By SUE SUCHYTA
DEARBORN – Unique and colorful art was on display April 15 at Fishnet Studios during a city-wide gallery hop during April Arts Month.
Artists Sasha Corder, Matt Dietz, Brian Lacey and Tom Livo were on hand to greet visitors and discuss their work.
Corder said the gallery has seven artists in residence, with four of them showing the space to visitors and demonstrating their respective art forms during the gallery hop.
“I’m a mixed-media artist,” she said. “I like sculpture and I work with a lot of craft media – wood, fiber, metal, glass, ceramics.”
Corder said she kind of forces herself to paint.
“Working in two-dimensional work helps the three-dimensional work, and they go hand-in-hand,” she said. “When you can do two-dimensional studies for your three-dimensional piece, I feel like it kind of helps the process come along, and you are thinking more about how it reads to the viewer.”
Artist and muralist Lacey, known as Detroit Baklava, said he paints in several different styles.
“I have a very abstract, experimental, loose style that’s almost like expressive abstract art, and then within mural and this work I have more of an illustrative hard edge, with really crisp lines and geometrical style,” he said, gesturing to the work in his studio. “Over the years it has been a really big challenge for me to figure out where those two specifically fit in with one another and how they play off of one another.”
Lacey said in recent years he has made progress discovering how his artistic puzzle pieces fit together, with more emphasis on the illustrative, heavy-edged geometry.
In addition to his mural on Koja Sushi Restaurant, 14245 Michigan Ave., he painted a utility box at Wagner Park last summer, TV Lounge in Detroit, and, with a collaborative partner, in Eastern Market and on a school in Detroit.
Lacey said art has always been a part of his life, allowing him to express his creativity.
“I think it was just a natural progression to take it into a career pursuit,” he said. “It’s a common thread with a lot of artists.”
Lacey said his murals, though, are definitely his favorite.
“Largely they are free to the general public audience, which is really valuable, because people that don’t normally go to a gallery might not be inclined to purchase art, but they are more apt to appreciate it and maybe even use it as a gateway to more art.”
Livo said it was good to see guests visiting during the gallery hop, many of whom admired the oil paintings of area landmarks on the walls of his studio, which represent areas where his older relatives once lived.
“Now that they’re gone, it’s a connection, what is left from those days,” he said. “I can see what they saw.”
Livo said that while he’s always enjoyed doing landscapes, buildings present a different type of artistic challenge.
He said he would like to paint the Ford Drive-In Theater on Ford Road in Dearborn.
“The weird, monolithic quality of the walls of the drive-in and just the whole metaphor of walls is another intriguing aspect,” Livo said.
He said the giant Uniroyal tire off I-94 in Allen Park is another icon he’d like to paint, since it is a unique local landmark.
Livo said he is drawn to the geometry of the store fronts along Michigan Avenue from Dearborn into Detroit.
“The buildings are so beautiful, even when they are boarded up and painted one color,” he said. “They are still so beautiful, it’s haunting.”
Livo said he grew up in the suburbs and gradually saw the old Detroit landmarks get torn down.
“Slowly I just watched the history going away,” he said. “I think it’s high time we just preserve it.”
Dietz, the general manager of Blick Art Materials, 14339 Michigan Ave., said he works in mixed media, including acrylics and watercolor, as well as graphite and charcoal drawing materials on canvas and paper.
He said he discovered Fishnet Studios when he worked with the Pockets of Perception design team of students that painted a mural on an outside wall of Blick.
Dietz, who lives in Melvindale, said he would like to work with the city to create murals and other art installations.