Mint Artists Guild is creating a lot of momentum in our programs and community activities. Now, we have extending that to merchandise. We just developed a new line of beautiful and inspiring stickers, all based on youth art.
Stickers have been around for decades. They started as bumper stickers to share sentiments on cars and trucks and grew to include stickers for laptops and devices, for nails, for water bottles, windows and other places.
For Mint, stickers are a way to share youth art and encourage and inspire individuals to more beauty, faith in themselves and their futures and generosity. That’s why we sell our stickers in twos or threes. So when you buy them, you have one to share and one for yourself.
Generosity, after all, is beautiful. Just like our stickers!
When we leap into something new and big, it helps to bring along an optimist and a make-magic-happen person like Will Langford.
Known as Will The Poet, he has a history of helping Mint and our young artists. And he also served as the voice of Michigan State University’s “Empower Extraordinary” campaign. He will use his positive energies and extraordinary network in Detroit to lead Mint in a new initiative: the Metro Detroit Youth Arts Competition. It launched this week and runs through Aug. 4.
He was the first and best choice when Mint executive director Vickie Elmer came up with the idea to create a competition to engage and encourage children to be creative in these challenging times. He immediately said yes.
“I’ve engaged in the Metro Detroit Youth Arts Competition because I believe that Detroit is wealthy beyond our wildest dreams—in that our youth bear such light, intellect, and sheer talent,” said Langford. “And Detroit is home to that undeniably spirit of hustle and hope, because when I look around me, I see artists, educators, parents, business owners, and co-conspirators who are committed to the growth of the Motor City.”
Children and youth who are age 21 or younger, as of Aug. 4, and live in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties in Michigan are encouraged to create visual art or poetry based on the three prompts Will wrote.
Those prompts and a lot of other information about the Youth Arts Competition are available on our website. Completed poetry and art also may be uploaded there.
Will Langford is a Detroit native, a poet, teaching artist, and Fulbright scholar. He is the 2017 Motown Mic Spoken Word Artist of the Year. He divides his energy between education and community development projects in his hometown, East Africa, and the East Lansing area, where he is a Ph.D. student at Michigan State in curriculum Instruction and teacher education.
Will joined the Mint board of directors in January. Yet he already is well known as an active Mint supporter, a volunteer and ambassador who buys Mint art.
His idea for blackout poetry was featured in the Mint blog series Creative Ideas for Challenging Times. And since Mint regularly brings poetry into its Creative Summer Jobs program, it was easy and smart to add poems to our competition this summer.
Now Will is working to bring in businesses and nonprofits that believe in children and creativity and will donate prizes, awards cash or promotion to our competition. He and Mint have landed some beauties including Arts & Scraps, Avalon International Breads, Confident Brands, Jo’s Gallery, North End Customs, Sherwood Forest Art Gallery and others. We welcome your organization to join us in this joyful initiative; email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested.
And we hope that you or your children, grandchildren, nieces, cousins, siblings, best friends, roommates and others who are 21 or less will enter the Metro Detroit Youth Arts Competition. Will cannot wait to see what you write, draw or create!
Hubert Massey creates massive public art pieces, like the fresco at TCF Center and large mosaics in parks and overpasses in Detroit, Flint and elsewhere.
Most of his projects take months to complete. Yet most of them start with ideas, and sketches. Massey, who is a co-founder and a board member of Mint Artists Guild, is staying home now, but that doesn’t mean he’s slowing down. He’s creating smaller pieces – paintings, sketches and an obelisk prototype for a public art piece.
“I still don’t have enough time in the day,” he said. He runs Hubert Massey Murals, which brings together artists, engineers, community groups and businesses to create large public art projects.
“I have the habit of getting up early in the morning,” Massey told Mint. He starts with breakfast and a smidgen of news. Then Massey turns on jazz music and turns to work on the creative project for the day. By 3 pm
many days, he’s finishing up and ready to take a walk.
Developing such habits and a schedule help with productivity, Massey said. “Start at a certain time…. Schedule your work hours.”
Here’s three more tips from Hubert Massey on staying creative and productive:
Create a list. Artists need a projects list, where they capture the ideas they may want to pursue, he said. His list includes painting portraits of some other well-known Detroit artists such as Michael Horner and home improvement projects. Keep your list updated and look online for ideas.
Set goals. Know what you want to complete by the time everything is opened up and go after it. Or set smaller goals. Massey enjoys watching documentaries related to science and art, and suggests emerging artists watch one a day of an artist or musician.
Engage with others. Massey likes to hold community forums and ask questions and hear stories. Start this on your social media, or with a conference call with five or seven people. Ask questions such as “what are 10 images you want hanging on your wall?” he suggested.
Don’t worry if your art supplies are thin or nonexistent. Use whatever you find around the home – newsprint or recycled materials or paint on old bowls. “If you’ve got a pencil, then draw,” Massey told Mint.
“You have to be strong within yourself and do what makes you happy.”
Watch for more insights on creatives managing themselves and their work in future posts.
Trinity Brown learned wire wrapping herself while on a break from dancing, following tips on a YouTube video.She had had surgery on her back for scoliosis. She started doing shows at 13 and soon joined Mint, the youngest artist to start in our Learn and Earn program.
She is a senior at University High School Academy in Southfield, where she’s on the varsity tennis team, captain of the UHSA Dance Co. and the Student Congress. She worked as a Wolverine Pathways intern for Mint over the summer. And she also has served on Mint Artists Guild’s board of directors for two years.
She sets a goal for how much she intends to sell at each show.And in 2019, she applied for and participated in the Ann Arbor Art Fair.
