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Tyree Guyton

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Information about Tyree Guyton

Profile image of Tyree Guyton

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
Occupation(s):
Public Artist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
South America, Ecuador
Favorite Quote:
Stick And Stay, And It Will Pay

Birthplace

Born:
8/24/1955
Birth Location:
Detroit, Michigan

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
Occupation(s):
Public Artist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
South America, Ecuador
Favorite Quote:
Stick And Stay, And It Will Pay

Birthplace

Born:
8/24/1955
Birth Location:
Detroit
See how Tyree Guyton is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Public artist and Heidelberg Project founder Tyree Guyton was born on August 24, 1955 in Detroit, Michigan to George Guyton and Betty Solomon Guyton. He grew up on Heidelberg Street and Ellery on Detroit’s East Side near legendary “Paradise Valley.” Guyton attended Ralph J. Bunche Elementary School, Miller Junior High School and Northern High School, but the accidental fatal shooting of his cousin caused him to drop out of Martin Luther King, Jr. High School in 1972 to join the United States Army.

Guyton was released from the U.S. Army in 1973. He returned to Detroit, working at Chrysler’s Jefferson Assembly Plant and the Ford Motor Company. In 1980, Guyton began art classes at Detroit’s College for Creative Studies and at Marygrove College, where as a painter and sculptor he was mentored by Charles McGhee. McGhee introduced Guyton to the works of Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence, and Robert Blackwell. He was also greatly influenced by Al Loving, artist in residence at Eastern Michigan University. During this period, Guyton joined the Detroit Fire Department, serving there through 1984. In 1986, shocked by urban violence, he responded by painting found objects, throwing the objects into the trees and nailing stuffed animals and dolls to abandoned houses as memorials. Guyton’s signature style featured bright clashing polka dots. He has been featured on NBC Nightly News, Nightline and the Oprah Winfrey Show. Through his art, Guyton succeeded in bringing the world’s attention to the East Side of Detroit, largely abandoned after the 1967 riots.

Since 1988, Guyton has been a teacher or artist in residence at Marygrove College, City of Detroit, Syracuse University School of Fine Art, Cranbrook Museum, Detroit Institute for the Arts (DIA), Harvard University, University of Michigan, St. Olaf College, Ohio State University, New School for Social Research, Intuit Art Center, Central Michigan University and Brazil’s Universidade Federal Da Bahia. Guyton’s work became a part of the curriculum at Wayne State University under an honors course called Art Community and Social Action: The Heidelberg Project, under which, Guyton helped to develop. He has received the David A. Hammond Memorial Scholarship, the Spirit of Detroit Award and the Humanity in the Arts Award. Guyton’s work can be found at the Studio Museum of Harlem, Kresge Art Museum, Detroit Institute of Art, the Delaware Art Institute and the University of Michigan Museum of Art.

Guyton is married to Jenenne Whitfield and has five children: Tyree, Jr, Towan, Omar, James and Tylisa.

Guyton was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 8, 2007.

