There are many great up and coming young artists in Detroit, and to choose just five may seem arbitrary. Granted that some of it comes down to matters of taste. There are some objective criteria for the choices here, though. Each of the artists has had at least one formal gallery exhibit, even if a group show, at a high-quality gallery. But none of them could be considered overexposed. And they all have plans for 2015.
These artists have talent in spades, but talent by itself is not enough to make it as an artist. Talented women artists are sure to hear from misogynist naysayers under the pretense of warning them of the tough road ahead. But anyone who’s striven for artistic success for more than a few days already knows that it’s not easy. These artists don’t need generic lectures on the difficulties ahead. They need mentors to guide them to opportunities, and curators to seriously consider their portfolios.
The five artists are not ranked, but listed in alphabetical order by last name.
James “Jimbo” Braddock
The young mural artist comes highly recommended by Kelly Guillory, co-author of the Blood Money graphic novel. Braddock has exhibited at the Heidelberg Project Gallery’s Post Hab space and at the Untitled Bottega, and has already shown his performance skills painting a mural as people watch. For 2015, Braddock plans “to continue to push the envelope with my art and my events,” including more live mural painting events and painting a black and white mural in just four hours.
Watch for an announcement of a show titled Saturday in March and one titled Anxiety in June. In the meantime, the best way to see Braddock’s work online is on his Instagram page, according to Guillory.
UPDATE, April 25, 2015: Braddock is one of the Round 10 artists in the Red Bull House of Art. His next solo show now has a tentative date in August.
The most meticulous craftsman of the camera in Detroit might also be the youngest. Anyone skeptical of Evans’s skill would do well to go shoot an event with him and compare shots afterward; the skepticism will vanish. Evans made his debut at 555 Gallery & Studios in the Haiku show back in August with Detroit landscape photos paired with haiku by some of the less obvious poets, like Hokusai.
But portraits form the strongest part of Evans’s portfolio, as he puts his technical skill in the service of an almost ethereal metaphysical expressiveness, and that is the page of his online portfolio that one should look at first.
The 2015 schedule at the Carr Center is still being worked out, but expect to see Evans on it at some point around March. Evans is also helping Beverly Roberts edit a book of photographs by her father, outlaw biker Jim Miteff.
UPDATE, March 23, 2015: The opening reception for Evans’s solo show at the Virgil H. Carr Center is now confirmed for April 3, at 6:00 p.m., in the center’s Ford Gallery. Titled Black I: Faces, the exhibit features 40 new photographs.
When she was learning to crawl, film was the primary means for photography and digital was science fiction, but by the time she started to drive, film was on its way out. Almost all of Amanda Kane’s experience as a photographer has been with digital cameras, but she has that discipline of someone who’s mostly shot film, of getting the shot right in camera and then needing to make only very minor adjustments on a computer.
But more impressive than that is her vision of Detroit. She has gone to a lot of the usual places for “urban explorers,” but she portrays the grandeur of the city instead of the ruin porn so many others churn out. And she is also a brilliant portrait artist, both of people and of cats and dogs.
So far she’s only had one formal gallery exhibit, a group show at Corktown Studios back in February. She’s slated for a couple of shows in 2015 but no firm dates have been set yet.
It would be easy to fill this list with artists from the Red Bull House of Art. But although Red Bull might not give you wings (according to a recent out-of-court settlement), it certainly opens doors. Still, Nick Pizana is somewhat of an underdog despite having been a House resident artist. For starters, he graduated from Wayne State University (WSU), not the College for Creative Studies (anyone should be forgiven for thinking that CCS is a prerequisite for the Red Bull, given the preponderance of current CCS students and recent grads among those selected).
For his senior year of college, Pizana was the A & E Editor for The South End, the nominal WSU student newspaper. In that position he had hardly any chance to show off his painting skills. It would send a very strong signal to advertisers if the next South End front page featured a recent grad like Pizana or a current student like Karianne Hollowell (who was a Red Bull resident at the same time as Pizana).
For his stay at the House, Pizana focused on stylizing comic book violence to the point it becomes self-satirical. The concept is of course nothing new, but Pizana still puts his own fresh spin on it. After the pressures of the House residency, he’s taking it easy for now, but don’t be surprised to hear about him getting some high profile assignments in late 2015.
It was decided early on that for the homage to Prof. Gilda Snowden at Whitdel Arts back in January 2014, the Emerging Artists space would be used for emerging artists and not to augment the available space for the main show. And furthermore it was decided that the two emerging artists would be two of Snowden’s students chosen by the professor herself. She chose Austin Brady, who later was selected for the Red Bull House of Art, and Fatima Sow.
Before that, Sow had exhibited in the Black Detroit 21 exhibit at Work Detroit, and after that at the Carr Center. But she is still an underrated artist who is purposefully keeping a low profile, or at least so hopes an optimistic and idealistic observer. Earlier this year, Sow looked through a lot of Snowden’s earliest works and found many interesting parallels to her own life and work. No one can replace Snowden, and Sow will follow her own path. But with Snowden’s teaching, and the help of other mentors, Sow could have a brilliant career ahead of her.