying video, the group consists of usual frontman Alex Burns joined by a stellar cast of collaborators, with supercoolwicked on backup vocals, Sasha Kashperko on guitar / bass, and Will Daniels on drums.

The collaborative energy is apparent in both sound and presentation, with the visuals (shot by Noah Elliot Morrison) giving a raw and honest look into the process behind this next project, giving a taste of what’s to come that is still enigmatic enough to keep listeners wondering.

“Mongrel” Single Art

The video naturally compliments the live recording, which was captured, mixed, and mastered by Eddie Logix. This release represents a merging of many talents and an exciting look into the future of a promising group in Detroit’s ever-expanding indie and DIY scene.

The post PREMIERE: COUSIN MOUTH RELEASES NEW SINGLE “MONGREL” + VIDEO appeared first on PLAYGROUND DETROIT.

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Spring is here and the month of May is always popping in Detroit. Aside from Movement Festival Weekend [more on that coming soon] check out some of our top staff picks for this month.

Speaking of the biggest music weekend of the year, don’t miss the opportunity to explore some of our top staff picks going down before the Movement Festival officially kicks off Downtown at Hart Plaza. Everything from Murals and Sliders happening in Highland Park to the Detroit’s biggest and baddest block party with Adidas for The Do-Over.

Nique Love & NLR Exp. // Annamaria // Lu Fuki & Divine Prov.

Friday, May 17th 8pm-12am

Art of Armageddon Beachparty -1517 Putnam Detroit, MI

The super cool Armageddon Beachparty Lounge is one of the coolest hidden gems in Detroit. Co-owners and curators of Art of Armageddon Beachparty have transformed the space into an art gallery and venue in Woodbridge neighborhood. The experience will feature Nique Love Rhodes & The NLR Experience, Annamaria, Lu Fuki and Divine Providence.

$10 Cover

Murals and Sliders IX

Saturday, May 18th 7pm-11pm

Midland Annex Gallery – 333 Midland St Highland Park, MI

This should be a fun night with lots of dope ass art from JIMBO, Cydney Camp, FFTY and many more. Food for your belly’s provided by Master Chef Fresh and sounds by Gulley to help you dance off those damn burgers.

$10 Cover

The Slideshow Series: ‘God Said Give Em Drum Machines’

Tuesday, May 21st 7pm-9pm

Red Bull Arts Detroit – 1551 Winder St Detroit, MI

The new documentary “God Said Give ‘Em Drum Machines” with Kristian Hill and Jennifer Washington follows legendary Detroit artist who “invented” Techno. The documentary tracks the culture, political, personal and racial dynamis that have impacted music for the last 30 years. In an amazing presentation of images, you’ll get to see the work of the director thus far as the film is still a work-in-progress. Be prepared for deep dialogue at the end.

More information here

Makings of You: A Spiritual Art Experience

Friday, May 24th – Sunday May 26th 6pm-11pm

Midland Annex Gallery – 333 Midland St Highland Park, MI

This three-day art installation will focus on themes of identity and transformation through visual, performing and healing arts. A majority of the installation has been inspired by pioneer singer/songwriter Curtis Mayfield. Guest are invited to reflect upon who they are and who we are as a collective. Each day will feature something new and exciting, topics and talks led by community members will include ancestral healing, sacred movement and Herbal Allies.

Tickets range from $8-$13, check out how to purchase here.

The Do-Over Detroit Block Party

Sunday, May 26th 2pm-10pm

The Belt – 1260 Library Street Detroit, MI

If you want to go to something low-key or chill… then this ain’t the party for you! The Do-Over is returning to Detroit for The Annual Belt Alley Block Party presented by Adidas Originals. Every year this party packs The Belt with thousands of people and always includes a heavy hitting DJ list. There will be a mystery guest DJ** (stay tuned!) that will promise to be sending shock waves through downtown Detroit mixed in with some classic block party music.

RSVP

Featured image credit, Bre’Ann White.

The post #PLAYDETROIT: MAY EVENTS HAPPENING IN DETROIT appeared first on PLAYGROUND DETROIT.

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Detroit Art Week, happening on July 16 – 21, 2019, is an annual self-guided tour and citywide celebration of contemporary art in Detroit, which has announced the independent curators participating in Young Curators, New Ideas V (YCNI V) will take place from Wednesday, July 17 to Sunday, July 21, 2019 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Trumbull & Porter Hotel Detroit.

