Entries in Detroit (2)


54 Michelle Tanguay

Michelle Tanguay is a prolific and exceptionally talented visual artist from Detroit.  We came across her work last year and have been trying to wrap our heads around it since.  Recently, we had a chance to chat with Michelle, and we were fascinated by what she had to say.  Make sure you check out her work here and support this woman!

First of all thanks so much for chatting with us, we are huge fans of your work.  Can you fill us in on what's been keeping you busy lately?

Im really excited about a new series of paintings i started about a month ago, i'm still trying to figure out what direction they are going but its fun and its keeping me busy. 

What's a typical day in the studio like for you?

Typical day in the studio starts with getting lunch with my Camilo (My mentor/best friend) across the street at Detroit One Coney Island. We discus what we have planned for the day, i get his opinion on some ideas and then i get to work. I usually have around 5 different paintings going at once, while i'm waiting for one painting to dry i move to the next one. Theres a model who i'm using in a few of my current paintings, she's absolutely beautiful, she stops by periodically simply so i can see her face. If i'm having trouble with a painting i might go to the library and take out some books, jump on the computer and look at some art blogs. I'm a bit of a recluse so I try not to leave my studio to much, i usually work throughout the day and into the evening. I might have a visitor here or there but most of my work is done between midnight and 8 am when there is minimal distraction. 

What are your first memories of being interested in art?  When do you figure this was a path you were going to pursue as your career?

There was never any other option. It's the only think i ever knew i wanted to do. As a kid whenever anyone would ask "What do you want to be when you grow up?" my immediate response was always just "an artist." and then the adult would pat me on the head and say "You poor thing." haha kidding. 

What do you love about living and working in Detroit?  How does the city influence and inspire you?

I moved to Detroit from New York when I was 18 years old, I was this troubled teen who dropped out of highschool and was just lost. Sure i wanted to be an artist but there was no fight in me, Detroit changed all of that. Detroit saved me. The people here saved me. This city lit a fire inside of me, everywhere i turned there was an opportunity to be had. The people here motivated me to work harder. Detroit is home to me, its this comfortable, glorious, chaotic, mess, it's the first place i ever felt like i belonged. 

Where else do your inspiration come from?  How do you develop your ideas?

I never know when inspiration will come. The most torturous time for me is after a big show ends and i try and search for the inspiration for my next body of work. It's something i can never force, it always happens when i least expect it. I have learned to listen to everything and everyone around me. I was having trouble with this new series of paintings and i went across the street to the coney island really late at night to get a snack and one of the cooks there walks over to me and goes "so your an artist? I LOVE art, I really love Patrick Nagel, he's one of my favorites." Although i was familiar with Nagels work i never really gave it much thought, but after hearing what this cook said I walked home and gave Nagel another chance. Fortunately for me, the cook has good taste in art and I can now say that Nagel is large inspiration for this latest body of work.  The second I start thinking that i have it all figured out and stop listening is when i start messing up. Unfortunately words have never been by strong point, thats probably why i am an artist. So when it comes to developing my ideas its a journey that occurs on the canvas and usually doesn't happen with words. 

At what point did you discover your love for working on such a large scale? 

When I was studying at the College For Creative Studies I had this professor Nancy Mitter who was always telling me to paint larger saying "If you want to learn how to paint you need to paint on a large scale."  I hated painting anything larger then 2ftx2ft but she pulled me aside and told me that the next assignment we had I needed to paint large. So i went home cried my way threw stretching this large canvas that was 5ftx6ft and then started painting. And she was right, i learned how to paint throughout that painting. That painting did end up flying off the back of a pickup truck and into a snowbank on my way to class the next week, but it was totally worth it. I never looked back and started paintings on  larger scale after that. 

What music do you get into while you get in to the zone working?

I listen to a wide variety of different music, a lot of my friends are musicians and Im constantly listening to the music they give me. Loco Dice, John Ryan AKA Dr. Disko Dust, Chuck Flask and Keith Kemp, My friend Kevin Callaway is an amazing drummer and he plays on tons of records, hes always sending me new stuff to listen to while I am painting. I like to listen to Motown, its what my dad played in the house when i was growing up. Whenever anyone is over i encourage them to plug in their phone and play something while i work. 

