Hosted by Bedrock Real Estate Services and Library Street Collective (LSC), Futura’s debut of his new solo exhibition “New Horizons,” was a hit in The Belt.
From fantastic food trucks to musicians that made you move, the LSC event brought an eager crowd of local Detroiters and tourists alike.
When you have an event like Public Matter, uniting a diverse group of people in a location like Detroit, a connection is made to the city. This connection will turn into a movement that inspires others to share in this same experience of growth and revitalization.
“Art is a universal experience,” said Futura.
If you didn’t have the chance to check out the event, we have the recap of the Public Matter experience along with an exclusive interview with Futura talking about his history with the Motor City.
A Public Matter
Imagine telling your friends and family that your weekend plans included hanging out in an alley in downtown Detroit and touring through a parking garage! They would think you’re crazy.
That’s right: the public debut of Futura’s installation of Library Street Collective’s Public Matter was located in The Belt, a redefined art alley located next to The Z Deck.
Bringing a new energy and a unique style to the city, paintings like “Tiger Stripe,” “Shelby Yellow,” and “Pistons,” fit in perfectly with the history and culture of the historic Motor City.
The Crowd Can’t Be Controlled
The event began at 6:00 p.m. and was already full of life and excitement.
I was eager to enter LSC gallery, located on The Belt, and was blown away at Futura’s work as all expectations were exceeded. His use of vibrant color was breathtaking and his abstract design sparked the imagination.
My favorite piece was called “Crowd Control,” a representation of people who let life pass by. Futura, in his overview of New Horizons urged the crowd to pay attention, as “the past gets lost in miles of memories.”
After an inspiring tour through the LSC gallery, it was time to eat! I grabbed a taco at El Guapo and a drink from Stand By and took in the atmosphere of the alley:
Music was playing by a live DJ and a small crowd of dancers began gathering in the middle of the alley; a cute couple was especially eager to strut their stuff!
Soon after, the Detroit Party Marching Band stormed the alley and began entertaining the masses with their unique style.
As the night continued, more and more people began gathering in the alley, anticipating a performance from the surprise Grammy award winning artist. Excitement rang through as Lupe Fiasco took the stage.
Fun fact! Lupe has worked in the past as Futura’s painting assistant, helping him produce his last exhibit, Shanghai. Known under his artist name as Wasalu Jaco, Lupe had a personal connection with the event that made the night memorable.
An Audience with the Artist
I had a moment to hang out with Futura, also known as Lenny McGurr, and learn about his history with Detroit, as well as his passion for the art community.
We began talking about his presence in Detroit. I asked what inspired him to bring his art to the Motor City. He gives all the credit to the Library Street Collective:
“It’s the guys at the gallery, Anthony, JJ, Matt; everyone involved at the gallery,” said a humble Futura.
He continued with, “I’m a big sports guy. My connection to any city, before I know your culture, or your music, or your food, I know your sports. I was going to Tiger’s Stadium when I was in the military in the 70s.”
When I asked how art inspires the revitalization and regrowth of our city, he stated:
“I think art helps a lot. We’ve evolved from the history and origins of this culture. It’s not threatening as it once was. People are embracing it and people are accepting it and that creates the social climate. Whenever you see a community come back or emerging, there’s a layer of an art community or some sort of creative community as well.”
“Art is all-inclusive; art’s not discriminating against anyone,” he concluded.
We started talking about the origins of his career; how he got his name and where he derived inspiration for his art.
“When any graffiti or street artist is arriving, they gotta come up with a name. I chose the name “Futura” partly because there was a Ford Futura car in the 60s that was quite classy and stylish. So the name “Futura” comes from the Ford Futura car. There’s my real Detroit connection. And it’s crazy: 46 years later, here I am actually exhibiting my art as Futura in a city where I found my name!”
We’re glad to have you back, Futura, and we hope to see you again real soon!
Back to the Futura
We want to thank Library Street Collective for putting on a spectacular show: both visually and audibly.
Just like Futura said, “Whenever you see a community come back or emerging, there’s a layer of an art community.”
LSC is that community that fuels the attraction and interest of our great city. We can’t wait to see their next show!