by Bridget O'Reilly
I can't believe that it has been one year since Jennifer and I took a trip to Detroit, Michigan to meet with artist and scent branding expert Doug Schwartz at his business Detroitwick. Located in the city's Eastern Market (known as a “Playground for Adults”), Detroitwick is close to colorful murals, one of a kind food selections, and cutting edge restaurants.
While Doug's company primarily focuses on scent branding, what caught our eye were the large lucite sculptures that encapsulate floating bullet casings and firearms. As a partner of Raise the Caliber®, a national advocacy campaign to end illegal gun violence in America, Doug donates a percentage of the proceeds from each SHREDS® piece to the victims, families, and communities affected by illegal gun violence.
Instead of glorifying guns, Doug sees this as an awareness project by putting the weapons forward as objects of contemplation. It is fair to say that the story behind these artistically designed objects is part of the story of Detroit itself.
After Jennifer and I brought some of the Detroit-based artist's SHREDS® sculptures to an art fair in New York last summer, we've maintained contact with Doug ever since. When I saw that he is in an exhibition with another Raise The Caliber® artist this month via Instagram, I emailed him to discuss the beauty he continues to create and grow in Detroit.
What makes Detroit beautiful?
I think the people, the pride and the personality.
What are the advantages and disadvantages as an artist in Detroit/Midwest?
I think the perception that other cities like LA, NYC produce better creatives. On the flip side, Detroit is so organic and has such an amazing history of home grown artists.
How do you use social media to promote Detroit?
I just document my daily story both personal & business on all my platforms.
What is the most surprising thing you’ve been told about Detroit?
That you can buy every house for $1 - 5,000. Smh.
What is Detroitwick?
Detroitwick is an experience. I focus on hitting all 6 senses when you walk through the door whether or know it or not.
Creating scents is another form of aesthetic appreciation. How did you get started with scent branding?I saw a unique opportunity in being able to help brands/company (both small and large) a creative way to add sensory branding to whatever their current marketing platform is.
I think the singular most beautiful result is that we collectively (through our art, initiative and passion) help with awareness and do a part in taking illegal and unregistered guns off the streets.
-- Doug Schwartz
You are located in Detroit’s Eastern Market. Tell me about the changes you have seen in this community.
So many independents are opening businesses from art to retail to restaurant.
We love your project that contributes to the Caliber Foundation. What are some of the beautiful results of those projects?
There are many layers to our #raisethecaliber national activation. I think the singular most beautiful result is that we collectively (through our art, initiative, and passion) help with awareness and do a part in taking illegal and unregistered guns off the streets.
Currently, Doug is working on a new collection for Art Basel 2017 and building out a gallery style, lower level SHREDS® room, (an exclusive collection of over 400 shredded guns/parts from our buybacks) for private showings only. I recommend following Doug on Instagram (@detroitwick) so see how he documents not only the beauty he creates every day but the unexpected beauty in Detroit.