Step into Blight Hernandez’s trippy world of positivity in ‘Signs and Symbols’

The Detroit artist has his first solo show at Pontiac’s Gallery 46 this month

click to enlarge Blight Hernandez with his “Kali Through Detroit” painting. - Jeff Cancelosi/ Courtesy photo
Jeff Cancelosi/ Courtesy photo
Blight Hernandez with his “Kali Through Detroit” painting.

This feature highlights a different local artist each week. Got someone in mind you think deserves the spotlight? Hit us up at [email protected].

Artist of the week: Blight Hernandez

Angels with machine guns, Hindu goddesses, and indigenous liberation frequently appear in the work of Blight Hernandez.

The budding Detroit artist’s first solo show, Signs and Symbols debuted at Pontiac’s Gallery 46 in early April. As always, he’s using his work to spread joy in strife, perseverance through the human matrix, and a connection to the higher self that can only be found within.

Hernandez uses spray paint, collage, digital graphics, and screenprinting to explore spirituality and consciousness. He’s most known for his clothing brand “Be the Light.” A self-described “upcycled thrifter maniac,” he screenprints his designs on vintage button-ups, outerwear, jeans, and whatever else he can get his hands on.

That upcycled craftiness transfers to his paintings with scavenged street signs often becoming the canvas.

On a “Southbound Woodward closed at Larned” sign, a viscous Kali sneers, a blade raised in her right hand while the blood of a man’s severed head in her left cascades onto a plate she holds in a third hand. The multi-limbed Hindu goddess with wild hair dons garlands of skulls and barbed wire, a skirt of dismembered arms around her waist. This is Hernandez’s painting “Kali Through Detroit.”

She is both the supreme creator and destroyer. In an endless loop, she creates, destroys, and recreates anew bestowing upon humankind the ego death we must undergo to reach moksha — the soul’s liberation from the cycle of reincarnation.

click to enlarge Hernandez describes his style as “symbolic pop art/abstract expressionism.” - Courtesy of the artist
Courtesy of the artist
Hernandez describes his style as “symbolic pop art/abstract expressionism.”

“The symbolism combines religious and spiritual mystery,” Hernandez says about his work. “My paintings are modern metropolis inscriptions, a meditative introspective journey. It’s strong anarchism, freedom from man-made religions and yearning for higher consciousness through the study of all faiths, complete abandonment of wars, mockery of GOA [Gun Owners of America], and an end to victim mentality reality… Everything in life is a choice, a balance between all good and evil.”

A sign from Wyandotte, where Hernandez lives, that reads “this property for sale” is painted over with the face of an indigenous chief, blood dripping in the background. We’ve seen this piece before, aptly titled “It Was Never Yours To Begin With,” at Chroma’s inaugural You Belong exhibit last year. This time he’s added a companion piece, “It Was Never Yours To Begin With Princess Edition” featuring an Indigenous woman.

He describes his work as “symbolic pop art/abstract expressionism.” His rough designs coupled with the found materials he uses give the work a street art feel, though he doesn’t consider himself a graffiti artist. In contrast to his black-and-white T-shirts, his paintings are often bright and colorful, representing the duality of life and surrender to it all.

Signs and Symbols is a tribute to Hernandez’s grandmother Linda, who he says always supported his journey as an artist. The exhibit opened on April 8, the anniversary of her death.

“I remember sitting in my grandma’s middle room because the all-white living room was off limits to everyone,” he recalls of his childhood. “I’m drawing swans and hearts into my version of corny Hallmark cards that always expressed my undying love and appreciation for her. Her encouragement and raving encore for more always inspired me to keep creating. That’s my first memory of art.”

Though he has been drawing since childhood, growing up in Southwest Detroit, Hernandez began pursuing art full-time and sharing his work in 2019. He uses it as a way to heal from childhood trauma as he observes it with nonattachment.

“My main objective for creating art is to simply exist, because without it life is pointless,” he says. “Hopefully I can evoke an emotion within someone else that can resonate as a reminder of their own alignment and light within their journey they call life.”

Where to see his work: Signs and Symbolism is on display at Gallery 46 until May 8. The gallery is open Saturdays 2-8 p.m. and Sundays 12-6 p.m. His one-of-a-kind clothing and screen-printed T-shirts are sold at shops around metro Detroit including the Luckenbooth, Old Soul Vintage, Dancing Eye Gallery, and his website

Location Details

Gallery 46

46 N. Saginaw Street, Pontiac Oakland County


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About The Author

Randiah Camille Green

After living in Japan and traveling across Asia, Randiah Camille Green realized Detroit will always be home. And when she says Detroit, she's talking about the hood, not the suburbs. She has bylines in Planet Detroit News , Bridge Detroit , BLAC magazine, and Model D .Her favorite pastimes are meditating on...
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