Of Beetles, Kitties, Waves and Wings

Of Beetles, Kitties, Waves and Wings

The Scarab Club, on the National Register of Historic Places, is an artists' club and gallery in Detroit, Michigan. It sits behind the recently voted world’s friendliest museum -- not the state’s or the city’s, but world’s: The Detroit Institute of Arts, or the DIA, for short. The signatory beam on the Scarab Club's second floor was signed by Norman Rockwell...16 years after Diego Rivera inscribed his name there. It’s a special venue that a lot of talent, well known and otherwise, has graced.

I know a kid, an occasional ARTHAUS:Detroit shop assistant and contributor, who received recognition from the Scarab Club in 2012 for being the youngest artist, to date, to have work admitted into an exhibit. She was eight at the time her work was entered and admitted, seven at the time she had created it. 

It was a print of a cat. Rendered with a stencil and enamel paint, it featured a minimal face with a few body stripes. One color on ivory. It was just the simplest little thing. Probably 5x7, 6x8 tops. But so cute. And not especially juvenile looking. It was christened "Meowlody."

Meowlody had the ability to make just about everyone who saw it, stop. I mean really stop. And smile. “Aww...kitty.” Meowlody was an unexpected serendipity that had that effect on just about everyone. Unfortunately, I don't have a good picture of it handy at the moment.

It was a print of a cat. Rendered with a stencil and enamel paint...

But the following exhibit at the Scarab Club saw the judge, his son, and another artist create a collaborative piece that was entered, admitted and, not surprisingly, recognized. So then his son, a year younger than the kitty stencil artist, became the youngest artist, to date, with work admitted to the Club. You may have your own thoughts, but we theorize the judge, once he realized the maker of the piece he’d admitted into the previous exhibit was recognized for being the youngest…well…

We laugh about that to this day. When I say we, I mean my husband and I. We both know the kid, the kitty stencil artist, because she happens to be our youngest. For privacy, we'll refer to her here as Ms.

Ms. is the kid who adamantly refuses to let us refer to her as an artist of any kind. The young lady – who painted Hokusai’s Wave – The Great Wave off Kanagawa -- on the back pocket of her jeans (pictured below) – without any picture for reference! My Japanese colleagues and students, including one from Kanagawa, were just as impressed as I was.

The woman’s got skills, man. And not just in painting.

Ms., along with roughly a half dozen other young people, just wrapped up work on the background and some foreground details for a mural in Dearborn, Michigan. The painting covers the side of the BLICK Art Materials store on Michigan Avenue.

That’s what I’ll leave you with today.

It's a beautiful concept, don't ya think?

Send questions and comments to Debora Grace at: arthaus.detroit@gmail.com. Feedback is always welcome.

Until next week...

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published