PLAYGROUND DETROIT's Colin Darke inteviews artist Ian Swanson about his his latest work, living in New York, and his upcoming solo exhibit at Re:View.
A couple of years ago, artists Ian Swanson and Cedric Tai seemed to be everywhere in Detroit. Everywhere you turned, they were involved with a great local art project. They had their own gigs, teamed up on joint projects, and both were heavily involved with thedetroiter.com, which is an art-focused Detroit-centric website ‘serving a creative community.’ Their collective energy was great for Detroit because they are both locally bred, talented artists.
Then, about a year ago, they were both gone. Cedric moved to Glasgow, Scotland to pursue his MFA and Ian went to Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NYC to do the same. Both being deep thinkers that they are, this was a logical move to allow them to explore their artistic voices, but- their presence has since left a void.
Fortunately the distance has not made Michigan a distant memory for either of these artists. Detroit’s own Re:View Contemporary Gallery represents both of them. Ian has his first solo show with Re:View gallery opening next month. PLAYGROUND DETROIT checked in with him to see what he has been up to in Brooklyn and get his thoughts on the two cities.
Colin Darke for PD: What is your background, Ian?
Ian Swanson: My desktop background or my personal background? Currently, my very cluttered desktop background is a picture of a ’97 Dodge Neon. Concerning me though… I was born in Detroit, I am 29 years old. I grew up in the thrifting mecca east of the city near St. Clair Shores/Roseville, and moved to the city around the time I was attending Wayne State University. I’ve been showing around Detroit since about ’06, and from ’09-11 was co-running a project space called ORG at the Russell Industrial Center and had a studio in the old North End building. I’ve also been making some type of music with various creeps around the city since I was a teenager. Now I’m hanging out in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn mostly.
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Ian Swanson, Post-prehistory, 2012. Acrylic, enamel, spraypaint and collage on canvas, 72"x60"