Thursday, July 30, 2015

Meet Michelle Tanguay

Photo from

Ever since I was 13 I have been involved in the local music scene.  I didn't meet my friends in high school, I met them after the bell rang in bars, venues, VFW halls, and basements while watching bands from all over come to the city of Detroit to play. The people I met slowly became my "family". The Detroit music community was one of the most tight knit groups around, until it wasn't. Over the last decade I have noticed a real change in the way that the community supports and treats each other, it was a large part of the reason that I wanted to be part of, my dream is for shows to feel like hanging out with family again and I think I figured out what is missing thanks to Michelle Tanguay.
Michelle is a local artist and painter that I have been "following" online for a few years. Her work is amazing, beautiful and inspiring. You may have seen one of her pieces and not even know it. She collaborated with a few other artists to make a billboard for Sierra Mist, she painted for the Detroit Redbull Creation project, she has an installation up at Complex MI, and she had some of her work featured at Electirc Forest, just to name a few. She is easily one of the most talented creatives that Detroit has ever seen.

Christie and I went to Michelle's studio to see where she works, see some of the current projects that she was working on, and to hear her story. I walked out of the interview glowing with inspiration. Michelle's life force is as amazing as her painting and sketches are.
Michelle moved to Michigan from upstate New York when she was only 17 years old. She was already an artist and a painter and she came here to start her career. She fell in love with Detroit and decided that this is where she was going to put down her roots. She attended CCS, and moved into the Bankle Building where she shares an art space with her mentor Camilo Pardo. She works on her art almost 24 hours a day and art is her life. She talks it, breaths it, and gets reinvigorated and inspired by it everyday. Her drive and zest for life are almost airborne when you are around her.
We talked to Michelle in depth about the growing Detroit art scene. I wanted to know why she thought it was booming and prospering here in Detroit and why the community was so close. She explained to me that the art community of Detroit works together, they collaborate and they support each other. She talked about having other artists up to her space to collaborate on a project or a painting and she talked in depth about what The Red Bull House of Art has done to help the community move forward. She links up with a lot of the artists that come through there and they help each other by inspiring each other, challenging each other, and supporting each other. Detroit has become a mecca for art and artists and I truly believe this idea of working together and collaborating is the key to its success.
Which leads me to my first point. Detroit used to be a tight knit music community. We used to help each other out. And, I think all we need to do is learn from the Detroit art scene and reconnect and start to build a family again. We can all help each other create, push ourselves and bring back the collaborative community that we need to help us all thrive. We need to take a cue for the blossoming art community in this city and unite to make sure that the Detroit music scene doesn't just fade away. We will do a lot more if we work together. Let's attend each other's shows, let's collaborate on songs, on booking shows, on promoting shows, etc.!
Michelle is by far one of the most talented and creative people we have ever had the pleasure of meeting. We highly suggest you start following her for yourself and make sure to attend her next show. In the meantime check out the interview that we did. This was filmed inside her space in the Bankle Building just a few weeks ago. Thanks for the inspiration, we needed it!


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