Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Heidelberg Project

We recently did an art show in the town of Ferndale Michigan, a suburb city of Detroit, and while we were there artist Tyree Guyton was doing a book signing at a local design studio.  Anyway, before this show Autumn and I had never heard of Tyree and because we were in the right place at the right time we learned a bit about his story.  To sum up a long, incredible story Tyree left Detroit as a young man and when he returned to his neighborhood what he found was abandoned homes, extreme crime and violence, and basically a trashed, run-down shell of a neighborhood.  Upset and rightfully pissed off he turned to this over the top style of art that included trash from the neighborhood, painting of crude polka dots all over the place, religious symbolism, war, and reference to the local authorities, the Detroit Police Dept..
Well,  after checking out the book we had to check out the city block that is the canvas for Tyree.  This is the 25th anniversary and in that time the project has been demolished three times by the city of Detroit and then reestablished by Tyree with good graces from the full time residents of the street.
After making the approach drive to get there you immediately realize that you would not venture into this part of Detroit for any other reason.  It feels mean, sad, out of control, and real.  This is the state of many urban areas across the country that most people will never see and Tyree has created a conduit leading some of us to it.  After turning the corner my immediate reaction was that I felt overwhelmed.  It creates an emotional element not associated with any art I have seen and I felt sad, grateful, and pissed off at the same time.  The one thought that just kept running through my mind while I was shooting photos was how on earth could this be happening? 
Visit  The Heidelberg Project for more info.

No comments:

Post a Comment