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You Need Them On That Wall

There are always those stories that a writer wishes he or she had done first, and this Metro Times piece from Detroitblogger John ranks right near the top of my list.

I grew up off Mack Avenue in Detroit and passed these painted signs every single day as a child. Some were better than others, but somewhere in each of them, I always managed to find something affirming about myself and/or our community. (Around my way, when I was a kid in the '70s, a man who went by the name of "Cherokee" was among the best of 'em all. I heard he died a while ago, but you can still see some of his work on cinderblock storefronts along Mack.)

As a hip-hop head, I used to wonder why breakdancing and rap took hold in my neighborhood when graffiti didn't. And I can't help but think that, in some small way at least, it had something to do with the daunting standard these guys set. Hastily scrawling "Darrell Wuz Here" in black Krylon kinda lost its appeal when you then turned around and saw some guy twice your age hand-painting full-on Afrocentric nativity scenes across a giant wall. (And back then, you never EVER painted over their stuff.)

Hand-painted wall signage was standard decades ago. Good to know the tradition lives on here in the D...

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  • 1

    My dad's boss used to hire a guy who worked like this to do all the lettering on the company trucks. No taping, no templates, just a steady hand and a lot of skill and patience.

    Detroit does respect art. Even with all the paint that used to fly in Dequindre Cut the best pieces were largely left unmolested.

    Dequindre Cut Ride: To the Death

    Dequindre Cut Ride: Evil Astronaut Monkey

  • 2

    My dad's boss used to hire a guy who worked like this to do all the lettering on the company trucks. No taping, no templates, just a steady hand and a lot of skill and patience.

    Detroit does respect art. Even with all the paint that used to fly in Dequindre Cut the best pieces were largely left unmolested.

    Dequindre Cut Ride: To the Death

    • 2.1

      and another

      Dequindre Cut Ride: Evil Astronaut Monkey

    • 2.3

      Oh, I know that. I was just trying to point out that even in the free-for-all down in the Cut the good works got respected.

  • 3

    Very good to give a shout out to "DetroitbloggerJohn".

    You left out the part where you copped the URL of his website to name this blog:

    http://www.detroitblog.org

    Good to give credit, but let's give all the credit where it is due.

    Poor choices made in naming this blog, and it is my suggestion that it is early enough for you folks to sit down with your thinking caps and come up with an original name for the TIME blog in Detroit.

    How about "TIME blog in Detroit".

    heh.

  • 4

    All good dude, Im not going to keep nipping your ankles on this. Detroit Blog is a local staple, so you can understand the name thing being irksome. Nuff said about the name.

    That said, 'John' is a very important resource, you guys should hit him up and call him over to the house. He knows more than you could imagine from just reading the website !

    Marvin did get creative control in his later contracts, and did name his albums btw. lol

    Cheers

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