CREATION OF COLOR: With an artistic storefront, the artist known as Dabl attracts customers to his store, Dabl's African Bead Gallery, at Vinewood and Grand River. He sells thousands of African beads, some more than 300 years old, he says. (ERIC SEALS/DFP)
Aaron Timlin, CAID's executive director, added: "There's a pioneering attitude. There are so many things artists can do in Detroit because it is so spread out. Throw up a sculpture on a vacant lot. Performance art. Detroit is a big empty canvas."
The spiritual godfather of the grassroots art scene is Tyree Guyton, whose internationally known installation around Heidelberg Street on the near East Side attracts visitors every day. Guyton's artwork deals with how abandonment affects a neighborhood -- and decay is central to the work of a number of artists.
In Detroit, there are people who draw attention to abandonment by painting gutted homes orange or attaching orange traffic cones to them. There is Larry Zelenski, who produces greeting cards with lovingly enhanced photos of abandoned houses. And there is Kevin Joy, who paints cartoons, Mayan-style hieroglyphics and other wacky images on abandoned houses and in the windows of vacant downtown buildings.