Building the Next Generation of Creative Geniuses with the Man in the City

Being creative souls, we are always drawn to projects and clients that embody an artistic spirit and have a positive impact on the youth of our community. So, when we were connected to renowned artist John Sauve to help bring his youth creative arts program to life, it was an immediate “Yes!”

Not familiar with Sauve and his work? Chances are you’ve seen his legendary Man in the City art installations around the city of Detroit atop most of the iconic buildings. Perched on the rooftops akin to Batman, these orange silhouette men not only overlook the world happening below, but immediately draw the spectator’s eye heavenward to see the beautiful and often ornate architecture our city has to offer. It’s an art piece that inspires those to explore the other art in our surroundings — a beacon for the imaginative history that built this city of innovation centuries ago. Sauve’s installations have been so successful that the Man in the City has been popping up in other municipalities including Chicago, Traverse City and many more.

In keeping with art that enhances other art, Sauve and his non-profit organization, the Sauve Art Foundation, wanted to find an outlet to help build a new generation of artists. He created a traveling arts program that visits schools that may have little or no opportunity for art education. The program then provides real-world creative opportunities for students of all ages.

Sauve came to the CG Detroit team to help convert a former FedEx truck into this gallery on wheels. The team worked with Sauve and fellow artist and automotive designer Brook Banham to wrap the truck in bold orange and black using Banham’s design. The age and wear of the truck provided some challenges, but our expert installers and graphics team were able to seamlessly produce an incredible finished product.

The truck made its debut at the annual Middlecott SketchBattle Experiment in January 2018. Known as the Fight Club of Design, this battle of best-in-class automotive and student designers was the perfect venue for the truck’s premiere. Founded by Banham, the sketchbattle has become one of the most talked about, craziest events of Auto Show week. Made and founded in Detroit, the event has gained so much attention that various auto shows around the world are vying for a competition in their market.

The CG team, in partnership with our sister company the JRT agency, sponsored the event and JRT’s Chief Creative Officer Terry Ayrault served as Ring Master and emcee. A number of our team members were on-hand for the big night, cheering on our favorite artists as they passed through elimination rounds and into the final sketch-off.

Next up, the Man in the City truck was on display at this year’s Autorama. Sauve has been working closely with first through sixth graders at the Center for Success to create a student art exhibit and held a reception on-site at Cobo on Friday, March 2, 2018. Each week, Sauve works with the students and their mentors to help them create their own canvas-painted interpretation of the Man in the City silhouette. The inventive interpretations each student has created are phenomenal. Some have chosen to work in an abstract form, some have chosen to use the man as an opportunity to create elaborate fashion designs, some have paid homage to our favorite superheroes, but all have shown inspiration.

Members of our CG team have volunteered time to visit with the students and help as they create their masterpieces. We are also in conversation to create a larger event in support of the Center for Success in the spring, working with other creative partners who work with the program.

As Sauve grows his mobile education studio, we hope to have the opportunity to work with additional emerging talents across all artistic media. We look forward to and hope for a day where we have the opportunity to wrap an entire fleet of Man in the City trucks to bring creative education on an epic scale to students in our region and beyond.