Cedric Tai: Visual Artist, Art Educator, and 2009 Kresge Fellow. You can check out Cedric’s “Make Brixels” Project this week during Art X Detroit, a five-day multidisciplinary celebration that will exclusively present newly commissioned works created by the 2008 – 2010 Kresge Eminent Artists and Artists Fellows.
High School: Northville High
College: Michigan State University
How he’s making his mark on the city of Detroit:
Cedric Tai has a studio practice in the Russell Industrial Center, and volunteers as a contributor for The Detroiter and as an educator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit. Through his various works, Cedric helps to promote Detroit’s burgeoning arts community. But he’s not one to brag, ”I just know that this city enables me to be able to feel like I can make art everyday or talk with interesting people everyday”, he says.
On how he accomplished his goals:
I’m being charged with inspiring, but in terms of things I like to do for the art community in Detroit, it’s really an indirect form of professional development. But it’s also really fun for me personally.
Why Cedric chooses to stay:
Funny how I can’t help but think that this question suggests that people normally leave Detroit… I’m in Detroit because this is all I know how to do, it sure helps that my parents live in Plymouth so I’ve technically got like two safety nets. My other safety net is my teaching certificate. Many people in this city don’t have any.
On his favorite things about Detroit:
I like that besides the casinos, nothing really looks overtly commercialized. Someone once said that Detroit visually is like looking at an archeological slice of a place, you can see the history in the buildings from the 20s that may have gotten torn down otherwise, things like that are really gems here. I like that because we lack the kind of art market that other major cities have, I notice a kind of camaraderie amongst the artists here, but then again a lot of the artists I like here came from Kansas City and other cities before they settled in Detroit.
On what he wishes you knew about Detroit:
This interview is attempting to market and promote Detroit as if it were a commodity, however Detroit is not a product! Community is not a product. It’s a place full of history, that cannot be summed up in our soundbites about Detroit revitalization through the arts. I think we need to have more critical discussions about what art revitalization in Detroit really means and what we really are implying when we say we want to bolster ‘the community’.
On future plans:
Teaching at CCS! It’s the best thing that could have possibly come to me at this point in my life. I’m ready to research new possibilities for work and create an amazing environment for me and other students to push what we know and what we do.
Cedric’s words of wisdom:
You should be doing it wherever you are! I believe that being good at what you do and feeling lucky that you are able to do it is a privilege and I wish that more people could just simply chase their dreams and do what they want to do everyday. It’s really important to try as hard as we can to not lose focus if we are able to find our ‘calling’ and it really doesn’t have to be in Detroit honestly, we have a lot of artists, a lot of talent and we like when people are passionate and care share that with others. Who knows it might indirectly help Detroit!
Visuals by Stephen McGee for Art X Detroit: Kresge Arts Experience.