Artists also need to know other artists journeys. And while the number of gallery openings and art fairs and festivals have dwindled during the COVID-19 pandemic, it makes sense to tune into artists’ lives through films and documentaries. It especially makes sense to tune in during the hottest days of summer, when cranking up the air conditioning and the inspiration simultaneously seem like a hot idea.
Swoon: Fearless – This documentary on Vimeo weaves together 20 years of footage about street artist Caledonia Curry, aka Swoon. Her work started as a student in New York City and is “known for marrying the whimsical to the grounded” or realistic.
Waste Land. Artist Vik Muniz works with Brazilian garbage pickers to create art from items found in the world’s largest landfill. The documentary won more than 50 film awards by showing the
transformative power of art and collaboration. It is available on Amazon Prime for $3.99 for one time viewing.
What Happened, Miss Simone? The life of singer – songwriter and activist Nina Simone shows her “fiery and dynamic artistry.” This is one of the best documentaries on Netflix now, according to Esquire magazine.
We hope to feature more documentaries about artists and poets and musicians in a post in the fall, so please share your favorite in a comment.
We wish for a meaningful and beautiful summer. And with this summer wish list, you could help us achieve it for Mint Artists Guild and our Lucky 13 artists.
The Lucky 13 will work for us creating paintings for our Paint Detroit with Generosity initiative as well as prints and our first coloring book. They will mainly work virtually, from their homes this year, because of precautions for covid-19.
Here are the art supplies we seek for the Mint Creative Summer Jobs program:
sketchbooks or journal
Stretched canvas – especially 8 x 10 inches or 18 x 24 inches, though any size welcome
medium or heavy body acrylic paints, small to medium tubes
assorted acrylic paint brushes
varnish for paintings, such as Grumbacher
pronto plates for lithography, 8.5 X 11 inches
oil based ink
brayers – need seven of them
Rives printing paper
easels and table easels, new or used
small frames 8 x 10 or 11 x 12 for our Mint prints
These art supplies may be new or gently used. And here are the other supplies we need this summer and fall:
paper towels, 15 rolls
hand soap, bars or liquid
granola bars, dried fruit, trail mix (smaller bags) and other nonperishable snacks that youth ages 14 to 21 will enjoy
gift card to Meijer, Costco or supermarkets = artist snacks and treats
gift card to local cafes and restaurant, as rewards for our best artists and artist supporters
To arrange a delivery of art supplies, please drop us a line and propose three days and times that work for you. We ask that you drop them off at the Mint Studios in Palmer Park, right next to the Splash Park.
We all deserve a boost after being at home for anywhere from nine to 15 days. So here’s some recipes for boosting yourself – by trying some new artsy activities or preparing yourself to land a summer job.
These activities may seem frivolous in these challenging times, but they are not. They give you something valuable: Joy and a sense of accomplishment. And they take your mind off the things we cannot control and put them squarely on things we can control – and create.
Sing along to the ’60s. Yes, that will bring on The Beatles hits such as “Here Comes the Sun” and “Love Me Do.” But also sing beautiful songs along with Irma Thomas belting “Time Is on My Side” or Aretha Franklin singing “Do Right Woman” and The Temptations “Get Ready.” Select a couple every day from Pitchfork’s list of 200 great ’60s songs. Singing releases endorphins and raises our mood, strengthens our immune system – and calms the brain, researchers have found.
Create a scrap art project. Start saving items from your recycling container and scanning the ground when you take your dog or kid brother out for a walk. Stash egg cartons and cardboard boxes; dry orange peels or scraps of wood. Flatten old cans. Snare mostly empty paint cans from your garage. Then look for inspiration. Or look to the sun or nature for an image. If you are lucky enough to land a free creative learning supplies kit from Arts & Scraps, Mint and Brilliant Detroit, you will have plenty of materials. (These will be distributed free to Detroit families through Brilliant Detroit.)