Participating curators include Isabella Achenbach, Marian Casey, Luna Goldberg, Amanda McDonald Crowley, Rosie Motley, Gina Mudge, Vera Petukhova, Sophie Olympia Riese, Kasia Sobucka, Nadia Tahoun, Darryl DeAngelo Terrelland Yulia Topchiy.

YCNI V shines a light on the cultural, artistic, social and political transformations initiated by the creative and curatorial practices by those identifying as, woman, Black, POC, LGBTQ+ and gender-nonconforming. With a sense of urgency and relevancy, each multifaceted micro-exhibition will transform a 256 square-foot hotel room into an immersive installation, fostering provocative discussions on the most pressing issues of our time.Identity, the body and the environment are key components in many of the works, all of which explore varying socio-personal themes, including colonialism, consumerism, sexism, gender, gentrification, gun violence, politics and relationships.

By examining societal traditions and the impact of the digital world and social media, these exhibitions question and subvert our social norms. They also shed light on how the erasure and reconstruction of the past has shaped our present and is molding our future. Individual experience and one’s unique orientation to cultural and ideological developments have the power to transform perspectives— for better and for worse. Space is also a factor; the exhibition centers viewpoints of how we create, hold on to and enforce our boundaries— both internally and in the physical world. From painting, performance and sculpture to multimedia, experiential/ephemeral and site-specific installations, artists and curators from multicultural backgrounds share their expansive, divergent insights of our current world.

Participating artists include Fafnir Adamites, Jess Bass, Rachelle Dang, Grey Ellis, Harry Gould Harvey IV, David Heo, Leena Joshi, Lauren Kalman, Amy Khoshbin, Kameron Neal, Dana Nechmad, Derrick Woods Morrow, Katarzyna Perlak, Irit Rosenberg, Wilton Tejeda and Sebastián Villamil.Support for Young Curators, New Ideas V comes from Stephanie Baptist, Heather Bhandari, Melannie Chard, Simone de Sousa, Kyle DeWoody, Eric Gleason, Micaela Martegani, Victor Martin-Malburet, Monique Meloche, Melissa Netecke, Folake Ologunja, Michael Pozner, Megha Ralapati, Rebecca Ross, Carole Server, Franklin Sirmans, Sue Stoffel, Frank Tribble, Elizabeth Tucker, Tiana Webb Evans and Hank Willis Thomas.

Derrick Woods-Morrow, Box of 64, 2018, Sculpture & performance, 8 x 2 1/4 in. H x 4 in. W., Courtesy of the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Photo: Nathan Keay

Featured Curators Isabella Achenbach

All-Inclusive: Fantasy Suiteis a site-specific installation by Bogotá-based artist Sebastián Villamil that transforms a once-ordinary Trumbull & Porter hotel room into a color-blasted, Disney-inspired, fantasy-filled suite. It is playful, it is twisted. Villamil’s installation will center around his expansive collection of Disney and Marvel plastic action figures, none of which look like your typical blue-eyed blonde-haired Sleeping Beauty or chiseled Thor. Instead, Villamil scours the pirated goods of Bogotá’s street vendors for iconic toys with physical “defects” in their representation: Cinderella is thick with wide hips, Tiana is white with blonde hair, Batman is squat with no bone structure. In their physicality, the toys address the mass production of hegemonic ideology, enabled by the multi-billion dollar consumer market of Disney, and its promotion of strictly heteronormative Western beauty, gender and sexuality standards. The characters are representatives of American ideals—mass-produced and globally traded, from factory to child. With additional examination on authenticity, origin, appropriation and commodification, All-Inclusive: Fantasy Suite upends the Trumbull & Porter hotel room with custom-made sheets, towels, rugs, key cards, bath products, et al., each printed and uniquely designed with images of Villamil’s “misfit” toys. 

Marian Casey

How do we relate to the precarity, comfort and joy of queer spaces created just for ourselves? What is our role in remembering and recording those spaces once they’re gone?

Throughout the 1990s, self-taught artist Scott Swoveland painted over 500 unrepentantly queer murals for Houston bar Mary’s. Contextualized by Swoveland’s story and broader questions of queer place, legacy and cycles of regeneration, erasure and violence, Kameron Neal, in HotHouse, will present a site-specific video installation exploring the ways in which we encode our history and use technology to craft compelling performances of self. Like Swoveland, his work displays a humor, color and energy, even while exploring mortality and inherited community trauma. Neal constructs kinetic environments of stop-action photography, glitch, live video and bodily fluids that serve as arenas for him to learn how to touch and be touched.

