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RE: The Black Experience in Graphic Design

michael cousins

The author of a 30-year-old Print article on diversity, Cheryl D. Holmes-Miller, surveys the industry in our summer 2016 issue to see who is designing the solution to a problem that continues to this day. Here, we dig into the Print archives to share the articles that started the conversation. For more, visit


Tokenism is still the order of the day in the graphic arts industry (having replaced a routine refusal or a smiling “I’ll call you”). However, there are signs that conditions are changing: advertising agencies in particular show a greater willingness to open up their bullpens to more black designers..

There are certainly many more black art directors in agencies now than there were five or ten years ago. Then, there were so few that their numbers were statistically insignificant. Today, black designers constitute perhaps one or two per cent of the total—not exactly an overwhelming percentage READ MORE

Oakland Artist Avenue Coalition

michael cousins

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The Oakland Avenue Artists of Coalition (OAAC) is a grassroots community organization whose mission is to serve as a catalyst for the transformation of Oakland Avenue into the [Detroit] North End’s art corridor. The corridor will feature a public art park and continuous performing arts events at varying locations along the avenue. MORE


michael cousins

Hubert Massey is a Michigan artist who works in a variety of media to create large public art installations. Massey is noted for collaborating with communities to create art that tell their stories. His installations can be seen in Detroit at the Museum of African American History, Paradise Valley Park and Campus Martius. 


michael cousins


By the time he graduated high school in 2008, Smith had been diagnosed with epilepsy and his mother had lost her job, prompting him to opt out of further pursuing art school. But he continued to create, right from his living room.

The following January, Smith and Silva drew a portrait of Barack Obama and went door to door around their neighborhood selling copies. Noting the positive response, they traveled to Washington, D.C. and sold the portrait to attendants at the inaugural address. 

Smith says he is devoted to creating art that is heavily inspired by entertainment (primarily music and comedy), women and black culture. Smith says the presence of black culture in his work serves as a form of self-expression and education. Read more via his site

Revision Path: Jonathan Key

michael cousins


"The conversation covers why it’s important for artists and designers to be involved with social issues, and from there talked about his time at Brown University and RISD and how those experiences shaped his current work. He also mentioned the design work he’s doing in the black LGBT community and talked about the artists and designers who influence his work." Listen now

Going to MECCA?

michael cousins

MECCA stands for the Midwest Ethnic Convention for Comics and Arts, and will be held at the Detroit Public Library September 17, bringing together creators from the fields of comics, film, art, and music for a gathering of like minds in independent storytelling and new narratives.

If you want to hear creators talk about the impact of black characters and how to do representation right for various cultures in comics, there's a panel for that, lead by comics and film creator Tony Patrick. He'll also be presenting his new film, "Black Card," for the first time in Detroit, which stars Detroit-native Simone Missick (Misty Knight in the upcoming Luke Cage Netflix series), Dorian Missick (Saving Private Ryan) and Hiram Tawfiq (The Blacklist).

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