Create or update your resume. Download a sample resume, especially one for a young person, and use it as a guide. Or follow the excellent advice outlined in The Balance Careers post, starting by writing down all the types of work and awards. Make sure you sell yourself and state why you’ll be an excellent person to hire. You may want to enlist someone to assist you with this and remind you of some of your accomplishments. After you finish your first resume, definitely ask three adults to edit and review it and suggest improvements.
Some people will want to take it a step further: That could look like a LinkedIn profile. Or it could mean a work program, such as Americorps that is hiring soon. If you live in Detroit and are ages 14 to 24, register with Grow Detroit’s Young Talent now to help land a job this summer, including those with Mint for creative youth. If you live elsewhere, see if your city is running a youth employment program and connect to it.
We are sharing some virtual activities on our Facebook page so follow us for those. And we will share some more ideas next week, including some from our creative community. So send us yours today!
In times like these, we all need something beautiful, something that blooms – and something that makes us or the world a little bit better.
If you are out of school or out of a job because of coronavirus, it’s time to get past the basics of hand washing and social distancing. It’s time to grow. In times like these, we need to create something that will last or give joy – and learn something new.
“I try to take every conflict, every experience and learn from it. Life is never dull,” said Oprah Winfrey, the entrepreneur and media mogul. “I consider the world, this Earth, to be like a school, and our life the classrooms.”
So today, start learning and growing and making beauty in one or two of these ways:
Start a garden. Sow seeds to grow beans, kale and peppers, though you will need to start them indoors until the last frost sometime in April. “Such a hopeful and revolutionary act…to grow food,” wrote my friend Kelli Carpenter-Crawford. Need help with this? Check in with Keep Growing Detroit or ask a neighbor who is an experienced gardener for some advice.
Write poetry or create a journal. Document these unusual days, suggested artist Rose Lewandowski, using photos, sketches, snippets of overheard comments and more. Or play with words and write a poem, suggested Nick Rowley, who offers this online guide to the wide variety of poems. If you’ve never written a poem before, read some poetry first or check out the tips from the Young Poets Network.
Volunteer. Choose a safe way to give back in your community. Search VolunteerMatch or the United Way of Southeast Michigan for opportunities. (Check for minimum age requirements on some volunteer roles.) Or look for virtual volunteer opportunities on social media or through friends. Create a half dozen handmade cards that are encouraging and upbeat; then mail them to a nearby senior citizens home. “Those that know shut-ins/ people quarantined call them up and tell or read stories over the phone. Also they could sent videos they’ve created to shut-ins,” suggests my friend Kim Kensler, a travel agent and active volunteer. If you want to volunteer with Mint Artists Guild – help us with a fundraiser or other cool, creative projects – please drop us a line and tell us about yourself.
Make a movie. Create “a short films. Doc, zombie apocalypse, public art video, nature video, whatever,” said Pam Murray. The world put so much on hold now, creating room for storytelling or short videos that are humorous, helpful or encouraging. Mint may share some prompts on this and other creative projects fairly soon.
Make some joy. Create a self portrait as if you were your most dreamed-about zoo animal, or a favorite fruit. “Empty a closet and make up silly stories about the contents. Turn the contents into actors in the story,” writes artist Dolores Slowinski. Make seven paper crowns, wrap each one carefully in a bag with a note declaring the finder a king or queen for a day. Then leave them on benches, tables or other public places. Or bake cookies and eat half and donate half. (Leave a plate for your mail carrier or the package delivery person; take some to a local supermarket for the staff who are working hard – or contact us at Mint!)
Check out our first post for more ideas and share this with a friend who is bored or worried all the time. Then share your best and most creative activities for these trying times in a comment and we may use them in our third post!
Photos: Markus Spiske (plants growing) and Noah Buscher (lemon girl) on Unsplash; Oprah Winfrey quotes from BrainyQute.
They show up in books and movies, including The Art of the Steal, The Thomas Crown Affair, Ocean’s Eightand many others.
Stolen masterpieces by Claude Monet, Salvador Dali and other artists old and new figure prominently in those stories. And they are the daily grind for a few FBI agents and private art sleuths who track criminals with an appetite for oil paintings and sculpture.
