The Creative Endeavors Thread Thumbs Its Way North

This is the space for our members to discuss and share their creative projects, ranging from written works to drawings, photography, and even craft projects such as knitting and woodworking. Self promotion is welcome (websites where we can view and/or purchase your work). Please do continue to preface if content is NSFW and be sure to properly spoiler/link such content.

A terracotta dog from the Colima culture of modern-day Mexico (c. 100-250 CE) scratches itself

As some may know, I spent last Tuesday visiting Flint, Michigan. My biggest (poorly-timed) resolution for 2020 was to see more of Michigan and being a confirmed pedestrian/cyclist can make that difficult (to say nothing of the pandemic, which might have sent said resolution sailing down the shitter had I not been an enthusiastic biker). So, three days into the year, I decided to get ’23 rolling early and took four separate (and fairly enjoyable!) bus journeys to get back and forth from Ann Arbor to Flint (with Detroit layovers of varying lengths).

Goya’s The Death of Saint Joseph (1787)

While I wanted to see the city itself, my main object was the Flint Institute of Arts, widely (and paradoxically) considered a hidden jewel even if it happens to be the second-biggest art museum in Michigan. I was intrigued by the rumor of their excellent Baroque-adjacent collection (including a Goya) and—though I’m not quite the target audience for the latter anymore—a wide-ranging temporary exhibition on fantasy art and illustration from (more or less) the nineteenth century to the present (I wanted to make sure I caught it before it left, as it ended Sunday).

Paul Jenkins’ Phenomena Forking Paths (1967-68)

As it turned out, the Baroque-adjacent collection wasn’t as impressive as I’d hoped (despite the welcome discovery of a piece by Elisabetta Sirani) but that scarcely mattered as I was gleefully astonished at the depth of their more modern collections; not only were the rich colors and fluid brushwork right up my alley, but it felt like every other artist was completely unknown to me, which was great (maybe the single biggest silver lining of getting into visual art over the past near-decade has been an ongoing independent seminar in art history, which shows no signs of slowing—or ending).

The Renaissance furniture showcase that’s apparently a local cultural staple

The fantasy exhibit was well worth seeing; classic illustrations by masters like Howard Pyle and N.C. Wyeth vied with the postwar genre explosion as Frank Frazetta and Boris Vallejo hijacked the nation’s bookcovers. One particular highlight was an (the?) original painting by Michael Whelan for Brandon Sanderson’s The Way of Kings (pictured in header); I’ve never read any Sanderson (probably giving him a run this year) but that particular image seems to have become surprisingly ubiquitous in my imagination as a shorthand for modern fantasy. It was all capped off by a wealth of original paintings in a variety of media, some of which had been used for publication and others simply marinating in the same sauce.

N.C. Wyeth’s Bruce on the Beach (1921)

My one regret was conditional; I wasn’t sure how much time it would take to see downtown (or however much I could manage) and so I left without exploring the ceramics and glasswork collection beyond a cursory examination. I don’t have much interest in the latter, but the eye-popping settings and colorful pieces may play a role in changing this; it looked amazing and I really should have snapped a few of my own images to show off here. I definitely plan on returning when the weather’s nicer (the day of my visit—even given its unseasonal warmth—was almost fiendishly fit as a stereotypical background for Flint’s well-known problems, both past and present) and hope to give the whole place a much more proper visit.

Magic: The Gathering master Rebecca Leveille-Guay’s Angel of Dreams

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