The Who’s-Who List of Artists to Watch In Detroit.
With multiple highly-ranked art schools, organizations and avenues dotted across the map, Metro Detroit is a wellspring of creativity and unique style and Fall is the time to honor our artists. Artivist, long-time educator and creative free spirit Sabrina Nelson helped us curate a list of artists, creators and performers that represent the cream of Detroit’s artistic crop.
is an award-winning master artist and master teacher. If one person could look like the music of John Coltrane or Thelonius Monk, it would be Gil. He is the epitome of the creative energy behind songs like ‘Cool’ or ‘My Brother Man’. He is layers into his being as well as in-tune with his visual works. Gil is constantly thinking of how to approach his next project – something is always happening with him! Outside of art and work, he’s a great husband and father and I
respect him deeply.”
showers her Instagram followers constantly with her work. Every hour on the hour, paintings and drawings as if she never sleeps. Everytime I see a new painting from her, I’m intrigued by her use of composition and color. The portraits feel like I am looking firstly inside, then outside of the subject.
I love her bold colors and the abstraction, or ‘freeness,’ of form and figures. Nina Simone says ‘freedom is no fear,’ and Cydney has this embodied fully in her works.
is an amazing artist, thinker and person. He was a student of Jon Onye Lockard and taught African American Arts and Culture and Figure/Life Drawing for over 40 years at Washtenaw Community College. Taurus is constantly growing and transforming as an artist. Some of his best works are ‘Loud Truths,’ based on how his life is straddling on the lines of his personal intersections and ‘Two Worlds of Black & White,’ where he portrays identity in this and his American Life. He always pushes the boundaries of being biracial and healing wounds from his experience in his works.
is an amazing ceramicist and sculptor. He’s a tactile artist who makes his work look like living poetry, or what Gregory Porter and Angelique Kidjo sound like while singing, if that makes sense. I like that he uses the spiritual references from his Nigerian Culture and West Indies Influences in his work. I find it really fascinating to watch him work and listen to him speak. I love his pieces and the way they invite you in visually.
I believe if there is a walking unicorn, with all the glittery magical parts included, it’s Taylor Childs. She is a great colorist who works and teaches art through fiber and fashion. She’s connected in the fashion and textile world that so many aren’t aware exists and thrives in this great city. She is living her dreams as a visual influencer in Detroit who curates and collaborates across creative and design lines. She makes me smile and I am very excited to watch how she colors our world.
RACHEL ELISE THOMAS
has tenacity and stick-to it-ness that I adore! As a photographer who also has collage as a
primary medium, she talks about what is happening in this world through shots that show a romanticism with Black historical imagery that reminds me of the times of my grandmother and her mother, the authenticity of how they dressed. I’m reminded of a time when we all knew Black was Beautiful and we didn’t have to remind folks. If her art had a soundtrack, it would be Curtis Mayfield and Minnie Ripperton.
has been creating art in Detroit for many years. The murals on the doors of Golightly Elementary and Middle School, behind Eastern Market, are his works. He has assisted Muralist Hubert Massy and so many others on their projects that would not be possible without him. His contributions put the ‘art’ in heart. Nivek is a great teacher who can paint, draw and sculpt (welded metals and carved wood are his specialties) and he is a Master Artist in my eyes. He was educated in DPS and it shows with the way he’s constantly giving back to his city.
is a self-taught abstract painter. I love her use of color and composition. She does not compare or compete with anyone in our city and she is constantly pushing forward, while encouraging others to do more as well. Priscilla is a true artist who finds her passion in this field and her joy is infectious. I wanna be just like her when I grow up!
is a unique muse, creator and expressionist. She is known for her words and her expressions. She is a performance artist, writer and cultural creator. I love her visual works on paper and also how, during her performances, she evokes all the things that make no sense with only one look. I could sit with her, read her work and chat with her for hours, and my soul would be fed.
is the epitome of a hard worker; she has always been ‘head down and focused’ on her work and her family. I love how she does not fit into the idea of what an artist must be. She’s tenacious and consistent. I love her approach to color and the figure. She uses abstraction and whimsicality
in her approach to subjects. Her work is free and she’s willing to always teach and talk about her process.