I recently read the memoir of FBI agent Robert K. Wittman, called Priceless. It follows him to Santa Fe, Miami, Barcelona, Rio de Janeiro and Paris, chasing criminals who stole or transported stolen art. Among them were pieces by Rembrandt, Norman Rockwells, Vermeer, TK and Native American artifacts and Zimbabwean headrests, ceremonial pillows used in ancient religious rites.
The book captures the complexity of tracking down stolen art, using informants, police sleuthing and stings and an alias; Wittman’s often was Robert Clay, an art dealer who worked with unscrupulous clients. ADD A LITTLE MORE
If you want to see stolen art the FBI hopes to regain, take a look at the FBI’s National Stolen Artwork File, an online database. It shows a wide variety of art: abstracts by Adolfo, bronze Buddhas, 13th century Native American ceramic bowls, ancient Mayan sculpture, many photographs by Berenice Abbott, Linda Butler, Lewis Hines and others; several mixed media pieces by artist Nicole Charbonnet, a Monet landscape, a Robert Rauschenberg lithograph and so much more. The database contains 57 pages of art and artifacts, from ancient religious pieces to Andy Warhol prints.
“Because we are such a big market for legitimate art, we are also a market for illicit art that is being brought in from other countries,” said Bonnie Magness-Gardiner, the now-retired manager of the FBI’s art theft program, in a Q&A on the FBI website. “These objects, whether in museums, other collections, or in the ground, can be very valuable in a monetary sense, and in their countries of origin they have an even greater value as cultural heritage.”
Since it started its Art Crimes team in 2004, the FBI estimates that it has returned more than 15,000 pieces of art and artifacts worth more than $800 million. Many go to museums or cultural sites internationally.
Michigan has its share of art thefts from collectors homes as well as forged art stories, some local and some playing out across many cities. Eric Ian Hornak Spoutz, who had several aliases and lived in Mount Clemens, presented himself as a curator and art dealer with expertise in European, Asian and American art. He used falsified receipts, letters from dead attorneys and more, to pass off paintings as authentic since 2005, selling them at auction houses and on eBay, according to the Detroit News.
“Eric Spoutz made a lucrative ‘career’ selling forged art as originals from American masters like De Kooning, Kline and Mitchell. From creating fake
documents to assuming new identities, Spoutz used the full palette of deception to complete his decade-long work of fraud, swindling art collectors out of more than a million dollars,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement.
Many people know of Frida Kahlo, the artist from Mexico whose creative self portraits and paintings are gaining favor. The partner of Diego Rivera, she painted herself many times and her family – and her images are now being fought over by independent artists and the Frida Kahlo Corp.
Yet during this Women’s History Month, we decided to look past Kahlo, and introduce five other female artists whose stories and art both inspire us. Here are the first three:
(1915 – 2012)
An American-born artist, Elizabeth Catlett lived for many years in Mexico, where she developed her printmaking skills. While working as a WPA muralist during the Great Depression, she began to her social activism on behalf of African Americans and others. (In 1958, she was arrested during the Union of Railroad Workers strike in Mexico City.) Catlett taught at high schools and colleges – and continued to teach after she became a successful artist. Her sculptures often depict African American women and mothers and children. She is known for the beauty of materials as well as her subjects.
Her work is currently part of the Detroit Collects show at the Detroit Institute of Arts.
A quote from Catlett: “Advance is difficult and departure from the accepted path is dangerous; but difficulty and danger are old acquaintances.”
Helen Frankenthaler championed individuality and experimentation in her career spanning six decades. Known as a prolific abstract painter, she lived by the mantra “ignore the rules.” In 1952, she developed a new way of painting, called the soak-stain method or Color Field, using thinned down paint that soaked into the canvas. This allowed the image and object to become one.
Born to a prosperous Manhattan family, she married artist Robert Motherwell in 1958; they often entertained other artists. They divorced and she remarried an investment banker.
Her ethereal abstract paintings were purchased gradually gained in appeal. Then in the 1970s, at the height of her popularity, Frankenthaler decided to move into woodcut making. She continued painting, inspired by the sky and water from her home on the Long Island Sound. Frankenthaler left a foundation that gives grants to artists and arts organizations.
