Detroit artist and muralist Sydney G. James poses in front of one of the pieces from "Watch Me Work—Portraits of Self" series, currently on exhibition at the M Contemporary Art Gallery in Ferndale. Photo by Montez Miller
Detroit artist and muralist Sydney G. James poses in front of one of the pieces from "Watch Me Work—Portraits of Self" series, currently on exhibition at the M Contemporary Art Gallery in Ferndale.

These contemporary artists are pure Michigan—through birth, education, or migration—and their IG pages are ones to watch.

DETROIT—If you’re a fan of art, you’re likely familiar with Sydney G. James’ work.

And if you’ve ever taken a casual drive through just about any part of Detroit, you’ve definitely experienced the artist’s emotion-invoking, larger-than-life murals.

James, a Detroit native, has an exhibition at the M Contemporary Art Gallery in Ferndale. The series is titled “Watch Me Work—Portraits of Self.” 

Each piece in the series depicts a different woman as she works during the pandemic. James said she could see herself in each of the women and their labor, leading her to title the series as self portraits.

“That’s all anybody ever does,” James told The ‘Gander. “They watch me work. That’s why it’s called ‘Watch Me Work,’ because all people do is watch [Black women] work.”

Despite long days, fatigue, and her own health issues, James accepted commissions to paint powerful murals across the country, including one in Detroit that honors murder victims killed by local police.

Her exhibition will be at the Ferndale location through Jan. 20.

But James isn’t the only Michigan-born or -bred artist making a name for themself in the Mitten.

Here are 11 Michigan-based or -born artists you should know:

RELATED: Local Artists Embrace Commissions As Michiganders Turn to Art During Pandemic

1. Rashaun Rucker

2. Ellen Rutt

3. Scott Vincent Campbell

4. Bowen Kline

5. Senghor Reid

6. Rebecca Casement

7. Freddy Diaz

8. Mia Risberg

SEE ALSO: A Splash of Color and a Dash of Faith: Michigan Business Owner Starts Painting Business During Quarantine

9. Robert Mirek

10. Shaina Kasztelan

11. Lucy Cahill

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