Monday, July 11, 2011


Architecture + reusing + creative recycling = what I love. A local artist Michael Dion mixes those ingredients together to create some interesting art. He calls himself Mr.M80 and he’s been doing it for a while now. Never to step foot into an abandoned house nor to take away from the exterior architecture Dion strictly keeps to the curbside wherever he goes. Door knockers, doll heads, tanning goggles, and old spoons come together to create his art.

LindO took a little trip to the Russell Bazaar in Detroit where Dion has his studio. I greeted him with an antique bulb digger and you could see his mind working the second he laid eyes on it, "this is a good mouth. Those are hard to find." A mouth. Yes of course. That’s what I thought too. Not really but when he said it it made sense.

We walked down the corridor to his spot and he has a pretty good collection of old wooden doors outside his actual door. Many have layers of paint peeling off in a nice antique way. I offered to take some off his hands if he ever needs to get rid of them (they would make really cool tables or backdrops just hanging side by side on a wall). His studio is a gallery in front with a nice show of his work and for a collector of "stuff" his studio is surprisingly neat and organized. The magic happens in the back where he has a worktable and his tools. He let us look around, ask some questions, and take some photos of his work. There is a lot to take in. Many things someone may never look twice at have a home in his art. I picture his studio turning into a grittier version of Toy Story where the art work comes to life after he leaves. I wonder if he ever notices anything out of place…

Dion also paints on some of his found pieces. He has an interesting technique using layers of paint and a razor to produce a negative image on glass (no Detroit jokes necessary). The way the light shines through a variety of paint thicknesses gives the piece some depth (which would read better if the photo was taken with a real camera - sorry).

Mr.M80 Michael Dion can now be found at the RustBelt in Ferndale. You’ll know he’s there if you see a pickup in the parking lot loaded with found objects. Hard to miss. Follow him on Twitter and check out more of his work on
Michael Dion himself

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