A quote: “One really beautiful wrist motion, that is synchronised with your head and heart, and you have it. It looks as if it were born in a minute.”
This French Impressionist hung out with Monet, Renoir and Degas. Her work appeared with theirs at many Impressionist Salon shows. Édouard Manet is said to have kept three of her paintings in his bedroom. He painted her many times, starting in 1868, the year they met. She worked as a copyist at the Louve and became the first female Impressionist. Morisot painted women and girls, including her daughter Julie who was depicted repeatedly. She documented women’s lives. “She is due for full-blown fame,” wrote Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker‘s art critic.
Another quote by Morisot: “My ambition is limited to the desire to capture something transient, and yet, this ambition is excessive.”
Mint will share a quote a week from one of these artists on our Instagram and Facebook. And we will introduce two more female artists later this month. As a woman-led organization, we are inspired by these women, and hope you will be too.
Jessica Fligger showed up with her family for the Mint Paint Detroit with Generosity opening last month, a rare artist with a rare opportunity – two of them.
She left 90 minutes later with two interviews completed and her paintings shining. This young painter and ceramics artist was thrilled to have her art featured in the Fisher Building – and in the interviews.
The second was closer to home. Mint marketing intern Journey Shamily, who has sold art with Jessica through the Mint Learn and Earn program, talked to her about her show at the Fisher, which comes down on Jan. 2.
” I just knew that I wanted my interview with her to be fun for the both of us while still giving her a chance to talk about the beautiful art she made for three beautiful nonprofits. I truly did have a blast and with this internship I can mark ‘interview someone’ off my bucket list,” said Journey Shamily.
Guilded by her Mint mentor Kelly O’Neill, Journey also edited the video of Jessica Fligger, which is presented here and on our YouTube channel.
Jessica was paid to create original paintings and art through Mint’s Creative Summer Jobs program. (Follow us on Facebook or Instagram to see some of the paintings created or stop by the Fisher Bakery by the afternoon of Jan. 2 to see them all in person.)
Jessica is one of the rare artists who was accepted into both of our training and development programs. Both she and Journey learn creative and business skills through Mint – including how to answer questions from guests or in front of the camera.
Children flock to Mint’s free arts and crafts, led by Mint Summer Workers. (Photo: Vickie Elmer)
Mint Artists Guild sees the future and it is our children.
Mint just announced that its 2020 Paint Detroit with Generosityinitiative will give paintings to nonprofits that serve children and youth, and families in need in Detroit. For the fifth year of this program, Mint will focus all our generosity on youth, instead of donating to a wider variety of nonprofits.
“Children create joy by living in the moment; yet they face real hardships in Detroit. They deserve our love and support,” said Vickie Elmer, Mint co-founder and executive director.
Mint chose children as the theme for the fifth Paint Detroit with Generositybecause most of our work focuses on youth and children, from the free arts and crafts to the youth-created art on our greeting cards to the entrepreneurial training for high school age artists. And we know children and youth today face many challenges and deserve inspiration and support.
Almost one in six children in the United States live in poverty, according to 2018 U.S. Census Bureau estimates. That means 7.5 million families living in poverty, with one-fourth of them led by a mother or grandmother or other female relative. The numbers are far higher in Detroit.
Yet all is not bleak. Community groups, individuals, foundations and nonprofits are developing after school programs, summer jobs, sports and other services to lift up Detroit’s children. Youth themselves create opportunities to learn and grow.
Nonprofits serving children and youth in or near Detroit may request to be considered for Mint’s 2020 Paint Detroit with Generosity initiative. Please contact Mint by Feb. 15, 2020 and include details on the number of youth served each year (and where they live). Nonprofits will be asked to sign a standard memorandum of understanding, or MOU, and share some details about their programs.
Mint welcomes individuals and businesses to support Detroit youth and this initiative, so we may hire more youth in 2020 and donate more paintings. So please give today.
Mint Artists Guild believes in crafts – and we offer them to children in Detroit regularly.
