Whay A Creativity Project?

Welcome to the first day of the Detroit based creativity project, DETROIT: GROUND ZERO.


My goal in starting this project is to discover insights about how the creative process works. My plan is to document parts of my own creative process and then invite fellow Detroit based creatives to document parts of their processes as well. My hope is that this blog will become a resource for artists and collectors and a teaching tool for students. Plus, I think it would be really groovy to create a catalog of technical information, resources (check the right hand column) photos of everyone's work and links to their websites.


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Steve Hughes

Writer and Publisher of Stupor magazine
In the studio


What made you want to be a writer?
At some point in my mid 20's I decided that painting houses sucked and Washington DC sucked and I wanted to move to New Orleans and go to grad school and study writing.  That's what I did.

Which creative people have influenced you?

Mitch Cope, Graem Whyte, Maria McLeod, Scott Hocking, Denis Johnson, Jonathon Letham, Ernest Hemmingway, Cormac McCarthy http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cormac_McCarthy, Raymond Carver, Gina Reichert, Faina Lerman, Teresa Peterson, my wife Anne Harrington Hughes, Tim Hailey, Mira Burack, Michael Jackman, Clinton Snider, Steve and Hillary Cherry, my partner in my building and renovation buisness Kevin Lynn, Lisa Anne Auerbach, Kamil Antos, Chris Riddell, Nina Bianchi
                     Note: links for Detroit artists are on the right and links for historical artists are below

How do you get ideas?

I'm inspired by creation and destruction and celebration and desire and the carnal act of drinking and eating and all things connected to the body and beer.  I'm interested in stupidity and beauty and confusion and fucking and pain and idiotic self-destructive acts and bad ideas and accidents and beer again and forgetting but trying hard not to and delicious food, and truth and the discovery of truth and real tries and attempts at honesty and flat-out lies and multiple histories for the same event and what it means to find and express the real truth of a situation.  And beer. 
Reading at the Public Pool
How about your environment, does it influence you in any way?

Yesterday I got home from work and I saw the neighbor kids running on top of their garage roof.  They jumped to the neighbor's garage and kept going.  There were five of them.  They were hitting each other with sticks.  I was not dreaming this.  This was really happening.  It was surprising, stunning, idiotic, amazing, and yes, inspiring.  Hamtramck is a vibrant and lively city.  Many of the stories I write have taken place here.

What media are you working with now?

I collect stories from people I meet at bars.  I write them down.  I publish them several times a year in my zine Stupor.  I collaborate with different local artists on the layout and design.  I've been publishing Stupor since 1995 when I first moved to Hamtramck.  The zine has seen several different incarnations but now and since 2004, it's been about the crazy shit I hear people talking about.  Then it becomes about their story, about who they are, and about what they might become.
Why did you choose to be  writer rather than some other form of self expression?
I like the reliability of self publishing.  I like the physicality of it.  I like having something you can put on the back of your toilet or fold up and stick into your pocket and read on the bus or in the back of a car.  No doubt, print media is cooler than electronic media.  It has more tangible value.  You can loose it in your house and find it again a year later.  You can burn it or treasure it.  You can hold it in your hands.  You can touch the words.  It beats the hell out of looking at a computer screen (like you're doing now).  
Issues of Stupor

 What are you working on now?  How did you get the idea?

I'm working on a new issue of Stupor, titled Making Plans to Ruin Your Life.  It's a collaboration with local artist Graem Whyte.  I'm wrapping that one up this weekend and then starting to work on a new issue with the artist Mira Burack.  Three other artists are currently working on layouts for me: Elliott Earls from Cranbrook, Scott Hocking from Detroit, and Nina Bianchi from Hamtramck.  I just released a new issue with artwork by Faina Lerman, this issue is available at Book Beat and Leopold's and will be soon at Printed Matter in NYC.  I'll be doing a reading at Leopold's when my next issue comes out.  And as always, I'm listening to people, drinking a beer and collecting stories for up-coming issues.  
links for Book Beat, Leopolds and Printed Matter: 

Public reading

If you want to haunt some HAMTRAMCK BARS visit the link below:




Wednesday, November 24, 2010

David Moroski

Recently I became aware of a Detroit area artist who combines art, sculpture, and music into his own unique form of expression.  David Moroski works in both 2 and 3 dimensional form as well as being a musician.  This means he routinely taps into both the left and the right sides of his brain as part of his creative process.  I have always believed that 2-D work informs and supports 3-D work and the other way around but both are right brained activities.  Dave takes it a step further and brings the left brained mathematical sensibility of music to his game.  Perhaps that is why his 3-D masks have that rhythmic quality to their surface decoration. Is it visual music? 