The project draws inspiration and context from one queer history in Houston, but understands it as one of many valuable stories across the U.S, at risk of loss. As we acknowledge Stonewall’s 50th anniversary, we seek new methods of commemorating and archiving regional instances of queer resistance that can provide fresh contexts for current LGBTQ artists and narratives.

Luna Goldberg

In an era of seductive aesthetics, commodity feminism and fake news, Women, Womyn, Womxn examines what it means to build an intersectional political movement and inclusive spaces for womxn. With the rise of American conservatism since the 2016 elections, institutions such as Planned Parenthood have been subject to slander and public attacks. The Hillary Clinton “I’m with Her” campaign brought with it a wave of products inscribed with popular slogans such as “The Future is Female” and “Nasty Woman.” In their use of feminist catchphrases and ‘empowering’ visuals, these products utilized the commercial power of aesthetics and language to passively engage millennials. By purchasing these commodities, people were released from the responsibility of actually participating in civic engagement and social change.   

Featuring interactive installations and performative works by Dana Nechmad and David Heo, Women, Womyn, Womxn questions preconceptions of feminism, recontextualizing its visual language to bring awareness to the emptiness of commodified activism. Centered around sites commonly associated with the female body – the bath and the bed – the exhibition aims to examine the potential of feminism and the aesthetics of femininity by transforming domestic aspects of the Trumbull & Porter hotel room.

Sebastián Villamil, Cinderella #9, 2019, Batman #4, 2018, Digital print, Dimensions variable. Courtesy the artist

Amanda McDonald Crowley

At Tinyscissors Tattoo Parlor Detroit, Iranian-American artist and politician Amy Khoshbin offers bespoke line drawing tattoos of non-violent imagery. Amy engages parlor visitors in conversations about their experience of gun violence in America, and the ways we can heal together moving forward, literally and figuratively, while they acquire a tattoo.

Tinyscissors Tattoo Parlor Detroit is an intimate setting in which to discuss and envision how we can shift culture towards compassion. Amy’s tattoos serve as a permanent reminder of the conversation in an operational tattoo pop-up shop where she is working with the body as the canvas for this participatory artwork.  

Nearly 40,000 people died from gun violence in 2018, yet imagery of guns, weapons and violent acts pervade our media, sociocultural psyche, our bodies and walls of our tattoo parlors. How can we shift our culture towards an iconography of non-violence? Amy asks: what is the opposite of a weapon? Resulting drawings, prints and sculptures form the basis of tattoo designs.

We will serve tea and commission local candy-makers to realize sweets using Amy’s tattoo designs. Like any good tattoo parlor, we will also offer merchandise and custom limited-edition prints of flash pages of tattoo designs.

Rosie Motley  

To touch the sky with roses brings together new sculpture and drawing by Rachelle Dang and Harry Gould Harvey IV. Dang and Harvey manipulate primary materials such as wood, clay, wire, graphite, aluminum and cement to trace complex and often invisible histories – both personal and collective – and the ecological devastation that accompanies anthropic activity. Dang’s installation considers the implications of colonial legacy. Ceramic Breadfruits, based on Tahitian samplings exploited by European explorers in the late 18th century, are cast in varying states of decay. The fluctuating fruits adopt anthropomorphic qualities – their puckered surfaces recalling dimpled or goose-bumped skin – and suggest the corresponding effects of violence on ecosystems and bodies. Harvey’s sculptures are hand-carved from foraged driftwood and other repurposed materials sourced in and around Rhode Island. Guillotines, panopticons, fanatic rhetorics and severed heads allude to transient systems of surveillance, coercion and control. Harvey’s nonhierarchical approach to media and insistence on utilizing found and recycled materials is motivated by a spiritual fidelity to geo-locality and environment. Rejecting institutionalized modes of production, Harvey lifts elements of modernism with folk-tradition to engage the complexity of human motivation and behavior throughout history.

Gina Mudge

Transitional, the exhibition title, is a commonly used term to describe Boston, Massachusetts. As a Mecca for institutions of higher education, we have become a temporary home for many, but consequently, a permanent home for few. 

