Gloss & Dross 


Artist Michael Paulus has captured the attention of med students, X-ray technicians, serious cartoon geeks and middle school teachers. Even one forensics instructor.

Paulus, a 40-year-old illustrator who hails from Portland, Ore., has sketched more than 22 structurally accurate renderings of skeletal systems belonging to beloved cuddly creatures, from favorite 1960s-era cartoons as well as characters from more recent years, such as the Powerpuff Girls. According to Paulus, his uncanny images (featured on his Web site have disturbed folks around the world, perhaps not for the reasons you'd assume.

"A couple of girls in Japan informed me that yes, Hello Kitty does indeed have a functioning mouth under the fur. And a couple people have had problems with the Shmoo drawing. For one, I didn't do my research and probably would have omitted a skeleton altogether, as the Shmoo is one that has the capability to become formless and slither under doors and such."

The forensic instructor seemed more impressed. "He used them in a PowerPoint lecture," Paulus says. "Between the more traditional, gruesome shots."

Change for the better

Across the nation, those looking to make a pretty penny working in the art world are coming up shortchanged. That's why it's particularly notable when a nonprofit art organization with a respectable reputation shows signs of growth, even as it struggles with funding.

Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit (CAID) recently announced a job opening for an events director. This week, the organization also announced that it's accepting applications for the part-time position of exhibition director. Duties include providing planning, scheduling, marketing and promotional support to execute exhibitions and related programs. According to the press release, the exhibition director also oversees the scheduling and management of staff and volunteers for exhibitions. It's a perfect foot in the door for those who want to profit from their passion. Application deadline is Aug. 1. Resumes can be sent to CAID, 5141 Rosa Parks Blvd., Detroit, MI 48208. Inquiries may be directed to or 313-899-CAID. —RM


Into the shadow

Michigan Design Militia — a small group of Ann Arbor- and Ypsilanti-based fashion designers, artists and publishers — host the first-ever Shadow Art Fair, an all-day event showcasing the work of more than 30 local, indie artists and nonprofit groups. If it's as DIY as it sounds, expect to browse through Iron Maiden iron-on T's and plaintive yet punk greeting cards from local creatifs. Vendors include designer Molly Mast, Found magazine and Ghostly International. The event runs noon-9 p.m. on Saturday, July 15, at the Corner Brewery in Ypsilanti.

Florafied marketing

Way before Detroiters spent their weekends playing bumper cars with shopping carts in the arctic freeze of supermarkets, women and men sucked in fresh air as they strolled through the wide aisles of Eastern Market. Now, Eat Local Food LLC, a Wyandotte-based marketing firm that uses fine art imagery to promote local and organic food, celebrates that centuries-old tradition with a new look. Co-owned by sisters Joan Tobin and Chris Witkowski (a graduate of University of Detroit's fine arts program), the firm has developed an advertising campaign for specialty goods store R. Hirt Jr. Co.: You'll soon be seeing the face of Flora, the Roman goddess of flowers and fertility, on customized posters and tote bags. About her sister's artwork, Tobin says Flora was inspired by Roman religion. The abundance of the harvest season is an added theme. Flora also bears resemblance to women of the 1800s, evoking the old days — just as R. Hirt does — when there was nothing "historic" about high ceilings, hardwood floors and bread that went stale by the end of the day.

Rebecca Mazzei is Metro Times arts editor. Send comments to

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