For more brain research see Betty Edwards "Drawing on the Right Side of Your Brain" for details.   http://www.drawright.com/

Dave was initially drawn to creative thinking because he loves manipulating materials.    Utilizing paint, printer's ink, brushes, clay, film, animation cameras or paper mache, he combines his imagination with tools and processes to create art that engages him now and he expects will engage him for all of his life.  And as he has moved through his creative life, Dave has been inspired by some great artists.  His Holy Trinity of modern art inspiration is Marc Chagall, Pablo Picasso and Paul Klee.

Marc Chagall
Pablo Picasso
Paul Klee

See more images from these artists - 

 When one looks at his paper mache, one can see Klee as a jumping off point for the joy of the mask designs with music as the inspiration for the rhythmic patterns.  His drawings on their own and as part of the animated shorts that he creates with his wife Bea are full of the life and joy of Klee, the vivid color of Chagall, and the focus of Picasso.

In keeping with the renaissance nature of Dave's creativity he is inspired by a variety of sources.  Books, movies and music all filter into his conscious.  Sometimes these influences sit and germinate and sometimes they develop quickly,  sometimes it will take years after making a small sketch in a notebook before an idea surfaces.  But the best incubator for Dave is a quiet and stress free environment where he can think and   collaborate with his wife on animation shorts that feature his drawings and screen prints set to music with her skills as a professional animator.  "I enjoy making film and then seeing it shown on a large screen in front of an audience.  The room is dark, the image is large and the audience is hopefully giving the material their full attention.  I find the brief interaction between the audience watching one of my short films more satisfying than work that has been sitting in a gallery for weeks". -Dave Moroski

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Kikko Paradela

Recruitment poster - College for Creative Studies
A couple of days ago I met Detroit artist Kikko Paradela.  His is a graphic designer and his work really spoke to me so I decided on the spot to share it with you.
Detrail of Recruitment Poster
     As you can see from the detail above, Kikko's approach to the medium is larger than graphics only, it is very open and emotional and interactive.   He is obviously influenced a great deal by the fine arts and when I asked him about his influences that is exactly what he said!  He had actually switched from studying
architectural design to graphic design because of his love of the fine arts and of experimentation.
Detail Recruitment Poster
Kikko's perspective is semiotic, more of a visual culture than a corporate culture.     
Semiotics /se' mi ot ics/   n. (used with a sing. verb)The theory and study of signs and symbols, especially as elements of language or other systems of communication.  Specifically visual communication.
Admissions Catalog 

 Visit Kikko's website at www.youvsjesus.com  e-mail him at kikko@youvsjesus.com

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Pottery in Hamtrarmck - Laura Macintyre

I have recently (through much effort on the part of my husband, me, my Mom and my Dad) got a pottery studio up and running in my garage.  The summer was full of daily experimentation in throwing, firing and glazing.  There are so many possibilities in pottery, between shapes, glazes and heat that it kinda freaks me out!

Above is a collection of bisque ware waiting to be glazed. 

As you can see below I have been playing with orange glazes, imprints and decals.  I really like the idea of bright modern colors with older techniques - going back to the ancients with the imprinting!
I have also found that I prefer to use glazes mixed with a lot of clear to thin them and brighten the colors and let the white of the clay sparkle through.

I plan to work more with this idea of contrasting old and new.  Any ideas to share?  Contact me at laura macintyre 

The three photos at left are soup bowls.  A really interesting woman bought four from me at the People's Art Festival this summer and we talked about vegan eating and the type of vegan soup she would serve in the bowls.  When she left she thanked me and gave me her card.  It turned out to be Alicia Silverstone, in town to film the upcoming movie Vamps.  You can visit Alicia's blog at The Kind Life and see the bowls she purchased and get the recipe for her vegan soup  :)  -laura 
    visit my Etsy shop at www.etsy/shop/lauramacintyre

    Monday, October 4, 2010

    Brigit Huttemann-Holz

    This past weekend I participated in and visited the event ArtDetroitNow.  ADN is organized by the Detroit Institute of Arts and it is a city-wide gallery crawl that brings you into the studios of local artists.