This exhibition invites the viewer to understand this housing crisis through the eyes of Wilton Tejeda: long term Boston resident, painter, educator and mover. The main tool of his trade? A moving dolly – the most concrete symbol of transition. This imagery highlights the emotional state of being “in between” – a phenomenon Wilton confronts regularly. A Latino artist committed to diversity in art education – overcome with the overwhelming whiteness of his institution. Nostalgic for the way his home used to be, yet believing that a urban metamorphosis can be positive.

A positive metamorphosis? One would hope that our city’s accessibility to such an abundance of technology would allow us to find environmentally and economically sustainable solutions. After all, we are in fact “the COMMONWEALTH of Massachusetts” – one of only four states categorized as such in the nation, a designation initially chosen for its subtle anti-monarchial sentiment. Shouldn’t that imply a commitment to utilize shared resources for the common good of all? 

Irit Ovadia Rosenberg, Untitled, 2000-2008, Stoneware, metal, 9.5 x 10 x 1.5 in. Courtesy of the artist, Photo: Andrew Marshall

Vera Petukhova

The title for the exhibition SOCIOECONOMIC BODIES— inspired by the text “Cognitarian Subjectivation” (2010) by Franco Bifo Berardi — is the proposition that our bodies are affected via the nervous system by the socio-economic climate. Chronic illness and mental illness are specifically addressed in the exhibition as afflictions stemming from bi-products of accelerated Late Capitalism. The ways in which economies directly affect a city are embedded in the recent history of Detroit, similarly these effects are embodied in the experience of mental and chronic illness. The rapidly developing Corktown neighborhood that is supporting the exhibition, comes into the fold when considering art and culture acting as catalysts to gentrification. Raising the question: how does chronic illness and anxiety intersect with spaces of cultural production? SOCIOECONOMIC BODIES will feature work by artist and cultural producer Grey Ellis and multidisciplinary artist Leena Joshi. The installed work will activate these questions through an experiential exhibition within the politically active agenda brought forward by Young Curators, New Ideas V.

Sophie Olympia Riese

What are the impacts of walls, maps and borders on our society and on our individual psyches? Since the time humans began sheltering together, even before they moved out of caves and started building structures, they have been infatuated by walls. As human societies grew, so too did the scale of this obsession: we began making walls so big we needed maps to keep track of what they enclosed. Maps too are written by the victor, defining spaces and peoples.

In Real Imagined Borders, Irit Rosenberg presents visceral sculptures that explore the true impact of these divisions on our society. She is heavily influenced by her experiences as a child in the early days of Israel’s statehood and her perception of the importance of maps and borders in that society. This concept reemerged for her while living in the United States during the 1990s, when a wall between Mexico and the US first entered the public imagination. Today, the work that sprang from this focus seems even more prescient, and more poignant. Robert Frost’s “Mending Wall” and a late introduction to ceramics became the jumping off point for a central question: Who, if anyone, benefits from these divisive constructions?

Kasia Sobucka  

Politics and feelings have been a driving force behind the development of Katarzyna Perlak’s practice. She’s most influenced by her experiences as a woman, queer, Eastern European and an immigrant. The starting point for her work is often autobiographical, which she then expands into intersubjective dialogues, tapping into ideas of desires and shared vulnerabilities, collective memory and history and asks what the tradition is, whom does it belong to and how can it be reclaimed by those that are marginalized within it?

While continuously revisiting hope, affect, helplessness and strategies of coping with situations of crisis – political or personal – Katarzyna’s works have become increasingly engaged with text and semantics. She investigates the epistemological transference from ‘utopian visions’ to ‘utopian feelings’ and consequently the shift from the spatially oriented notions of utopia to those that are time oriented and based in ‘utopian experiences’. 

Wish Landscapes will explore experiences of exhaustion and hope and deal with the subjects of migration and belonging through the portrayal and representation of stories and experiences. Wish Landscapes takes its title from Ernst Bloch’s definition of the relationship between contemporary notions of utopia, hope and horizon. 

Lauren Kalman, Avatars, 2015, Slip cast earthenware, gold-plated brass, paper mache, leather, glass, 14 x 10 x 10 in. each, Courtesy of Lauren Kalman, Photo: Lauren Kalman

Nadia Tahoun

Women’s Work and the Apocalypse surveys a not-so-distant future. 

