Red Bull show Friday features Jason Pulgarin's Detroit portraits
Friday evening, the Red Bull House of Art in Eastern Market -- now re-branded Red Bull Arts Detroit -- will host a Resident Artists Exhibition featuring work by three artists just wrapping up their fellowships: Nathan Smith, Debra Lynn Manville and Jason Pulgarin.
Pulgarin, 28, is a Los Angeles painter who works in aerosol and the under-appreciated medium of watercolors. In his three months in Detroit, the Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York, native concentrated on painting the denizens in and around Eastern Market, which he discussed recently with The Detroit News:
Is this the first time you visited Detroit?
No - I've been here before, in 2012. I stayed for a month and loved it. It's a really beautiful place, like a diamond in the rough. When I walk down the street, there's always someone saying hi to me. Detroiters are really friendly, and more likely to engage in conversation than in LA.
Apart from the friendliness, what else appeals to you?
You know, Detroit is like a wonderland. I feel you can get away with things here you can't elsewhere. And everything here is about craft. Everyone's into their craft and takes pride in what they do. I come from New York and LA with fast-paced, air-headed people. It's such a different feel.
Who did you paint?
I was trying to capture the working-class hero of Detroit. I went out every day and met people. Whoever looked interesting, I got their story and took a photo of them. I even did the "Spirit of Detroit."
You work in watercolor -- that's unusual these days.
There aren't enough people who take it seriously, and I really love it. I just gravitated toward it naturally.
You also use aerosol -- do you do mural work?
Not personally. I'm trying to be more of a contemporary fine-art artist than street artist. I kind of don't want to be profiled that way. I already come from the streets. That's enough for me.
What do you think of the Eastern Market murals?
They're refreshing. They're really cool. They give color. If the market didn't have the murals, it could be a little intimidating, especially at night.
You fly home in a couple days. What awaits you back in LA?
I'm going to have to work on commissions, and go through this whole process all over again, because I have my first solo show in LA coming up in December.
'Resident Artists Exhibition: Nathan Smith, Debra Lynn Manville and Jason Pulgarin'
Red Bull Arts Detroit, 1551 Winder, Detroit
7-10 p.m. Friday, opening reception
Through Sept. 2
Regular hours: 11 a.m.- 4 p.m., Saturdays & Sundays