On a Quest with Sanda Cook

"Soul Retrieval" (2014) by Sanda Cook.

“Soul Retrieval” (2014) by Sanda Cook.

About an hour into the “Quest 4 Visions” opening, red dots sprinkled the collection of Sanda Cook at the Pittman-Puckett Gallery in Ferndale. “Starscape” grabbed my attention instantly on the eastern wall but I wanted to follow the hypnotic effect of her work in numerical order. I also didn’t want to interrupt her interview with Steve Lloyd so I started with the western wall.

Allusions to graffiti and collaging felt most prominent in “Protection” but light and layering bound together Cook’s engagement with experiences of emotional and astrological sorts. “Soul Retrieval” was a gripping example of how curiously she characterized her observations of people. Variations of human shapes and landscapes left little room to inaccurately predict the success of the Romanian artist’s exhibit.

"Galleon" (2014) by Sanda Cook.

“Galleon” (2014) by Sanda Cook.

The western wall hosted larger pieces of equally expressive magnitude. “Galleon” delivered solemn emotions where red slashes forged a macabre naval craft. “Love Letter” entertained issues of distraction and clarity when unveiling a message of value. Perhaps for this reason, it resembled the troublesome fuzziness of images of dated televisions when their antennas were improperly coordinated.

In the midst of observing “Cosmos” I met Skip Davis and photographer/potter Rose Lewandowski who appreciated a co-design I donned by Randal Jacobs. Before and after years of neglecting her imaginative self for the sake of motherhood, honing her craft in pottery and image making came with a natural purity. She met Cook at a show in March of 2014 and they have since fueled each other’s creative fervor. After flipping through a few pages of Lewandowski’s portfolio, Cook greeted me with jubilance and I held no restriction of praising her visual assortment but focused particular attention to “Starscape.”

"Starscape" (2014) by Sanda Cook.

“Starscape” (2014) by Sanda Cook.

The image was already sold by the time we stood in front of it but I learned the starry sky came to life with an unintended but perfect speckling of paint. As we moved to the smaller pieces on the western wall, she introduced me to painter Jon McCahill whose work I recognized from a summer show at Whitdel Arts. We spoke of academic and self-taught approaches in finding one’s voice then quickly realized similarities in our processes of making art.

Steve Lloyd interviewing Sanda Cook for her opening at Pittman-Puckett Gallery.

Steve Lloyd interviewing Sanda Cook for her opening at Pittman-Puckett Gallery.

As the night continued, a bit of dancing broke out before Linda and Don Mendelson arrived and Lewandowski returned to snapping photographs and sharing her portfolio. As we carried on, it was indisputable how Sanda Cook’s fascination with human contact and universal forces influenced immense livelihood. This was even more evident in her interactions with everyone whom she graciously thanked for basking in the ambience of her cosmic love.


Matchless Virility

Models for Savvy Gents in the Eastern Market.

Models for Savvy Gents in the Eastern Market.

In the midst of fine housewares and women’s clothing of Savvy Chic, the new menswear department called Savvy Gents boasted a penchant for catalytic styling by Randal Jacobs. The recent opening festivities offered clothing and accessories as well as grooming products, hors d’oeuvres and beverages lending to Jacobs’ vision of masculinity.

In preparation for the opening in Eastern Market, Jacobs channeled his model management days in London and Milan by recruiting gentlemen whom he crossed paths in Detroit befitting the aesthetic of Savvy Gents. One model accompanied his mother while she was shopping at Savvy Chic when he was approached by Jacobs to help inaugurate the department as a model. There was also a yoga educator, photographer, law clerk, disc jockey, and lively Detroit resident who donned unique ensembles, which blended gender norms and stimulated conversations.

While clothing is a significant facet of one’s style, grooming plays an equally important role in the theatrics of personal presentation. This was reiterated by the presence of the Detroit Beard Collective at Savvy Gents’ affair, which sparked much enthusiasm about the evolution and popularity of beard maintenance. The creator’s infectious energy about quality and adaptability struck a chord of positivity regarding a shift in Detroit’s influence on style.

I met Jacobs at the recent opening of Bask’s highly anticipated return to Detroit after two years. That same weekend, I stumbled upon the Detroit Beard Collective at the Sunday Street Market. Little did I know how quickly we would all cross paths to participate in the city’s matchless virility.

Guests endlessly celebrating the beginning of Savvy Gents at Savvy Chic.