Set in a hotel room, both familiar and foreign, audiences enter into a new landscape in an environment that was known, now vanished and regrown. The room has become an abandoned cave of foliage, yet there seems to be something living in it. Indeed, parts of the hotel room have remained unchanged for years, but there is an apparent new life outside of nature’s revival and defiance. In the middle of the room hangs a clothing line with new fibers stretched like canvas. A slight breeze moves through the room, and the cloth sways. Everything else is still- as if the environment knows an audience is intruding. The space mimics an amphitheater; the cloth performs as if on a stage and the audience moves around the objects on view. Someone or something had just been here, donning the tapestries and laying them to dry in the heat. 

In this exhibit, Fafnir Adamites and Jess Bass create an immersive narrative landscape about what it means to make and sustain a home in loss; the artists question what of domestic work will remain after societal systems have failed against earth’s retaliation. 

Darryl DeAngelo Terrell

What does it mean to memorialize the safe spaces in which queer, black bodies have existed? Box of 24 shares the work of Chicago-based artist Derrick Woods-Morrow, who aims to reconcile the histories of queer bodies and their relationship to land. Centering around locations historically used for cruising by queer men of color, Woods-Morrow explores the significance of their existence from the 1970s to the present. By collecting elements of these cruising spaces—such as sand from black and queer-friendly beaches and parks in New York and New Orleans and bricks from the George Washington monument in the South Side of Chicago—he aims to immortalize the unwritten history of the people that occupied these spaces. In an alchemical transformation that crystallizes the bricks by fusing them with the sand, there is a transmuting of the past, present and future— unifying them into a singular body. Box of 24 consists of collected, crystallized sand and brick, a recorded performance by Woods-Morrow at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and photographs from Fire Island, New York and Lincoln Beach in New Orleans.

Yulia Topchiy

Embodiers, created by Detroit based metalsmith, performance and object artist Lauren Kalman, consists of video, costumes, mask forms, installation and interactive jewelry exhibition. In this exhibition, Kalman uses craft mediums and decorative objects as a strategic choice. Minimalism, intellectual purity, the health industry and white male privilege are linked historically, and that link was codified aesthetically throughout the Modernist period. Body adornment as decoration can be a necessary interruption to the myopic intellectual order of the established lineages of art and design and established cultural norms more broadly. The legacy of modernism, minimalism and the high arts (sculpture and painting) have historically privileged the cerebral over the corporeal. Crafts, in contrast, have long been associated with domestic, bodily and female. As Kalman’s work deals largely with the female body, it calls upon historical associations with craft and the feminine.  

Embodiers is comprised of objects from several bodies of work including masks, garments and performance video from, Avatars; But if the Crime is Beautiful… Strangers to the Garden an installation using thousands of decorative leaves; and jewelry objects that reference erotic zones in the body titled Icons of the Flesh.

The post Young Curators, New Ideas V presented by Detroit Art Week at Trumbull & Porter appeared first on PLAYGROUND DETROIT.

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GalStock is a celebration of the talents and successes of the women of Detroit, taking place this Saturday, May 11th at Tangent Gallery. This is the inaugural festival with proceeds raised that will benefit Girls Rock Detroit and March of Dimes.

Powered by women for women, GalStock will feature local women musicians and performers, showcase local visual artists and give attendees an opportunity to discover and support local women-run businesses. GalStock takes pride in creating a safe, unique and memorable space that is inclusive to both women and gender nonconforming people.

The primary goal of GalStock is to connect women and build a network of support for local artists and small-business owners, all while raising funds to benefit and empower future generations of women in Detroit. GalStock will create opportunity for women who are active supporters of Detroit’s cultural advancement by staffing a girl-powered production team, including production managers, performers, security, promotions, etc.

Featured performers include some seriously hot Detroit talent including:

Britney Stoney

Double Winter

Tiny Jag

White Bee

DJ StacyeJ

Milfie

Yukiko

Neena Roe

…and a very special guest! We can’t share who- but you don’t want to miss her surprise performance. Help GalStock accomplish this goal by simply purchasing a ticket or donating at galstock.eventbrite.com!

GalStock, Saturday May 11th 2019

8pm Tangent Gallery, 715 East Milwaukee Avenue, Detroit, MI 48202

General Admission Tickets are now on sale for $15 at galstock.eventbrite.com

Follow GalStock for more announcements @GALSTOCK

The post GalStock Celebrates Detroit Women Musicians featuring Britney Stoney, Double Winter, Tiny Jag, Milfie & more appeared first on PLAYGROUND DETROIT.

