Tony Rave On His Work and Helping Fellow Creatives

by | Oct 18, 2018 | Detroit Designers

Tony Rave’s artwork is noted for being expressive, meaningful, and effective at communicating a deeper message. Having established a solid foundation in Detroit’s creative scene, he is focused on taking his work to the next level and being a trailblazer for upcoming artists both present and future.

Early Days

Tony Rave was introduced to the world of art by his uncle, a Detroit artist known for his comic-style paintings in the late 1980s. Rave remembered those that helped develop his craft as he grew older. “I had artists around me who were great at what they did. I learned how to be more experimental, even with things that seemed weird at first,” he said. “For example, I started using pigs in my work and people didn’t understand why. But using that animal allowed me to open up artistically and be more expressive. The work turned out to have more depth.”

Rave’s latest work for Murals in the Market. (Photo: The Creative Armory)

Rave went on to explain why he appreciates fine art. “It appeals to me more and I really like putting a lot of meaning into my work. Fine art can be on display in a museum and collectors can buy it. Street art is put up for a short amount of time and covered; it’s not meant to last. I want my work to last forever.”

Act Now, Think Later

All too often artists get lost in overthinking an idea. In most cases, Rave agrees that it’s best to take action and evaluate later. “There were times where thinking too much held me up from completing anything. We don’t have time for that. It’s all about learning from what you’ve done. If you keep thinking about it, you haven’t done; you’ve only thought. Do it, learn from it, and grow. That way, you won’t waste time.

Work on display at Light Up Livernois. (Photo: The Creative Armory)

(Photo: The Creative Armory)

Opportunities for Detroit Artists

New businesses are on the rise in Detroit and local artists can take advantage. “The best thing is us being able to start over. Detroit is a blank canvas that comes with a lot of opportunity for creatives,” he said. “With restaurants and businesses opening there are a lot of chances for artists to get commissioned work. Artists can also make a name for themselves by creating in vacant spaces and drawing in the crowds. Just look at the Heidelberg Project.”

Art from the Heidelberg Project. (Photo: The Creative Armory)

(Photo: The Creative Armory)

On Mentorship

In any profession, having a good mentor can be very helpful. “Tiff Massey is an art mentor of mine. She helps with asking ‘why?’- from the paint colors to the reason I’m making a certain piece of work,” said Rave. “She makes sure I’m creating a solid meaning so it’s not just another painting on the wall. Tiff is my favorite artist but my brother, Wayne Ramocan, is my favorite musical artist,” he smiled.

Rave speaks with brother. (Photo: The Creative Armory)

Inclusion vs. ‘The Artist Ego’

As the message of inclusion is promoted across the creative community, Rave explains why he is welcoming to those he meets. “I ran into snobby artists when I first started. I knew that was not who I wanted to be. I’m all about breaking down the wall that divides one creative from the next. Artists do have an ego, but the best time to be in your zone and feeling yourself is when you’re creating.”

Rave working on mural. (Photo: The Creative Armory)

(Photo: The Creative Armory)

Future Plans

Rave is working to develop a program that will support fellow artists and the community. “When I saw artists struggling back in the day I wished I could help,” he said. “My program will help artists do their best work and we’ll support them the best way we can. I have two amazing daughters. It will be cool if they end up being artists. They are one of the reasons I’ve committed to my art so heavily. They are the future and they are going to change the world. I want to blaze the path for Nine and Fiona.”

(Photo: The Creative Armory)

Do you have a favorite work of art by Tony Rave? Share your thoughts in the comments!


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