Seven times this summer, we hosted a free arts and crafts activities for families and individuals in Palmer Park, with support from the Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency and individual donors. We set up right outside the Mint Studios and children showed up in swimming suits from the Splash Park or after a family outing.
We will offer it at Eastern Market three times – Dec. 1, 8 and 22 – and with the People for Palmer Park at future events. We showed up at Youth Design Day and welcome other opportunities to get creative in the community.
Often these events include coloring pages created by Mint Artists. One of our newest beauties is called “Rabbit feast” and it was created by Mint Summer worker Jessica:
You can help us create more free art opportunities. Here’s three ways:
Invite us to your event. We will bring coloring pages and /or crafts, for children or adults. Cost starts at $37 an hour, three hour minimum, to bring in two emerging artists. Please be in touch at least two weeks before the event or conference.
3. Underwrite a new coloring page by Mint Artists. This support gives youth work – and gives your company visibility. Imagine your company name at creative events and arts and crafts throughout 2020. This sponsorship starts at $375 for an independent business with one location. Please contact us if you are interested. (We have other business sponsorship opportunities too.)
We love getting creative with our emerging artists and children as young as 2, and hope you will come along as we give more coloring and craft opportunities throughout Detroit next year!
If you want to talk to us about any of these, please stop by and see us on Friday at the TechTown Detroit pop up from 11-3. Or drop us a line and we will schedule a conversation. We will even bring along a coloring page and crayons!
Emerging artists’ work looks fresh and intriguing, yet they are unknown. So many collectors are nervous or unfamiliar about buying from artists who are still in high school or college.
New art buyers and major collectors alike seek the new, the fresh artists who could become the next big thing – in the regional or global art market. Art flipping has become a thing, based on finding a hot new emerging artist.
They and more serious collectors come to the Mint Artists Guild tent or to galleries that highlight new and emerging talent.
Mint has collected five pieces of advice for collectors who want to buy emerging artists work, but also want to choose pieces that could appreciate in value:
Continued, steady growth. Seek an emerging artist whose career is growing steadily, not a hot flash that will flame out. Look carefully for fresh emerging artists who take risks, and “whose visual language shows a continual development,” recommends Discovery Art Fair in a post.
Seek on social media. Instagram has become an important place to connect with promising, emerging artists and see work – and work in progress. However, meeting artists and seeing their work at an exhibit or juried art fair – such as the Palmer Park Art Fair or Belle Isle Art Fair, where Mint has group tents – will provide even more information and insights.
Look for exceptional work and style. Choose art or an artist who has a distinctive style or a compelling approach or theme to their art. Buy work that feels fresh and exceptional, that “stands out from the trends.” Avoid artists whose pieces feel too similar to other artists.
Choose work ethic and longevity. Select an artist who is driven and has an exceptional work ethic. You want someone whose passion and creative output will continue for decades and who has “the resilience to deal with the setbacks this industry throws,” wrote Marine Tanguy, CEO of MTArt Agency in a blog post. And as a collector, avoid impulse buys; dig deeper into the artists’ story, education and exhibits, art writer Ana Bambić Kostov suggests in a post for Discovery Art Fair.
Mint Artists in our Learn and Earn group are chosen for their talent, drive and willingness to learn and engage in the community. A number of them including Eleanor Aro, Prince Matthews, and Journey Shamily, have work in major Detroit area collectors’ homes or offices.
Collectors also need to visit a lot of art fairs or exhibits to hone their eye. “The more art you see, the more knowledgeable you will become, which is important for anyone thinking about art as an investment,” wrote Rebecca Wilson, chief curator and an art advisor for Saatchi Art in a 2017 report on emerging artists. Buying work from emerging artists may be a smart strategy for building an art collection. “Not only do you have the chance to be among the first to buy from a future art star, but there tends to be much greater access to an artist’s work—both in terms of price and availability—at the start of their career. ”
If you want to buy some amazing, collectible emerging artists work, pick up a ticket to Mint Masterpieces on Oct. 19. Or follow Mint’s events on Facebook and here on our website for our next art pop up or events.