Step Inside the Intimate World of Detroit Artist - Michael Keum

IAfter being surrounded by city culture for years, Detroit artist Michael Keum began to form the subject matter for his style. The online dating scene became the catalyst that drove him to create more and more art.

Michael Keum's passion for art wasn't recognized until he found himself at a crossroad.


He was several months into working a job in statistics when he became unsatisfied with his surroundings and knew a change needed to occur. So he returned to school but this time his education was focused on fine art. Outside of his drawing classes at The San Francisco Art Institute he spent countless hours teaching himself about graphic design and digital art. 


"I was never really inspired by a specific person or thing I saw. My enjoyment of looking at art drew me in. The thought of making something that can cause an emotion or change in someone is so powerful."



When his time at school was finished he felt a strong desire to contribute to the art scene back home in Michigan rather than stay in San Francisco. 


"The art scene is beautiful in the Bay Area, but I wanted to contribute to Detroit in some way and connect with the people here. The city has something that can’t be replicated. A sense of history that can’t be uprooted, a culture that refuses to be overtaken, a community that will do anything to keep it's way. That is something I can really connect with."


Looking at his work for the first time, Keum often focuses on provoking feelings of intimacy with his viewers. On some occasions he'll create a piece depicting a more melancholy mood. Regardless of the subject-matter, he aims to make it easily understandable yet powerful to the audience. 




Although the artist is quite comfortable working on canvas and well versed in creating art from wood, he frequently uses a digital platform as part of a bigger expression. One day it dawned on him, it started as a simple idea but gave a greater purpose to the meaning behind his work. 


"As a young person, living in a large city, I saw people always finding “love” or “hook ups” online and that loss of intimacy was strange to me. The idea of disregarding all of things that people used to do because it was as easy as an internet app to find these things. So I decided to draw these moments of intimacy but capture the degradation of these situations through a digital platform, which is the platform I feel real intimacy was lost on."






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