I drove up to Detroit. Originally I had arranged a spot with a group studio, but when I arrived the space was not suitable for me. It’s a pity because the other artists working there were great and extremely welcoming. It was a classic old Detroit factory building without windows and, having only been recently acquired, no ceiling lights either. Painting essentially requires good light. I called someone at the Russell Industrial Center I had made contact with last year and he found me a great little space on the 5th floor.
I found a plant at Lowes that was very close to death, it was reduced to $5 from $50. An African Peace Lily. The cashier at Lowes was laughing at me for buying a dead plant. After a couple of days TLC in my new studio it completely resurrected itself. After it put out two new leaves I named it Amandla, which is the Zulu word for power and the rallying cry of activists during the Apartheid era of South Africa.
I moved into a shared house – a fantastic tumbledown mansion – with some of the loveliest people I have ever met anywhere in the world. The house once belonged to Rev C L Franklin, Aretha Franklin’s Dad. She would have been a child at the time. It’s a curious feeling wondering if little Aretha learned to play piano in the room you are currently eating breakfast… The neighbourhood is where I spent part of last year so I was delighted to reconnect with all the good friends I made at Fortress and Popps.
Fixed a date for the exhibition with Start gallery and got to work right away…. four months is no time to get an exhibition together!