Detroit Artist Tony Rave on Politics As Usual Exhibition

hen it comes to paintings, artist Tony Rave is less about frills.

"I use whatever I can get my hands on, really," he says, explaining that his creativity is driven by purpose over price. "Not having oils, not having expensive stuff-I don't care about that. What I care about is getting my point across."

Rave, an aspiring artist since the age of 3, credits most of his interest in artistry to his uncle, Baila."He was a Detroit artist in the late '80s, early '90s. He had a studio, and I would always go there and draw with him," he remembers. His uncle procured local notoriety for his fantastical comic-style paintings. And now Rave continues that tradition with his portraits of pigs.

"I like to use the pig because the pig is a very controversial animal, culturally. It's symbolic. The pigs are for the viewer, not for me to tell them what it is," he explains. "It was kind of an addictive thing to do. It was compulsive."

Rave also uses his art for political commentary.


"When he was going through his trial, I drew (former mayor of Detroit) Kwame Kilpatrick with a crown on his head. That sketch turned into The King of Broken Hearts," says Rave. "The meaning of that alone says so much (about) the city with that image."

As he explains, his art is about feeling and thinking.

"You have to look closely," Rave says. "I want to get at least 30 seconds of someone's time. If my stuff is up at a show, and it's me and several other artists, I want people to gravitate to it, look at it and think about something."

Get a closer look at some of Rave's work at his solo exhibition, Politics As Usual, opening 7:30 p.m. on  June 25 and running till July 15 at The Baltimore Gallery (314 E. Baltimore Ave., Detroit).

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