“Mint has taught me everything I need to turn my art into a career…. Mint means everything to me and my art,” said Trinity.
She established the Curved Emerging Artists Show in 2018, with support and coaching by Mint and two of its cofounders. It has grown to almost 50 artists in 2019.
She is known for wire wrapping during board meetings, Mint events and anywhere. And she’s the artist who wants to create and sell more jewelry – and help other artists sell more of their work too.
Fun fact:She hardly ever wears her own jewelry, because when she does, people buy it from her fingers or neck.That’s especially true for her best selling copper pendants.
Future plans: Attend a leading business school focused on entrepreneurship and art.
Journey Shamily has a big, silly, sweet smile on her face.Despite setbacks in her life, she smiles and giggles a lot, maintaining a sense of optimism and professionalism.
Her digital art shows her sense of “body positivity,” no matter the size, shape or shade of the women she creates.She wants every woman to feel empowered about their bodies and every girl to see someone who looks like her, “beautiful and unique.”
Shamily, 18, was chosen as Mint’s first marketing intern in November, selected for her experience in graphic design and her attitude and enthusiasm. In that role, she creates videos, social media posts, fundraising materials and will help establish Mint’s social media policy guide. And she is learning new skills, guided by her mentor, Mint board member and marketing lead Kelly O’Neill and others on Team Mint.
“It’s helping me take my career to the next step and be more professional,” Journey said.
Her favorite early assignment was serving as the Mint photographer and videographer at our Paint Detroit with Generosity opening at the Fisher Building. (Watch for a new post soon sharing one of the videos and a couple of photos from that wonderful opening. The show is up at the Fisher Building through Dec. 30.)
Journey Shamily, 18, attends WayMichigan, an online school and will graduate from high school next year. She has bounced around, living on her own, briefly in a homeless shelterwith her mom, and now with her grandma, who has been very supportive of her creative projects.
After graduating, she intends totake a gap year to save money and add toher experience as a freelance designer and digital illustrator.
In 2020, Journey is planning a community service project, bringing Mint Artists Guild into Detroit area homeless shelters to work with children on creative art and gifts for their moms.
She has been part of Mint’s Learn & Earn program since September 2018. She has learned to connect with others and network around her art among other things.
Mint is “very inclusive, very friendly and safe,” for all artists, she says.She helps make it friendly, with her big smile and the “hello, hello, hello” greeting for all.
Fun fact:She loves Ted Talks – and sold her work with Mint Artists Guild at TedXDetroit 2019.
Future plans: Attend a university in New York or elsewhere to study graphic design or illustration.
Mint Artists Guild’s Creative Summer Jobs program teaches career skills, and particularly focus and productivity and managing several projects. Mint also teaches young Detroit artists to improve their paintings, and create mosaics and more.
For the art skills building, we turned to Jacqueline Edwards Lane, an art teacher extraordinaire who worked for Mint. She spent hours coaching our youth on the finer points of mixing acrylic paints, creating more realistic eyes, finishing mosaics and much more.
“Ms. Jackie,” as she was called this summer, spent most of her career teaching art to youth in Detroit. Her summer with Mint workers infused her with new energy to create more new work, drawn from the youthful energy and creativity of the Mint workers.
“They already bring a lot with their skills and their enthusiasm,” she said. And many of the workers, who range in ages from 14 to 21, started making art at 3, the same as their art coach. Hear more of her story and how it entwines with Mint’s in this new video.
Watch for details on the Paint Detroit with Generosity exhibit, to be held later this fall at the Fisher Building, where the fruit’s of Mint’s summer work and Ms. Jackie’s coaching will be available for all to see.
And if you wish to see Mint hire more youth – and donate more paintings to local nonprofits – in 2020, please become a monthly donor and support our nonprofit’s growth.
Shirley Woodson has worked as an artist and arts educator in Detroit for some six decades, and to this day, she usually is juggling a half dozen paintings in her studio.
Over the years, she has moved her paintings into angels, then water, and started painting shells in some of them. “The shell is a home,” she explained in an artist talk at the Norwest Gallery in Detroit.
Her work is in the collections of the Detroit Institute of Arts, which calls her a “trailblazer,” and the Studio Museum of Harlem, as well as corporate and private collections. Her brilliant colors, oranges and lime greens and Carribbean sky bright blues, burst forth in happy profusion; check out more than a dozen of her paintings in this Pinterest collection.
Her best advice to her 18 year old self?Learn to draw better. “Drawing is essential. That’s your note taking. It’s your scales,” she said, answering my question.
Here are other insights from Shirley Woodson that could aid young artists:
Work on several paintings or pieces at once, all in the same medium. That allows movement from one piece to another, based on mood, attitude and more. “I paint many at a time. …Start another one and another one and then go back,” she told the Norwest Gallery guests.
Understand the art market, local and national.
Seek opportunities to show and sell your work outside your home city. She told how she called up a curator and asked to be included in his show. Or land an artist residency somewhere new.
Give yourself time for contemplation of your work. “Seventy-five percent of the time is in the thinking and looking,” she said.
Woodson’s work and words of wisdom are enduring, and she’s clear that artists of color and female artists must continue to work and advocate for themselves. “You will always be overcoming barriers. … Knock it down. Take it away,” she said.
This outpouring of paintbrushes are stored in old coffee cans in artist Adnan Charara’s oversize Detroit studio. Charara, a Lebanese-American artist, creates an array of art and jewelry and other artisan pieces. He owns Midtown Detroit Galerie Camille, which hosted a Mint Artists workshop this year.