I invite myself and others to slow down in order to better discern space and object. My intent is to discover the miniscule. With this discovery, the miniscule becomes monumental. The subtle becomes obvious. Questions about art and non-art become irrelevant. In many ways, the viewer’s alerted aesthetic sensibility is the art itself. The viewer’s movements within the physical space become the catalyst for how the work interacts with itself, the surroundings, and the viewer.
History is constantly repeating itself and the more that we try to distance ourselves from the past, the more we are bound to it in the future. My work is a culmination of art historical references and an exploration of my relationship to the past.
I sculpt because it is a perfect combination of my passions. Sculpture embraces space and form like architecture, movement and rhythm like music, and beauty and simplicity like nature. I prefer to work from intuition. I rely upon similarity of form to unite a composition. I do not know what the outcome of each piece will be until it is completed. Learning from the current work provides the inspiration for the next.
Mike Sohikian, a retired ironworker has been a member of the Bridge and Structural Ironworkers Local 55 for 37 years. He has had a lifetime of love and appreciation for art, but didn’t begin his art career until 1995. Since then he has garnered acclaim and numerous prestigious awards and recognition for his paintings and sculptures. Sohikian is best known for taking salvaged steel to new heights with impressive and innovative concepts. He assembles industrial materials as well as reworks the materials into fascinating forms. Within the past thirteen years his paintings and sculpture work has been published in news articles and numerous art publications, most noteworthy is inclusion of his work in four of Schiffer Publishing Collectors Editions, most recently The Sculpture Reference (Illustrated) by Arthur Williams, 2005.
“My sculptures are products of their environment. I’m often asked what inspires me or influences my work. Frequently, it’s not until well after a piece has been completed that I understand the finer points of what motivated me. We are rarely aware of the importance of what may seem like insignificant elements. Yet when one of these elements is missing, or added, it can have dramatic effects on our lives. When I was growing up, the sculptures were an everyday part of my life. I simply don’t have the ability to verbally elaborate on their impact, so what I have done is develop a three-dimensional vocabulary that I employ in my work.”
We are all bodies in space, but where we fit into the scheme of things at large is still an open question. The cumulative effect of seeing the everyday elevated or in a new frame, it is the sense of discovering the same body in different circumstances, so it is less about the subject and more about the content.”
Summer in the City
Born in the summer of 2002 by three 20-year-olds Ben, Neil and Michael at home from college, Summer in the City is a dynamic non-profit that is changing the impact of volunteers on Detroit and of Detroit on volunteers.
By bringing a diverse group of young people together to invest their energy in Detroit, Summer in the City programs address the immediate needs of city neighborhoods and foster a regional mindset.
Andrew Thompson grew up in Kansas City, Missouri and received his BFA in Sculpture from the Kansas City Art Institute. Thompson moved from Cowtown to Motown to receive his MFA in Sculpture from Cranbrook Academy of Art. For the past six years, Thompson has been creating sculptures and installations based out of his studio at the Russell Industrial Center and exhibiting his work throughout Southeast Michigan, including current work at the Anton Art Center in Mt. Clemens for the Fiber Hybridity show. Thompson also helps to curate and coordinate shows around the area as an Exhibition Committee member with Access Arts Belle Isle Exhibit, Paint Creek Center for the Arts, and Detroit Artists Market. His most current project is a research grant through University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning entitled “Atlas of Love & Hate: Detroit Geographies” in collaboration with Steven Mankouche and Andrew Herscher. Thompson currently teaches part time at College for Creative Studies, University of Michigan, and Oakland Community College, and resides in Detroit’s Eastern Market.
Nicole Macdonald is an artist who paints and collages her Detroit environment in miniatures and maximums, portraits and landscapes, with brush and camera.The Detroit Portrait Series: Writing Our Own History Through Art, her mural project on 10 x 7 foot boarded-up window panels, uses A People’s History of the United States for inspiration. Her intimate video portraits of the city range from the award-winning A City to Yourself to her current project, It’s Only Chinatown, about the history of change in her Cass Corridor neighborhood. Images of her outdoor stencil and graffiti work has been published in the art book Canvas Detroit by Wayne State Press.
YouthWorks-Detroit equips youth to love God and others through a life of Christian service and leadership.
We serve as a bridge, uniting Christians from different cultures and traditions.
Jennifer Quigley is a fine artist/muralist who has led her life based on the premise that a healthy, thriving community must have an arts presence. The importance of physical health, well-being and mental health go hand-in-hand with the arts.
Public art, in particular, plays a paramount role in creating present and future generations of healthy individuals and healthy communities regardless of socio-economic status. It provides free exposure to the arts and, aside from making people happier by seeing art versus barren walls, the arts heighten the expectation of what a community gives to the people and what the people will give back. Sociological assimilation is a natural course of human nature that can be a huge positive in this art arena in Mid-Town.
Jennifer has been studying art at the collegiate level since age 15 and has gone on to show in galleries in Los Angeles, Telluride, New York, Nashville, a few places in Detroit and other towns nationwide, selling over 500 pieces in her short, yet prolific career. She has donated thousands in revenue from her art, and in time, to numerous charitable organizations.
Currently, Ms. Quigley is studying Expressive Therapies at Lesley University; the founding University of Expressive Therapies that incorporates all mediums of art into psychological practices. She transferred from Wayne State University in order to study all modalities of art in therapeutic practices (i.e. art, music and dance therapy) with plans to bring this creative and beneficial field back to Detroit.
(Still Photographer) Detroit-bred Cybelle attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she spent the next four years honing her skills and testing the confines of traditional photography, Opening her first studio in 2001, she went on to expand in 2005 under the name Studio [c], incorporating a number of assignment based photographers and two studios in downtown Detroit.
Vito Jesus Valdez, second generation Mexican-American was born in Wyandotte, MI, and has been an artist and educator for more than two decades. While serving in the U.S. Army as a surgical tech, he re-discovered his love of art and enrolled at the Center for Creative Studies in Detroit upon his discharge.
Valdez left the U.S. in 1988 to work as an independent artist in Montreal, Canada and later received an artist-in residence award from the Universite Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium. He subsequently received invitations to exhibit in Havana, Cuba; Zacatecas, Mexico; Germany, Paris; France.
Since his return to the States in 1992 his concentration has been on community art projects on the U.S./Canadian border in Detroit and has since received numerous grants, awards and public art commissions. Valdez teaches in Education at the Detroit Institute of Arts and continues to exhibit his work in Canada and the U.S.