    The ADN showcases two big 19th century industrial  buildings that have been turned to artist studio spaces.  The Pioneer Building and the Russell Indusrial Center, both at the intersection of 75 and 94, are sites where a person can park in one spot then visit individual artist's studios all under one roof.  You can talk to the artists about their work, question them about their creative practices and see/purchase their work for sale.


    One of the studios I visited was that of Brigit Huttemanmann-Holz.  Brigit is a German born resident of Grosse Pointe for 10 years now.  She just recently took a space at the Pioneer building and her studio there was light and airy with plenty of windows and work space.  Bidgit herself is just as open and engaging as her space.  She answered each and every question I had about her process, en caustic, from mixing pigments to cleaning brushes to inspiration. Her web address is  Brigit Huttemenn-Holz  or you can e-mail her at  b.hholz@gmail.com    

    I was completely sucked in by the mono prints and bought one titled "A Place To Pray" .  It is beautiful in and of itself but is even more so held against light.  Incidentally kind of like stained glass......see the two examples: unlighted above and lighted below.

    Now I need to consider how to mount it.  I want it on light but I am not sure how. Any and all suggestions are welcome.

    Saturday, October 2, 2010

    Eleni Photography

    A good friend and a creative inspiration to me is Eleni.  Eleni is a photographer specializing in natural light and on-location portraiture.  What Eleni does is to craft portraits of everyday family life that transcend documentation.  They have a timeless quality to them that is more artistic representation of human life in the 21t century than family photo.  Check her images below and you will see what I mean.   

    Eleni feels that for herself, her most vivid childhood memories are those of ordinary family activities and everyday life.   When composing a collection, her goal is to preserve personal memories of normal life for the specific family she is working with. She has the family choose an activity that they do often, that the children are familiar with and comfortable doing in order to create this authenticity.

    Check out more of Eleni's work at www.eleniphotography.com  and read her blog at www.eleniphotography.blogspot.com  or email her directly at info@eleniphotography.com

    Monday, August 16, 2010

    laura macintyre

    Before I begin documenting some of my creative thinking strategies, I want to show you some photographs of my paintings so that you can see where I currently am with my journey in painting.    

    Environment Life in Detroit is the beginning of my creative process.  Because in Detroit, we make things.  We are a culture of makers who generate and abandon ideas over and over as technology changes. These idea cycles leave a lot of creative detritus laying around.  It is good to look at and it is a foundation to a way of life.    

    Walking is where ideas begin for me Living in a neighborhood with people who come from all over the world to make things in Detroit is a great source of inspiration to me.  When I'm walking in my neighborhood I see things that I would never see on a bike or in a car.  For instance, I love the contrast of different cultures expressed in people's yards and homes.  Often I just walk the city, camera in hand, to document the interesting bits.  Later in the studio is where I will sort it all out and attempt to tell a story. 

    Photo resource - commercial alley

    Back in the studio
    When I bring new images back to the studio and begin the work of building an idea, my primary focus is on discovering a story to paint.    

    The images themselves suggest stories but I also consider big themes like 'communication' or 'relationships' because I want to do more than to document my environment, I want to explore the nature of humanity in paint.  That last sentence is a bit heavy but it is also true.  Human nature is what interests me and landscapes of human inhabited places allow me to explore my interests. 

    Once I settle on a story or theme, I begin.  Beginning is the absolute most fun part of the painting for me, making the big broad strokes without persnickety detail and simply documenting shapes and values.  At this stage, the painting has tremendous possibilities and that is exciting!  .

    As I work my way through the process I decide on what palette supports my story.   I also create a hierarchy of detail based on importance to the theme and this is difficult because I find I want to paint details everywhere - I have to stop myself.  I might also add elements from other photos or subtract parts of the main photo.  Perhaps I will give a nod to art history and paint a Holbein sky.

    But once all of the creative decisions have been made, only technical challenges remain and they seem to require only fortitude and optimism.  Whatever illusion of a surface or space I am trying to create, I can usually get it if I just keep trying.  I power through the painting at this point, gradually moving it from easel to floor as I get to finer and finer detail.     Questions or comments?  Contact me at laura macintyre 
    Painting studio

    Pottery studio