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SAFE SPACE, a group exhibition curated by We-Are-Familia, is currently on view at the Detroit Public Library, open to the public now through May 3, 2019, which features the work of 24 local artists and designers. This exhibition celebrates Detroit’s thriving arts scene while bypassing the traditional realms of galleries and museums. Instead, it brings their diverse and spirited work to the Library, a welcoming place where the community can congregate: a safe space. We-Are-Familia asked a rich variety of artists and designers what “safe space” means to them.

The list of exhibitors includes native Detroiters, longtime residents, and newcomers to the city — many of whom have immigrated here from around the world. Their creative contributions to Detroit are helping shape the city’s future during an exciting time, when the possibilities are endless. SAFE SPACE spotlights Detroit’s vast creativity by featuring a diverse cross section of artists and designers.

Aaron Blendowski, Blue Spill Mirror (Voyager Series), Industrial Resin/Glass, 47 x 38 x 11″

Local Artists and Designers include an impressive and well-curated roster featuring Aaron Blendowski, Alex Youkanna, Aislinn Wendrow: Friendship Circle Soul Studio Blake Jackson: Friendship Circle Soul Studio, Bre’Ann White, Chad Wentzel, Christian Mickovic, Elizabeth Youngblood, Jonathan Barnett: Friendship Circle Soul Studio Laura Quattrocchi, Lauren Kalman, Marco Lorenzetti, Michael Christy, Nadiya I. Nacorda Nina Cho, Osman Khan, OUIZI (Louise Jones), Renee Rials, Sam Keller, Sarah C. Blanchette Stephanie Harris: Friendship Circle Soul Studio, TMRWLND (Dereck Seltzer) and William Kan.

OUIZI , Shanghai Red, 2017, Acrylic on Cradled Wood Panel, 5 x 5 feet

From a storytelling robot designed by Michigan professor Osman Khan, to paintings and woven pieces from Soul Studio’s program for artists with special needs, to mirror-centric works by up-and-coming industrial designers Aaron Blendowski and Nina Cho — SAFE SPACE seeks to “showcase an expansive array of artistic styles and mediums that embody Detroit’s thriving creativity.”

Laura Quattrocchi, Installation View

Following the exhibition’s final day, We-Are-Familia will be hosting a celebration on Saturday May 4th at 9PM at Candy Bar in The Siren Hotel, a vibrant cocktail lounge inside one of the world’s best-designed hotels. The event will be co-hosted by Friends and Lovers in Brooklyn, with DJKenan Juska, who hosts the celebrated radio show “Chances with Wolves.”

Sam Keller, Can (Faygo) 2019, Found Can, Swarovski Crystals, 5.5 x 3.5 inches

We-Are-Familia is a group of artists and designers from around the world who work collaboratively. Together, they build community through the arts, which are multi-sensory and multi-linguistic. We-Are-Familia has exhibited at The Museum of Art and Design, New York City, Colette Paris, and at the Fountain Art Fairs in New York City and Miami. Past initiatives include a Keepsake Box project and multiple site-specific events that take over otherwise uninhabited spaces.

The Detroit Public Library is the fourth largest in the country; the first building opened during the Civil War, surprising the city with over 5,000 volumes of choice and rare works—free to the public. At the time, the Detroit Free Press wrote, “Its influences for good cannot be too highly estimated.” Since then, its legacy is steeped in pursuit of social progress, such as being home to the first black president of the American Library Association Clara Stanton Jones.

The post SAFE SPACE Group Exhibition on view through May 4th at Detroit Public Library appeared first on PLAYGROUND DETROIT.

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Scott Berels is a sculptor and visual artist living and working in Detroit, Michigan. He is also the founder of Def Fab Design, an independent fabrication workshop located in a 5000-square foot warehouse space for commercial and residential clients, as well as general contractors including CNC machining, welding, woodworking and 3D design.

His artwork is focused in cast iron, and utilizes many of the mold-making industrial and craft materials from this process in order to make non-metal sculptures and paintings. The 2D artwork that he creates is considered to be his own ‘iron casting rehab,’ which embody the residue of industrial processes present in his own metalwork practice.

