Thursday, September 27, 2007

Lowell Boileau

Open House
48 x 78
Acrylic on Canvas [Micropointillist]

“Open House” is a possibilist painting of the William Livingstone House which stood a little more than 2 blocks from the Intersection of Woodward and Martin Luther King. The house is renowned for being the first design by a young [soon to be superstar architect] Albert Kahn. Built in 1893, its existence came to an end on September 15, 2007, by coincidence the very same day the painting “Open House” was completed. The name ‘Open House’ contains a double entendre. In the painting, guests arrive at an illumined open house party. The accompanying printout of the house in its last days shows the 114 year old Livingstone House ripped wide open by the forces of nature and the results or a poorly executed attempt to move the house in the 1990’s. Its sagging turret earned it the name “Slumpy” by the Detroit community of urban photographers.

The progress of the micropointillist acrylic painting of “Open House” with pictures of the various stages of its painting is blogged and available for viewing at

In its existence the Livingstone House encompassed many aspects of the Woodward and Martin Luther King over time. In its early days it was the gilded age home of a Detroit luminary and the first project designed by Albert Kahn who would go on to international fame and to become the most influential architect of his generation. As the city of Detroit grew rapidly at the dawn of the automobile age, the formerly exclusive Brush Park district declined into decay and abandonment. The Livingstone House, like many others around it, was converted into a multiple unit rooming house, then finally abandoned. In its sad closing days, its pathetic and sagging façade became an attraction to photographers, who dubbed it “Slumpy”, and a symbol of both the problems and possibilities a reviving Detroit offered. 

Today like the Intersection, much of Brush Park is reviving and many of its former mansions are being restored. Unfortunately “Slumpy” did not make the cut, but its memory will continue in hundreds of pictures on the internet and with the painting “Open House”.

Lowell Boileau: Fine Art Painter and Website Artist

Detroit artist Lowell Boileau is a self-learned painter and website artist.

Boileau is has been awarded three Michigan Creative Artist Grants, the Arts Midwest NEA Grant for painting and an Arts America International Grant. He has been a guest lecturer at the University of Michigan, Burg Giebichenstein - University of Art and Design in Halle, Germany, Wayne State University and Youngstown State University. He was a guest artist at the international art colony of Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart and the Literatur Werkstatt in Berlin. Boileau’s artwork has been profiled in Wired magazine, The New York Times, The Detroit Free Press, The Detroit News, Detroit Metro Times, Stuttgarter Zeitung and Stuttgarter Nachtrichten, City Arts Review, and Solidarity magazine.

In collaboration with fellow artist Stephen Goodfellow he helped develop the micropointillist painting technique whereby brightly colored and luminescent paintings are created using only the three primary colors of yellow, red and blue. The artists and their technique are presented in a 1983 documentary on their art and the micropointillism painting technique, Waterworks, produced by Urban Communications of Detroit. Boileau’s paintings and technique can be viewed online at

The arrival of the World Wide Web in 1993 provided a new ‘paint and canvas’ for Boileau and his creative efforts have increasingly turned in that direction. His major work, now in its tenth year, is the DetroitYES Project [], a 1500+ page community interactive website inspired by the transformation of Detroit from Industrial to Information Age city. DetroitYES formed the cyber-bridge from his urban landscape painting themes to his web art. With its core tour “The Fabulous Ruins of Detroit”, Detroit is shown in all its brutal yet magnificent beauty. Through DetroitYES’s large, active and informed discussion forum, the project asks ‘why’, ‘can it be fixed’ and ‘where are we going’. attracts over 3 million visitors per year who view over twenty million pages. The website was selected as a Yahoo Pick of the Year in 1998, twice selected as Detroit MetroTimes reader’s choice Best Detroit Website, as a Detroit Free Press Best Michigan Website and as Hour Magazine’s Best Detroit Website. It has been profiled in The New York Times, PBS, and Wired magazine. Boileau’s other major web art creations include [co-creator] and crowd sourced “The Lost Synagogues of Detroit” [].

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