“I’m an activist artist, illustrator, and graphic recorder. Graphic recording is the practice of distilling and capturing what people say into text and illustration, in real-time. Art is a powerful medium that can draw people in for closer examination but I believe that beautiful aesthetics coupled with information is even more potent.”
This mural represents two modes of interconnectedness in Washtenaw County. First, our community benefits from the incredible efforts of our local and regional farmers. Because of their knowledge and skill, we are privileged to have the bounty of healthful sustenance on our tables.
Then, like the oversized butterfly and bees, our ecosystem of relationships is constantly thriving, growing, pollinating new opportunities across communities. With their vicinities being relatively close to one another, the residents of Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor still have lots of space to challenge, collaborate, and uplift efforts to improve quality of life for everyone in both communities. With all our diversity, no matter which insect we are, we have more commonalities than differences.”
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Yen Azzaro began her career in the arts as Director of Madron Gallery in Chicago. Upon returning home to Michigan in 2011, she and her husband Nick opened a gallery in Ypsilanti where they started to work with the local school district. Over the last ten years, she has been sought to illustrate and graphic record (drawing what people say in real-time) for non-profit and corporate clients nationwide.
Since 2013, she has been the recipient and/or obtained over $80,000 in grants to produce public art/events and student programming. In 2019, along with Ypsilanti Community High School students, Yen and Nick started the social art movement Y-Fi, made possible by Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation. Yen is an alumnus of the University of Michigan Stamps School of Art & Design and will begin lecturing there in Fall 2021. She lives in Ypsilanti with her husband and artist son, who is more prolific than she will ever hope to be.
Yen’s mural is part of a pair of murals that link Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. These two murals will bring together two communities and two perspectives through collaboration, conversation, and creativity. Yen from Ypsilanti, and TreeTown Murals – Mary Thiefels & Danijel Matanic, from Ann Arbor. Yen’s mural will be in Ann Arbor, on the Liberty Street Argus Farm Stop, and Treetown will be completing theirs at Growing Hope on Michigan Avenue in Ypsilanti. The artists have worked together to identify the subject matter of their respective murals to amplify the other’s community through visual art. The driving force behind this concept is our friends at Toyota, and we couldn’t be more grateful for their support in making this possible.