Saturday, January 11, 2014


I just delivered a very special commissioned piece that is both a tribute to the legacy of R.E. Olds in Lansing and to the renowned Michigan artist, Tony Hendrick.
I first met Mr. Hendrick at his very successful 2010 gallery showing at Art Alley in Reo Town but, unbeknownst to me at the time, I had already been introduced to his art through the huge REO  mural on Washington Avenue that was commissioned as part of the R.E. Olds Centennial Celebration and was unveiled in November of 2003. (See excerpt below from CITY PULSE: 01-14-04)

“Among the proudest achievements of the centennial organizers…, is the commissioning of an enormous public mural depicting the old Reo factory, unveiled last November. In keeping with the open-eyed historicism of Reo Town, the mural makes a dramatic, surprisingly ambiguous statement as it stretches across the old Diamond Reo showroom on South Washington (now the Quality Dairy dispatch building).

At first glance, the mural vibrates colorfully like a confetti-and-lacquer Chamber of Commerce idyll. Dominating the frame, in bright colors and forced perspective, is the Reo factory’s elegant administration building, decked out in crisp red-and-white awnings. Two figures, representing the “square-deal” bargain between management and labor for which the factory was famous, stand folksily at eye level.

Upon closer inspection, however, layers of deeper meaning ooze from the surface. Just behind the cheery facade, in a murky perspective of brown and grey, the “Reo” logo looms in an ominous reverse image. To the left, an enormous plume of industrial effluent blossoms over the scene like a mushroom cloud. Given such surroundings, the shaky bond between the two men — the only figures in the mural — takes on great weight and poignancy. All in all, the mural captures both the rosy nostalgia and gritty reality of life in the shadow of the factory gates.”

Unfortunately, the canvas mural was vandalized and eventually had to be taken down, but after some loving restoration and a new coat of varnish, it was recently put on display inside  Lansing’s REO Museum.

Luckily, Mr. James Neal, Historian for the REO Club of America, had the presence of mind to salvage the pieces of the mural canvas that were safe-guarded from the weather, vandalism and fading by being under the frame and commissioned me to create a piece of FOAM art that would incorporate the fragments of Mr. Hendrick’s piece. Wanting to pay tribute to both the history of REO in Lansing and to the talents of fellow Michigan artist, Mr. Hendrick, I created “REO Mosaic.”

Thank you Mr. Neal and Mr. Hendrick for allowing me this privilege.


Thursday, January 2, 2014

"Akron is NOT in the NORTH!"

Here at the start of 2014 I have come to the realization that I have raised a climatically-conditional snob!  Believing, as Calvin's father does, that cold weather, does indeed, build character...
my son has taken issue with the recent car commercial featuring a Santaesque salesman who, when asked about where he goes up north, kindly and matter-of-factly replies, "Akron". To that my son vehemently responds to the television, "Akron is NOT in the NORTH.  Michigan is The North!"
To honor his dedication to The North and the State of Michigan and to present my mother with a keepsake gift this Christmas, I took inspiration from an old map I found up at the cottage of Houghton Lake and translated it through Foam.

 The finished piece is 12"x12" and fits nicely into a collectible t-shirt frame.  I can't wait to present it to my mom, who still lives in the cottage on the East Bay of Houghton Lake (the REAL NORTH!) that her father and mother built by hand in the 1940's, but the weather and distance have kept us apart this Holiday Season. 
To you and yours...a very HAPPY and SAFE NEW YEAR!!