Untitled (SAM.MACK)Artist(s)Sam MackeyArtist NationalityAmerican (North American)Object Creation Date1987-1992Medium & Supportorange, purple, green crayon, graphite black ink on cream wove paperDimensions
19 x 11.9 in. (48.26 x 30.32 cm);21 x 13 7/8 in. (53.34 x 35.24 cm)Credit LineGift of The Daniel and Harriet Fusfeld Folk Art CollectionLabel copy
United States, 1897–1992
Crayon, ink, and graphite on paper
Gift of the Daniel and Harriet Fusfeld Folk Art Collection, 2002/1.205
While Sam Mackey had worked as a commercial house painter most of his life, he did not start making art until he was 89 years old. In addition to individual drawings, Mackey also started cleaning up abandoned lots on Heidelberg Street in Detroit with his grandson Tyree Guyton—the humble beginnings of the large-scale art environment now known internationally as The Heidelberg Project. One of Mackey’s contributions to The Heidelberg Project was his use of large, colorful polka dots to cover surfaces—a motif that is now the major emblem of the installation.
(Out of the Ordinary, 2010)
Living in Detroit since 1918, Sam Mackey was born near St. Louis, Missouri. At the suggestion of his grandson, Tyree Guyton, Sam Mackey began drawing as a way of dealing with his loneliness after his wife’s death. Although he had no formal artistic training, he enjoyed making drawings that record his memories and aspirations. Sam Mackey was the inspiration for Tyree Guyton’s art and also assisted him with the Hiedelberg Project.
Modern and Contemporary Art Intern
2002Primary Object Classification Drawing Primary Object TypecartoonAdditional Object Classification(s)DrawingCollection AreaModern and ContemporaryRights
If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit http://umma.umich.edu/request-image
for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form.