(All images by ExcuseMySarcasm, reproduced with permission)
Is Object Orange still ongoing? For those who don’t know, it began as a project called “Detroit. Demolition. Disneyland.” which saw a collective of local artists draw attention to abandoned buildings by painting them ‘Tiggerific Orange’, a colour manufactured by Behr and readily available from The Home Depot.
Viewed as vandals by the Detroit Mayor’s office, the artists’ colourful approach forced people to take notice of the city’s many abandoned buildings, framing them within Detroit’s broader visual and social landscape and questioning the city’s motivations for demolishing or ignoring them.
As Thrive Movement noted, Detroit had over 7,000 abandoned buildings after the turn of the millenium, only 2,000 of which were scheduled for demolition. But what about the remainder? Were they to linger on indefinitely in their derelict state, a haven for drug addicts, and a danger to the children who played within them?
In a statement published by The Detroiter, Object Orange speculated that by painting two dilapidated houses (demolished shortly thereafter) Tiggerific Orange, the city had finally taken notice. The Mayor’s office, meanwhile, stated that the demolitions were coincidental.
In their statement, the artists said: “Our goal is to make everyone look at not only these houses, but all the buildings rooted in decay and corrosion. If we can get people to look for our orange while driving through the city, then they will, at the same time, be looking at all the decaying buildings they come across. This brings awareness. And as we have already seen, awareness brings action.”
Colourful urban art or catalyst for social change? You decide. But as Object Orange pointed out: “If you stumble upon one of these houses colored with Tiggeriffic Orange, stop and really look. In addition to being highlights within a context of depression, every detail is accentuated through the unification of color. Broken windows become jagged lines. Peeling paint becomes texture. These are artworks in themselves.”