Image credit, CJ Benninger @themrcj

Berels has a Bachelor Degree of Fine Art from Wayne State University in sculpture and photography where he earned numerous accolades and scholarships. He has exhibited in various solo and group exhibitions at Detroit Artist Market, Whitdel Arts Gallery, The Scarab Club, Cass Cafe, Wayne State Community Arts Gallery, 555 Gallery, Movement Festival, Detroit Design Festival, Mars Gallery Chicago Artist in Residence: Fortress Studios Detroit, Franconia Sculpture Park, and The Paradise Pour.

“In this series of work in this style I’ve been creating, the focus is on the patterns and the surface of the artworks.”

Image credit, CJ Benninger @themrcj

I use a piece angle iron stock to drag this metal bar and tape off sections, then lay it across the surface using spray paint to create patterns, and at the very end I pull the tape off, and that’s the precision aspect.

Unwrapping these stencil works is exciting because you don’t know what you have until you peel it off. I compare it to iron-casting and mold-making because sometimes you don’t even know if you have anything until you crack it open, and you’re like, ‘oh man- this mold completely failed, and I’m out a couple hundred dollars and a months worth of work…’ but it’s the nature of the beast.

I started making more ephemeral things and caste iron- stuff that I didn’t care about if it came out, and made more abstract things and patterns that are quick and easy to make.

Image credit, CJ Benninger @themrcj

“The duality for me [in making 2D works] is utilizing the same fabrication techniques and some of the material without it actually being fabrication.”

When did you know you wanted to be an artist?  

I knew I wanted to be an artist in high school. In 9th grade, I would skip class and go make drawings in the art room. Sometimes there were other classes in session and everyone knew I wasn’t supposed to be there. The teacher was soon to retire and a good teacher, but he didn’t care that I was there, or that I was breaking rules. The hall monitors and principles felt differently. This was set the path for me in a sense. At first, it seemed like a clever way to get out of class without actually leaving the school. I later realized I had a unique direction in my life, and making art became very important to me. My parents were very creative people and they were supportive of just about anything creative that I wanted to pursue.

Scott Berels. Image credit, CJ Benninger @themrcj

What are some of the highlights throughout your career as a working artist?

I’m just excited that I get to choose what I’m doing with my day. Running a business is apparently very difficult, but I prefer that over punching in to a clock. The gratification that comes with accomplishing tasks that were previously unimaginable and very intimidating feels like climbing a mountain. You get to look back at what you did and be like, ‘wow- that was hard, fun, painful and rewarding.’ You take that with you and apply it to everything else you do. To have the confidence to look at a project or a mountain and say, “Yeah, I can do that,” —  this is very empowering.

I’ve built two permanent outdoor CorTen steel sculptures that felt like I had climbed a mountain once they were completed which include the Russell Thayers Sundial Gnomon in Rochester, Michigan and Judith Hoffmans, “American Dream” house sculpture in Portland, Maine. Both of these sculptures had municipal events scheduled around the unveiling of each piece, so I had hard deadlines and time in each of these cases were the ‘mountain.’ Aside from time, the actual tons of steel and the heights involved were second in comparison, each as their own mountain..

What concept, theme and medium are you most interested in?

I like to work in many materials, and my skills and knowledge span across many mediums—

Image credit, CJ Benninger @themrcj

Metal picked me though.

When I was 20, my father left me a MIG welder and told me just to make something cool with it. After he passed away, I wanted to honor his wishes, but I didn’t know how to use the machine. I was enrolled in a local community college taking art classes already so I signed up to take sculpture welding with Ray Katz. I absolutely loved the shop studio environment. From the heat, to the grime, to the attitude of the tool crib tech, I was hooked. He ended up giving me an A in the class after making about a dozen small sculptures, a medium sized sculpture and a chair, and also gave me a job working with him in his studio. Working with him was short-lived unfortunately due to a back injury I had.

It wasn’t until years later that I got into metal casting at Wayne State University. This is where my love for metal happened. Cast bronze and aluminum were my mediums, until my first iron pour. It was then that I found a spiritual sort of connectedness to the materials, the process and the collaboration.

I’m interested in work that displays exceptional craftsmanship. I enjoy work made in metal, but specifically sculpture work that has 3D and digitally designed elements. I particularly appreciate any work that has an organic quality mixed with high-polished elements. I am a big fan of anything that involves technology and electronics. I also really like artwork that has social commentary, and relates to the human condition.

What is it about working with metal that is of most interest to you?  

