I owe you a little blog report – this time, no art! I haven’t been drawing for the last week! All I did was rest, eat and relax. I feel a wee bit shame for not picking up the pen for so long. But well, I guess I am just not one of those artists who feel the urge to draw every second of their life.
I spend my last week in Detroit, Michigan. Melissa’s mum invited me and we stayed at her house for a week. I was treated like one of theirs, did not have to care about food appearing in front of me every day and my clothes were magically returned washed like in a chanted castle. It was great – I also was surrounded by cute tiny people (aka: a baby and a toddler, Alexis and Abby – daughter’s of Jenny, Melissa’s sister) which took getting used to, but in the end I gave up to the constant cuteness attacks.
(below: Melissa and her niece Alexis, a cute litte bundle of smiles. They might be communicating telephaticly)
(Below:Alexis (left) and Abby (right) in their first car)
I already posted some fotos at facebook, but I wanted to write a short summary of my impressions here on my blog. First of all, the city: Considered the center for the automobile industry, Detroit has the nickname Motor City – it is also the city in which Henry Ford built his first car. Even though the city bloomed in the first half of the 20th century, economical downfall, ethnic riots and depression depopulated parts of the city (from before the 1950, 1.8 Million people to half that number today).
When Melissa and I drove to the Detroit Institute of Art (which was very nice by the way), we passed by countless abandoned buildings, family homes as well as public buildings. I expected to see some of this, but I was overwhelmed with the sheer number of empty buildings, some of which were burned out too. One can imagine that this is hard on the people who have lived there all their life.
(Below: This is my little collection of decay - I shot all of this from the car within 5 minutes of driving, so one can only imagine how many others there are)
If you are just visiting, like me, you might be able to see some beauty and story-telling quality in urban decay, but one must imagine, there are people living in some of those houses and others haven’t left yet and are surrounded by empty hulls that once served whole families to live. I wish I could have taken some fotos from the inside, but the area was not safe and some buildings were fenced off.
We also visited downtown Detroit, which felt weird too. One thing that jumped into my eye at once was to so called “People Mover” (built in the early 1980ies), a monorail that circles downtown (always clockwise), automatically, no conductor. It passes by skyscrapers, old abandoned buildings and dirty city roofs and felt like a 50ies version of a futuristic city. All downtown felt like that. When we used it, it was nearly empty – imagine it, a fully-automated monorail driving trough quiet, empty skyscraper-landscapes. Awesome.
Anyways, besides that the landscape of Michigan was vast Highways, streets, chain restaurants and shopping malls. It’s kind of fascinating, if it wasn’t kind of depressing – for the people living here too. Melissa fled to New York and I am glad she did or I would have never met her! :-D
(Below: at the peopel mover, next to the skyline of Canada)
(Below: a random ancounter at "The Spirit of Detroit (comissioned 1955)")
(Below: We always knew one of the Star Gates led to Detroit)
(Gotta love the skyline)
Other things we did included visiting Frankenmuth, “Michigan’s Little Bavaria” – a former German settlement, now a German Disneyland to go into candy and meat coma. We dined in the Austrian room, which was kind of awesome – we sat directly under the banner for Styria, which made me feel a bit patriotic.
(Below: all fotos made in the Henry Ford Muesum)
Spectators at air show
old school room
listeing to War of the Worlds