Graffiti Wanted was organized by Eleanor Oakes, a Ponyride Detroit Applebaum Emerging Artist Resident in 2016. Graffiti Wanted was an invitation for public participation painting graffiti on a wall facing Grand River Ave just outside of downtown Detroit. The project is an effort to engage a place-specific dialogue about public art, vandalism, and censorship in Detroit. Anyone was welcome to participate at any time during the two-month installation, no approval or permission was required, participants could remain anonymous and there are no restrictions on what could be drawn on the wall. All contributed graffiti was documented for a final printed piece, but then painted over to replicate graffiti removal happening all over Detroit. This play between making and erasing will created a patchwork akin to those around the city, drawing attention the practice.
This is Oakes’ first public art collaboration and serves as an extension of her ongoing body of images “Removed,” which document the removal of graffiti in Detroit. Oakes currently lives in Detroit, where her artistic practice is based. She also teaches photography and increases camera access through her organization Darkroom Detroit. Her work can be viewed online at www.eleanoroakes.com.
This project is generously sponsored by Ponyride Detroit, The Applebaum Family Compass Fund, and Katie Katz & Ken Katz. The mission of Ponyride is to nurture collaboration using shared resources, knowledge, and ideas to cultivate opportunities for growing endeavors. The Ponyride residency program provides the critical opportunity for artists to dedicate themselves to their craft. The Applebaum Family Compass Fund has provided generous support to award artists a residency at Ponyride. The three main elements of this program are talent retention, artist growth, and artistic exchange with artists and Detroit Residents.