There are so many different types and techniques that can be applied when working with metal. It tends to be very forgiving as far as fixing mistakes and repairing. But what is most satisfying is the permanence of a finished object. I’ve built objects that can and potentially will stand the test of time. There is also a primal connection to it. Specifically during the melting/casting and forming processes. There is alchemy to working with material in all if its states and it takes wizardry to do it with speed and finesse.

My favorite part of all of it is the actual welding part: I really feel like a wizard when I combine two chunks of metal together by controlling a tiny molten ball of metal.

My biggest challenge when working with metal is transportation and equipment. I’m always coming up with some sort of trick in order to achieve what I want without having all the tools I need. With large projects, I don’t always get to test assemble prior to being on-site which means you have to get it right on the first try. If I had a larger space and a crane, that would make my projects run smoother.

Image credit, CJ Benninger @themrcj

How long do your sculptures take to create from concept to execution?

My process normally begins with preliminary sketches and a physical model. Sometimes I like to go right into Rhino to make a 3D file. From there I pull all the information needed to figure out how to build the project and how to price it. This helps in the design stages as well as in the shop during fabrication. Every project is different, so everytime I take on a project its the first time I’m doing it. With that being said, I am becoming a better contractor and better at estimating project schedules. I’m at the point where I like to have at least eight weeks on smaller, easier projects and four months on larger or more complicated projects.

What’s the main differences between your 2D and 3D work?

The difference is mainly aesthetic. Most of my 3D work has been commissioned whereas my 2D work is made as a reaction to having a divided studio practice. As far as concept though, I’m thinking about metal and fire while I’m making my 2D work. Along with this, my 3D work is almost entirely composed of 2D building blocks, my mind operates in 2D and then the 3D result is always surprising.

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by nature’s architecture- anything from climbing on rocks and mountains, to tessellated micro structures. My inspiration has always been connected to nature and my time spent within it.

Over the years, I began to care more about preservation and our environmental impact. I’m not much of an activist, but I feel like I can make a difference with my own actions and consumer behavior. By simply making artwork I am fueling in to this consumer market- but the catch is that my objects intend to provoke a conversation around these topics.

What about your creative process have you found to be the most successful for you?

One part of my creative process that has been successful for me is letting things go. It’s so easy to get hung up on the way something should or has to be done. I’ve found some solace and come up with some sculpture tricks while ‘letting go.’

What is the concept behind the show you are installing?

The concept behind “Degradation Reservation” is this duality between the production and demand of consumerism and the false comfort we get as a society from convenience. As the parallel between the importance of making and spending money and a disregard for the consequences facing our environment.

Image credit, CJ Benninger @themrcj

How long have you lived in Detroit?  

I moved to Detroit 15 years ago, after my parents passed away. I was 21 years old. I felt like I needed to live here. I was skating/blading downtown and showing art here at The Bankle. I was the first of any of my friends to move downtown so it put me in a good situation to meet people. I landed at The Iron St. Lofts off of Jefferson. This is where I became a social butterfly.

At that time all of my friends were also tenants in the building. I was surrounded by creatives and people who supported my art. After this was the 1217 years- in a 7-story building in Capitol Park- which was our own gritty creative utopia. Most people remember this place for the parties, but it was so much more. It was the last thread of freedom to do whatever you wanted in Detroit at the time. The building was home for many art studios, practice spaces and even a skate park on the fifth floor in our spot.

Everyone who lived there were all connected to each other on a cosmic level. This is where many of us cut our teeth in what we do today. Capitol Park at the time was like an isolated crime area where all the most treacherous stuff would go down in Downtown. Dan Gilbert put an end to all of it. Totally displacing everyone living in the area and re-vamping the park. Everyone in our building was fine, we all moved on to bigger and better things here in the city. We all knew we had a great run. Since then, I’ve taken much pride in my city to meet and connect with whoever I can by cultivating my metal fab family, and be knowledgeable about Detroit.

Does the city have any influence on your work or style?

Living in this Industrial city has absolutely affected my work. I think it’s apparent in my 2D work. Even more so in the the big rusty steel work. I like the stain that Detroit has left on me, I hope people see it in me, as well as my work. I want to leave my mark here to be remembered. This place has molded me into who I am, and I love it for that.

The post Scott Berels Solo Exhibition “Degradation Reservation” Debuts on May 4th appeared first on PLAYGROUND DETROIT.

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