Thursday, September 1, 2011

The "People's Art Fair" in Detroit and some wood assemblages

While visiting the People's Art Fair in Detroit last week-end, I came across some wood assemblages that I had seen on Flickr. The artist is Chad Davis and the link is to his flickr site is here. I asked him where he found his wood, as there is no beautiful driftwood to be found in this part of Michigan (possibly on Lake Michigan). He replied . . "oh, on the street, dumpsters, garbage cans, trash pick-up sites." I love the symmetry and symbols (circle, cross, star) . . and the combination of weathered wood and rust.

Chad Davis

Chad Davis

Chad Davis

I may have first spotted them on Robyn Gordon's tumblr site (and followed the link to Flickr), which I thoroughly enjoy following. I'm becoming more and more fascinated with wood. When I first spotted them, my mouth dropped open. "I saw those on Flickr!", I thought. It made all my internet art viewing (which seems a little de-personalized) shift a little . . to see one of the artists behind all the art I view on flickr, in person. I can sometimes spend an evening (instead of watching tv) wandering through flickr images. 

These are some pics I found interesting at this fair . . very colorful. The people were also young and very colorful (hair, piercings, attire) with colorful art and LOTS of loud music. The fair was situated between three old industrial buildings that house artists' studios.

hhmmm. . .quite a statement

These assemblages appear to be
drums with celtic designs. The
wood pieces are drumsticks . . some
wrapped in black tape.

Part of a booth display

Another booth display decoration . . a "kuba-like" pattern

There were a number of booths similar to this
in support of Detroit. Unfortunately Detroit has
suffered a lot in the past 40 years due to crime, drugs, and automotive layoffs. There are many people committed to revitalizing Detroit . . and there are feelings of defensiveness with Detroit's current image.

I was born and raised in Michigan but lived in two other states for 30 years. After I returned I drove up and down the main street in downtown, Woodward Ave., with tears in my eyes. I have memories of working in Detroit during the summers, when I was in college. Unfortunately, the decay was overwhelming. It seemed as if I was looking at a city that had been bombed. I did not live in Detroit or close to the city, but one thing I remember, and still love today, is the music of Motown, then called "the motor city." This music most likely paved the way for my love of jazz and the blues. Having moved back rather recently I'm starting to learn about the artistic and cultural "goings-on."


  1. The wood compositions are amazing.
    What great examples of symmetry.

    Thanks for sharing

  2. Amazing amazing photos... incredible artwork!! thanks for sharing!!

  3. thanks for this tour of the art show. fun for you to see the real thing after the photos re: chad. The first two made me think of shields. in fact for a time i made shields very similar in shape to these two only in handmade paper(made by me) i painted and embellished and they ended up looking almost metallic.

    sad about detroit for sure. but isnt it often artist moving in that turn a depressed town/city around? maybe that will evolve for detroit.

  4. Thanks for the visual tour of the art show Jann, and Chad's work is just awesome!

  5. Chad's work has interested me ever since I first joined Flickr. How wonderful to see it face to face. Lucky girl! I wish we had art fairs like this in my neck of the woods. Some very intriguing pieces!

  6. Hi "Art . .", Luthien, Suki, Kim & Robyn . . thanks for stopping by and commenting. I really enjoy these comments! It was quite a delight to see Chad's pieces in person.

    Robyn . . I wish I lived in a fascinating, richly intriguing, and beautiful country like yours! All my life I've wanted to visit Africa . . but not unless I win the lottery!

  7. Thank you Jann for your very inspiring post :) Chad's work looks incredible !

  8. Hi JG - thanks for sharing Chad's work - as others have said just stunning - love what we can do with junk; and maybe it is true artists may help Detroit evolve into something new - maybe smaller but new and creative? Go well. B

  9. Jan those wooden pieces remind me a little of your encaustics that sold, it's the symmetry I think and the neutral tones.

    Fun to see the other work at the art fair too. Love the bustier!

    I remember visiting Detroit with my aunt when I was around 9. It seemed quite grand to me, the fancy hotel, the swanky department store, a soda fountain, but that was a long time ago!