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Artist retracing explorer’s trek to give workshop, lecture July 7

Chris Olszewski will talk about his project, “You, Me and the DeVille Makes Three: Vision Quest 2016,” Thursday, July 7, at 10 a.m. in the UT Center for the Visual Arts Haigh Auditorium on the University’s Toledo Museum of Art Campus. 

Olszewski is part Native-American and initiating a trek that will take him and his Cadillac from Detroit to Quebec City and back. Along the way, including pre- and post-trek stops in Toledo, the professor of art in the School of Foundation Studies at the Savannah College of Art and Design will work with groups of students as well as local communities on exorcising people’s demons. 

“Mobile Skin 2016,” acrylic paint, paint markers, Sharpie on Vinyl, by Chris Olszewski

“Mobile Skin 2016,” acrylic paint, paint markers, Sharpie on Vinyl, by Chris Olszewski

He will retrace the 1,500-mile trek of Antoine Cadillac by driving a pearl white 1998 Cadillac DeVille from Detroit to Quebec City and back. Antoine Cadillac was a French explorer, politician, adventurer, diplomat, trapper and trader in New France.

Olszewski explained why the white car is central to his travel project: “In Native-American tradition, the albino has healing powers and is considered sacred and magical. When my journey is complete, the vehicle will be ceremonially shot, skinned, ground down and used for medicinal purposes.

“I am designing an automobile skin that will act as a soft monument or a mobile message board to connect with the local populations I will encounter throughout my journey. The skin will be used to collect stories and develop a connection with events that happened 315 years ago. This vehicle skin is designed with an image of the Detroit municipal flag, the Cadillac coat of arms, regional Native-American iconography, Quebec City imagery and Detroit imagery. The color scheme for this project is red, blue and yellow — triadic color harmony — and is based on Detroit’s flag.”

Following the lecture, Olszewski will hold a workshop with the students of Young Artists at Work run by the Arts Commission of Greater Toledo in the CVA courtyard. 

During his visit to Toledo, the Cadillac will be on display all day until 7:30 p.m. outside the Center for the Visual Arts.

More information about Olszewski’s work and journey is available here.