Category Archives: Culture

Detroit Murals in Eastern Market – Murals in the Market

Detroit Murals are World Class Works of Art.

Hebru Brantley creates beautiful Detroit Murals
Chicago artist Hebru Brantley says “Hello” to his Detroit fans.

Detroit murals are known as some of the best street art in the world.  Recently,  45 world-class local and international artists were invited to come and paint large-scale murals throughout the Eastern Market district.  Murals in the Market was a fantastic event to watch unfold.  It brought many talented artists to the city and created some phenomenal murals for Detroit and all of the world to enjoy.  I love to see these kinds of events going on in our city.  They put the world’s eyes on Detroit and Show the city in such a positive and creative way.

One of the  Detroit Murals that caught my eye most, was that of Chicago native and artist Hebru Brantley.  One immediately notices that Hebru is an imposing guy when standing next to him.  I stand six foot tall and had to look up to converse with him.  He is a big guy with a big easy going way about him.  You find yourself immediately talking to Hebru as if you have known him your whole life.

Hebru Bantley paints Detroit Murals
Hebru Brantley was a detroiter, if only for the week. Thanks Hebru!

Hebru told us that what compels him about this type of art is “It’s part of the culture.  It’s just street art and to be able to present your artwork on a much grander scale than gallery work or museum work.”  It should be noted that the artists creating these Detroit murals were not paid for their efforts.  To that point, Hebru says: “It’s absolutely a labor of love”

When asked how long he has been doing this, Hebru replied “Well, I’ve been painting my whole life.  Doing street art since I was about fourteen.  Sort of traditional graffiti culture which has evolved into what you see here now.”

Hebru Brantley Portrait in Detroit
Thank you Hebru, for your kind gift to our beloved Detroit.

As to what the mural Hebru so graciously gave to the city of Detroit represents, he said “Everything I do is a narrative.  So, these are characters that I have used in repetition.  I always use these particular characters when I do street works or public works.  Yeah, there is a narrative in it always.  The characters are obviously looking and pointing in one direction.  And in that way are informing the viewer or audience that they are viewing something or that something has captivated their attention.  I think that from there it is sort of left up to the interpretation of the viewer to determine what that is and what that could be.”

Hebru’s final thoughts on street art and Graffiti “I think that it has already evolved from the late seventies and early eighties to what it is now.  This more diverse form of public expression and I just think it will continue to grow.  I think that communities around the world are embracing it.  Some slower than others, but I think that with all things when artists come into the area and help with the beautification of it,  it brings the people.  It brings the community.  It revitalizes the community.”

I couldn’t agree more Hebru!  Thank you for visiting and sharing your love so unselfishly with Detroit.  And thank you for talking to Detroit in Portraits!

Detroit Industrial Gallery with Tim Burke – Detroit Portraiture

Detroit Industrial Gallery is Detroit Art, Tim Burke style!

Detroit Industrial Gallery founder Tim Burke by Detroit Portraiture
What is old, is new at Detroit Industrial Gallery

Dig This! Nestled in the center of The Heidelberg Project is Detroit Industrial Gallery. At first one might think it was a part of the Heidelberg Project, but make no mistake, Detroit Industrial Gallery is a stand alone art gallery. The brain child of Detroit street artist and sculptor Tim Burke, Detroit Industrial Gallery is easily identifiable among the other art in the area by the bright yellow house that the gallery resides in and around.

Tim Burke by Detroit Portraiture
Detroit Industrial Gallery founder and artist poses with one of his creative sculptures

The art is mainly sculptures created using found objects, many with historical Detroit ties. Burke describes his artistic style as “Modern Art. Some people call it Outsider Art, because I haven’t been to art school. I had two guys standing here looking at these burnt timbers about six years ago and one guy says “They don’t teach that at Pratt!” I said, What’s Pratt? He said “It’s where we teach. Just one of the most prestigious art schools in the nation, located in New York.” So, I’m going to let others talk about my work and hone in on that. Like, I have professors from Pratt saying “They don’t teach you that in Pratt.” In other words, this is something innate for me and it’s from my feeling nature and just doing it. And so, I said I wish I had gone to Pratt and they said “No! With what you have going here, going to school would have ruined it. You wouldn’t have been able to do what you do. Keep doing what you do!”

Detroit Industrial Gallery by Tony Lafferty
Sculptor and fellow Detroiter Tim Burke

When asked how he thinks Detroit art stacks up to the rest of the world’s art, Tim said “Wow! We have a lot of great artists here.  In regards to street art, we are at the top of that here in Detroit. I don’t know about graffiti. I haven’t been to New York to see their graffiti. Or I haven’t checked out graffiti in the other states. I have checked out the fine arts and modern arts in museums, but not on the street. So, I would be biased to say, ours is the coolest or the best so far. And it’s growing as well.”

Since Tim brought up graffiti, I thought it fitting to ask his take on the often controversial art form. Tim replied “If it’s good graffiti? Yes. If it’s bullshit graffiti, tagging my initials, opinion, or tagging wars and such…that’s bullshit! I am totally against just going up and tagging up a building someone else owns!

For recommendations on places to see some cool Detroit art, with a chuckle Tim says “Other than my own? I really like Dabls’ African Bead Gallery and the DIA.”

Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions and letting me take your portrait Tim.  Glad that you are a Detroiter through and through.