This weekend I got to check out the People’s Art Festival at Russell Industrial. Set between two seemingly abandoned factories on Clay St off I-75, The People’s Art Festival was any indie artist dream. Rows of vendors and live performances tucked around every corner brought an eclectic crowd to the “art mecca” that The Russell has become.
I was giddy walking through the rows of tents, seeing the art, the fashion, the music, the food and people. This is the type of underground event that I have been looking forward to discovering in Detroit. Its unobtrusive yet inviting atmosphere and people’s excitement over presenting their work for a supportive audience is intoxicating. You can’t help but want to tell the world about all the talent that is here, yet to be discovered.
Two artists caught my attention, with similar vintage style in different mediums. The first was Scottie Magro of Seeds Studio. Not only does she take hauntingly beautiful photographs that look as if they’ve been pulled out of a box in your grandma’s attic, but she creates jewelry and pendents with the photographs as well as alters the photos to give them a little more character and old world charm. I have my eye on a print of a smiling turquoise buddha doll. I have such a weakness for the chubby little wise guy. And for turquoise.
The other artist that I bought a piece of jewelry from was Courtney Fischer. I had to show some restraint so I wouldn’t buy her entire booth up, but adore the brass turquoise-painted cuff bracelet I got (I would paint my heart turquoise if I could….). Her pieces are vintage-inspired yet retain their own unique delicate-yet-rough style. Perfect jeans and tee shirts accessories. Just writing about her and scrolling through her Etsy page is making me want more! (Like this and this). Courtney mentioned that she’s going to have a table at the DIY Street Fair in Ferndale this September also so stop by!
The soundtrack to this event is equally stacked with talent. I got to check out Ghost City Searchlight. I kind of wish I was seeing them play in a seedy basement bar with their hint of Irish drinkin music and foot-tappin beats that can only sound good with broken peanut shells underfoot. And they have a band member who’s instruments include an accordion and didgeridoo. Here is how they describe their sound (from their MySpace page) “Imagine if Social Distortion, The Pogues, Bruce Springsteen and Johnny Cash all got drunk and had a baby named “Joe Strummer” together, and then that baby got drunk. We might sound like the bartender who gave that baby the alcohol.” Win.
I loved the artists I discovered at this event and wish I could have met every one of them. The DIY and artist community in Detroit is carving their place in the new culture of the city, literally taking root in the midst of the revitalized no-longer-abandon buildings of The Russell.