Multimedia artist expands with ‘Suddle Creations’
By Donald Barnes
Special to the Michigan Citizen
A true artist must complement their thorough knowledge of their craft while adapting to new ways of creating with the ever-changing technology of the day.
Urban artist Nivek Monet, owner of the art gallery Suddle Creations, is a prime example of being able to evolve as an artist. Born and raised on Detroit’s east side, Monet learned how to draw at the age of six. “I remember sitting down drawing with my grandmother, that’s how my named turned into Nivek,” Monet said.
Monet, whose birth name is Kevin, says he wasn’t quick to realize his passion at such an early age. His grandmother’s witty idea of spelling his first name backward as an artist tag didn’t resonate with him until years after high school.
“I didn’t come back to art until I was 21,” Monet told the Michigan Citizen. “I didn’t even think to ask my grandmother how she came up with the moniker. It was useless until I turned 21.” He says of his grandmother, “I think she just had great insight, me and my granny had a great relationship.”
Although Monet says he didn’t take art seriously in his early years, he kept his skills sharp throughout middle school and high school by creating comic books with original characters and making papier-mâché. Monet’s career would take an upward turn soon after his decision to take art seriously. An opportunity from a former job led him to mural painter Hurbert Massey whose work is displayed all over the city. Massey became Monet’s mentor, inspiring Monet to expand his craft.
“When I met him, my studying continued,” Monet said. “At this point in time, I’m getting into oil paintings which I said I’d never do because it seemed messy to me. (Working with Massey), I figured out that I could make what the airbrush does with oil paint.”
Monet says using the airbrush during that time period was normal for newer artist.
“I was looking to use the airbrush as my way,” he said. “When I figured out I could manipulate the oil paint to look like airbrush but yet give people the technique of a brush stroke, I was able to turn into a fine artist.”
Shortly after, Monet began doing murals himself, starting with painting a mural at Plaka Café in Greektown. He was given an opportunity to paint Vandenberg Elementary’s library, located in Southfield. The principal enjoyed Monet’s work so much, he asked him to do the bathroom ceilings as well.
Monet says he enjoyed the success of painting murals until 2007. “Murals kind of went dry after that point,” he said. “Digital really kicked in; people started catching onto that. Where you can get this unique mural painting, you can also get somebody to draw a picture and have it uniquely blown up into a mural.”
Monet uses the title “multimedia artist.” It describes the new inventive ways of making art that are introduced every 10 years or so, he says. Monet must stay relevant as an artist and there is no better way to do so outside of learning new equipment and techniques.
“My new work today is adapting. One way I’ve adapted is I’m always open to improvisation, the art of improvising is a major piece today,” he said. “I’m working with my fluidity and going with the flow.”
Monet currently is working on a new technique of art that infuses paintings and human body art painting with nightclubs. “Everyone paints nowadays — it’s like ‘what do you do in today’s time to make what you do exciting?’” he said.
In what seems to be an ordinary night for most, Monet shows up to a bar or lounge with a model who is dressed down but painted from head to toe under her clothing.
Usually, someone who works with the club allows him to set up his images somewhere in the room through a projector.
After everything is set up, the model undresses in front of the projected painting and begins a ritual dance; giving the illusion that a naked woman is climbing out of the image. “The whole idea is when I flash the image up on the projector, she gets excited and aroused by the images of herself,” Monet said. “She gets into it and before you know it she pulls her dress off. To everybody else she looks naked, by that time we have the whole bar tuned in. It’s really amazing.”
Aside from his creative art ventures, Monet host art parties at the Suddle Creations Gallery. The parties are intended for people with no art experience, it allows participants to create a meaningful art piece with friends or companions with Monet’s overseeing help.
The themes include couple’s night out, birthday parties, girl’s night out and team building.
For more information on Nivek Monet and the Suddle Creations Gallery, visit www.nivekmonet.com or call at 313.300.9980.