Is there anything coming up you'd like us to know about?  Anything you love that you'd like people to be aware of?

The redbull house of art is having an alumni show, im really excited to be apart of that. Thinkspace is having a show at Inner State gallery, i'm currently working on a piece for that show. And i'm excited for a few collaborations in the works. Im excited to be working with Matthew Franklin Jenkins on some experimental pieces combining his breathtaking photography and my paintings. Summer in Detroit always brings a slew of new projects, i'm looking forward to it. 

Thanks so much to Michelle Tanguay for chatting with us, check out more of her work here.

039 Justin Martin


Fingers on Blast: Your bio references taking on the pots and pans at the age of 2, and then leaning towards djing.  What inspired you between that stage of discovery and the early single 'Sad Piano'?
Justin Martin: Everything! I had a very broad musical background thanks to my parents. I took piano lessons and played the saxophone in many jazz bands growing up, but the majority of my musical influences probably started with my dads record collection. He had everything from classic rock to classical music, and there was always music being blasted in my house on his badass macintosh stereo system which he still has to this day along with an amazing collection of vinyl. I discovered dance music in high school through my older brother christian and once I heard goldie's "timeless" album I knew I wanted to learn to dj. It started as a hobby, turned into an obsession, and by the time a graduated college it was all I could think about pursuing with my life. Music is my passion.
Fingers on Blast: You have a reputation for not taking things too seriously, has that always been the case?  What impact does that have on your music?
Justin Martin: There are certain things that I do take seriously... and having fun is one of those things. Life is short. I am in such an amazing position and feel truly blessed to be doing what I love every single day, so I try and keep a smile on my face and remind myself of how lucky I am. However I take my music very seriously in the sense that I want to provide a quality product for my fans. But at the end of the day it's all about making people smile and dance and enjoy themselves when they come out to see me, so I try and have as much fun as possible because fun is contagious. 
Fingers on Blast: What inspires that outlook?
Justin Martin: My friends, fans, and the people I look up to. I've been a dance music fan for a long time... and some of the most inspiring people for me are people who are not only good at what they do, but nice as well. Grumpy djs, divas, and shit talkers should take a good look at themselves in the mirror and reevaluate their attitudes.. There is no room for that in dance music. We are all in this together. Dance music is one of the most positive forms of escape and we are all lucky to be a part of such a beautiful thing.
Fingers on Blast: What led you to dance music?  definitely my brothers influence. he went off to college and would send me new music he was discovering.
Justin Martin: I remember hearing bjork's "debut" album for the first time and falling in love with the weirdness and funkiness of it. I think goldie was on tour with her so her music was a major gateway because I listened to his album "timeless" and my life was changed.
Fingers on Blast: Have you ever performed at or attended Movement before? yes!
Justin Martin: i have been going to the festival for at least 8 years, and 3 years ago I played and it was a dream come true! so excited to be back!
Fingers on Blast: In your own music the balance between beautiful melodies and hard edged beats is very prominent.  Does that come naturally or is that something that takes daily focus?
Justin Martin: I just try and make stuff that moves me. I was always an intelligent drum and bass fan long before I really got into house music, and I loved the contrast between light and dark. Beautiful melodies mixed with lethal basslines... I want to make music that you can still listen to off the dance floor, but that will still rumble sound systems. I try and take a new approach to every song I do, I don't ever want to be pigeonholed into as certain sound or genre, I'd rather keep the lines blurred and keep pushing my sound further. So I just go into the studio and have fun and try to keep it fresh.
Fingers on Blast: How does your solo work differ from the Martin Brothers music?
Justin Martin: When christian and I worked together our stuff is very hip hop influenced. we have always been inspired by the bay area hyphy beats of artists like 'E-40' and "the pack" so our music together usually has that vibe initially, but again we never know whats gonna happen when we get together to make music and the results are always different. It's just fun working with someone who brings a different and cool vibe to the studio. 
Fingers on Blast: Who are you looking forward to seeing at Movement?

Justin Martin: I may be biased towards my dirtybird gang, but every time I have seen Claude Von Stroke play there its the most insane shit ever. Also Green Velvet! He is such a legend! He has been consistently killing it for longer than anyone and he is such an awesome guy!

Check out more from Justin Martin here and get your tickets to Movement Festival here!