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."






  • Augusta

    Can you change color of his full name to different such as cobalt blue not keep as red?
    For Asian that red color on name means -Death.
    For accounting red means-lose
    Red color for Asian can be used for Happiness or Fortune however not on Names nor Numbers
    I read this artist’s work is based on Korean Wood Block then I wonder if you can show little bit of Korean culture to show change Color of name as Cobalt Blue or Blue.
    I maybe wrong again changing color of name but please other than red. No yellow. :) no white. White in white wouldn’t work. What about Green plus dark Blue color? Too much to ask? Then just black. Same as all letters showing. Just small request to reflect this artist is not Dead nor minus in his life. That’s all.
    Love all artist work on this webpage amazing talents in one place. How did you get all talents like this in one place?

  • Jean

    Someone’s worthless Ego killed whole library filled with great Words written as ash.
    One person’s ego killed off real human works. Nero. One person, single person with low self esteem killed many.
    Dostoyevsky ran off with someone’s wife also without paying his dues such as Socrates.
    In the end Socrates had enough so he took poison to end his life.
    Goethe wrote young guys love toward LOTTE. Napoleon carries that book inside his chest while he was on the way to war with Russians in bitter winter time.
    What do we care?
    It should be human first not things.
    Human. Being human takes and keeping human as human take first place before anything else.
    Let’s be civilized.
    Meaning. Not a rules but understanding.
    What would proceed my desire before someone’s livelihood?
    Someone’s life before my desires.
    To save life one dies sometimes without knowing.
    Think positive during this pandemic we are in.
    Do things what makes you happy would not be complaining.
    Be constructive.
    Be happy by being civilized and be kind.
    Without book written as that “pure soul” that doesn’t know any harms nor ugliness of human hearts.
    Keep those safe.
    Without something pure or want to stay pure as authentic as it can be we loose focus what we are fighting for.
    Love of Family, neighbor and enemy(who we dot have).
    Thank you so much again sharing arts in public platform.
    Without Art human can. It exist.
    We are also created by many different creators.
    Love starts from me. Without loving yourself and be kind to yourself can not be recognized as who you are.
    Love yourself. Love yourself properly.
    When you love yourself properly you just don’t have time to dislike anyone.
    I should practice this more often.
    I like that “how to cheat” painting.
    Once I googled that because I didn’t know how to cheat my husband. And those writings by others was horrifying
    However Donald Duck anything that is pure hearted is possible.
    He had a pure dynamic temper but he has a pure heart. He is the best uncle to have. Colorful one. That blue on him drew me.
    Keep on painting and creating.
    Time spent with art is better than time wasted to think of unseen ugliness of human hearts.


  • Jean

    Someone who loved dearly can imagine what is real love is. One who is unable to receive love properly never learns to love anyone or anything. Thank you for sharing your art with public website. Your generosity shows each stoke of your hands loving touch. Intense love many of your work. Without that intensity how we can express love itself? Again thank you for sharing something so refined of your artistic views and expressions in this medium you used to express human love.

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