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Currently on exhibit

Blacktopia: Detroit 3000 (AI Project) A Glimpse into the Utopian Future


Exhibit Dates: April 1 – May 10
Curated by Ferris Design 320 students
Led by Professor Alison Popp

Image from Blacktopia

Welcome to "Blacktopia," an immersive artistic journey into a hauntingly authentic Black utopia set in the distant year 3000. Initially conceived by American figurative artist Tylonn J. Sawyer as an Instagram series, utilizing the generative AI program, Midjourney, this exhibition pushes the boundaries of traditional image production. Curated in collaboration with the esteemed FSU Fine Art Gallery and Professor Alison Popp-Meier's design students, it represents a pioneering endeavor in the realm of artistic innovation. Through a series of meticulously crafted digital compositions, Sawyer explores novel modalities of image-making to confront the complexities of contemporary society while envisioning radiant potential futures.

Located in the futuristic landscape of Detroit, Michigan, Sawyer's captivating artworks depict everyday life in a society propelled by advancements in technology and societal norms exclusively dedicated to enhancing the well-being of all citizens. Anchored in real-life locations, historical events, and cultural landmarks of Detroit, Sawyer envisions a future where inclusivity and progress reign supreme. True to its title, "Blacktopia" places Blackness at its core, celebrating diversity within this utopian realm. The artworks portray people of color as leaders of this enlightened society, their presence commanding admiration and reverence. From vibrant LGBTQ+ pride festivals to majestic military parades symbolizing national unity, the exhibition offers a vibrant mosaic of cultures and identities flourishing in this envisioned future.

Throughout the exhibition, visitors are encouraged to contemplate the profound impact of technology on society, fostering introspection on how we can redirect our focus from personal gain towards utilizing evolving technologies to construct a fairer and more flourishing society for all. "Blacktopia" transcends mere artistry; it serves as a catalyst for thought, beckoning viewers on a transformative journey towards envisioning and realizing a better world.

About Tylonn J. Sawyer

Sawyer is an American multidisciplinary artist, educator, and curator.  Trained in figurative arts-based practices Sawyer’s work juxtaposes theme of identity – both individual and collective – with investigations of race and history in popular culture.

Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Sawyer has been included in solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States and abroad included the Venice Biennale, Italy; Texas A & M University, Texas; The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, The Detroit Institute of Art, Michigan; Heron Arts, San Francisco; Kravets/Wehby Gallery, Rush Arts, and The New York Academy of Art, New York, amongst others.

Sawyer holds an MFA in painting from the New York Academy of Art: Graduate School of Figurative Art program and a Bachelor of Fine Arts (drawing and painting) from Eastern Michigan University. Sawyer currently lives and works I Detroit, Michigan, USA.