Friday, February 15, 2008

Katherine Leisen

Grocery Store, 2008
Watercolor & mixed media

Detroit is a notorious topic. It is easy to dismiss its popularity as appealing to one’s morbid sense of curiosity, but I think the attraction also stems from an excitement generated by the unknown.

For many people, the disparity between Detroit’s land space and its population produces a sense of confusion. The vast gaps between neighborhoods are often filled with waist-high grass housing pheasants. These pastoral scenes are sandwiched between building and sidewalk rubble and liquor stores.

It is strange to live in a place more discussed than lived in. I have lived in Detroit as an adult for almost five years. It surprises me to write that. I suppose I live in Detroit because I feel comfortable here, but I certainly don’t mind the cheap rent.

No one cares what you do here. Depending on your attitude that is either a nightmare or a rare invitation to experiment.

My list of Likes that is pertinent to Detroit:

I like things that don’t make sense.
I like the open spaces here that force me to think and breathe, despite the incinerator.
I like seeing the unexpected beauty.
I like characters.
I like absurdity, and I laugh when things feel true.
I like saying hi to people on the street.

What a weird city this is. Is this a small rural town? Is this an industrial capital?
The city changes its clothes every time I look around.

I once described living here as being “a very internal experience.”

I think that’s still true.
– February 2008

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