See how Tyree Guyton is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Tyree Guyton's interview, session 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Tyree Guyton lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Tyree Guyton describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Tyree Guyton describes his maternal family's sharecropping
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Tyree Guyton remembers his maternal grandfather
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Tyree Guyton describes the Paradise Valley section of Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Tyree Guyton describes his mother's early aspirations
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Tyree Guyton describes his father's background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Tyree Guyton lists his siblings
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Tyree Guyton describes his parents' personalities and his likeness to them
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Tyree Guyton remembers his grandparents' house on Heidelberg Street in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Tyree Guyton describes his earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Tyree Guyton describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Tyree Guyton describes his community in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Tyree Guyton remembers his great-grandmother's spirituality
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Tyree Guyton recalls his early interest in art
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Tyree Guyton describes the challenges he faced as a child
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Tyree Guyton recalls his family's opinions of his artistic talent
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Tyree Guyton remembers the music of his youth
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Tyree Guyton remembers Ralph Bunche Elementary School in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Tyree Guyton remembers the uprisings in Detroit in 1967, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Tyree Guyton remembers welfare inspections
  • Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Tyree Guyton remembers the uprisings in Detroit in 1967, pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Tyree Guyton remembers the racial demographics of his neighborhood
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Tyree Guyton recalls the African American organizations in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Tyree Guyton remembers his housing conditions in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Tyree Guyton remembers Sidney D. Miller Junior High School in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Tyree Guyton remembers the gang activity in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Tyree Guyton remembers his track coach at Sidney D. Miller Junior High School
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Tyree Guyton remembers his relationship with his mother
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Tyree Guyton remembers leaving school to enlist in the U.S. Army
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Tyree Guyton remembers his visiting the Detroit Institute of Arts in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Tyree Guyton recalls his desire to serve in the Vietnam War
  • Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Tyree Guyton describes his experiences in the U.S. Army
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Tyree Guyton recalls his experiences of discrimination in the U.S. Army
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Tyree Guyton remembers the accidental death of his cousin
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Tyree Guyton talks about working with youth in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Tyree Guyton describes the psychological effects of the Vietnam War
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Tyree Guyton remembers leaving the U.S. Army
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Tyree Guyton remembers his special assignment in the U.S. Army, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Tyree Guyton remembers his special assignment for the U.S. Army, pt. 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Tyree Guyton recalls his early professional career
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Tyree Guyton describes his early artwork
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Tyree Guyton recalls becoming an inspector at the Ford Motor Company
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Tyree Guyton recalls his maternal grandfather's support
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Tyree Guyton remembers the murder of his first wife
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Tyree Guyton remembers qualifying for welfare as a single father
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Tyree Guyton recalls his decision to attend the Center for Creative Studies in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Tyree Guyton recalls studying under Charles McGee, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Tyree Guyton recalls studying under Charles McGee, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Tyree Guyton describes the changes on Heidelberg Street in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Tyree Guyton remembers moving to Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Tyree Guyton remembers the influence of drugs in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Tyree Guyton describes the start of the Heidelberg Project
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Tyree Guyton describes his reasons for starting the Heidelberg Project
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Tyree Guyton remembers cleaning the empty lots on Heidelberg Street in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Tyree Guyton describes the deterioration of homes in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Tyree Guyton talks about using shoes in his artwork
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Tyree Guyton remembers creating the Baby Doll House
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Tyree Guyton describes his inspiration for the Heidelberg Project houses
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Tyree Guyton remembers the Heidelberg Project's early press coverage
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Tyree Guyton talks about the use of stuffed animals in memorials
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Tyree Guyton reflects upon the Heidelberg Project
  • Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Tyree Guyton describes the response to the Heidelberg Project
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Tyree Guyton remembers the tourists attracted by the Heidelberg Project
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Tyree Guyton reflects upon the success of the Heidelberg Project
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Tyree Guyton describes his wife's role in the Heidelberg Project
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Tyree Guyton remembers Mayor Coleman Young
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Tyree Guyton talks about his relationship with his neighbors
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Tyree Guyton remembers meeting celebrities through the Heidelberg Project
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Tyree Guyton describes his plans for the future
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Slating of Tyree Guyton's interview, session 2
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Tyree Guyton describes his public artwork in Australia
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Tyree Guyton describes his book, 'Connecting the Dots'
  • Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Tyree Guyton talks about his sculpture for Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Tyree Guyton describes his course at Wayne State University
  • Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Tyree Guyton talks about his motif of dots and circles
  • Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Tyree Guyton reflects upon his life
  • Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Tyree Guyton shares a message to future generations
  • Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Tyree Guyton describes how he would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Tyree Guyton reflects upon the growth of the Heidelberg Project
  • Tape: 8 Story: 11 - Tyree Guyton describes his plans for the future
  • Tape: 8 Story: 12 - Tyree Guyton lists his children
  • Tape: 8 Story: 13 - Tyree Guyton describes the legacy of the Heidelberg Project
  • Tape: 8 Story: 14 - Tyree Guyton describes his philosophy of life
  • Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Tyree Guyton narrates his photographs