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A Phoenix of a Fresco rises in Detroit


This week, a space in Detroit that I was commissioned to create a huge work for had a small feature in the New York Times."The frescos on the walls were created by Paul Seftel with ground-up rocks and oxidized metal in anew take on ancient Egyptian processes." 

Using aluminum powder, limestone, marble dust and iron oxide the 25ft x 6ft fresco was created against all odds in my studio in NYC last year, and by force and faith alone, was rolled up (miraculous in itself, but well engineered) and transported-  installed as a permanent fixture in Greg Holm's 'Antietam'. Greg is a Detroit native, Architectural photographer, artist and all round pioneer is raising the standard in Detroit. We collaborated to create and produce Soft Corners at PSPS in 2011/2012.  Brave and bold - a mover and shaker, my abstract work speaks to his art deco renovation, the opposition of forces making it whole. The sense of time, of decay, the history of elemental Detroit in its cracked earth, twisted metals, and history of fires, led me to invoke a the Phoenix Detroitus to rise from his walls, to speak of this era in which we are living.

With a legacy of frescoes, my work carries forward , even if in just the smallest of ways, The Detroit Industry Murals finding a new language in art for a new time, to express our forgotten histories beyond the edge of ourselves.

As Detroit gets more and more attention from above the line media with an agenda that spurs the creative class to build out of the rubble, transforming the dictionary of dereliction and making it vaguely palatable for big development money, the story returns to the Art of that late great city. The bones and girders ripped out from the majestic structures that loom across the landscape present the scene is that of the wasteland on the edge of the future that we inhabit. The writing is on the walls, and so are the legacy of famous paintings on the wall of their museums, ever watched and waiting to be picked at by the cultural vultures going straight in to rip out the heart.  Saving the city or tomb raiding its inheritance? Still, somethings shall remain. Like Diego Rivera's frescoes that stand testament to life and the city during his time, and my work on the wall in Antietam, Eastern market. at least for a while.