Brian Whitfield-Speaking through Art
By Dianne Hicks-Flourrey
BRIAN WHITFIELD has been a talented Lansing Artist for many years starting with him making shapes out of his food at three years old. He went to school to study illustration and he has become a graphic artist with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) working for the state since 1995. As a result, he has designed Michigan License Plates, the Ingham County Flag, and two State Maps. Also, he has been asked to create four murals depicting the uniqueness of Lansing. The “Under the Bridge Project” shows Lansing as a place to Work, Play, Discover and Create. This is simply a beautiful display of Lansing to see as you drive down Michigan Avenue.
Whitfield, whose art has become a little more political, been inspired to design an outstanding piece (on Instagram and Facebook) in response to the recent killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis Police officer, by putting his knee on his neck and ignored the pleas for him to stop. Even though George Floyd was saying, “I Can’t Breathe”. As result, he died on the spot. All four of them have been charged with his murder.
Whitfield, whose credentials are fantastic, attended Kendall College of Art and Design receiving his BFA in 1985 and MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 1991 – Hofferger School of Painting.
During this pandemic, Whitfield has been able to take time for real reflection as an Artist. He says, “There is unparalleled value in filtering out the voices around me, listening to my inner self and communing with God for an extended amount of time. 2019 was a full and difficult year of rushing from one meeting to another and creating new artwork, while also caring for an ailing parent. But with being on lockdown for a couple of months, I’ve been able to breathe, to quiet my spirit and to rest.” Whitfield has also had time to enjoy listening to music, discovering new Podcasts and feels he now owns his time and space. His long-term goal will include keeping life simple, enjoying the people in his circle. “Through my art, I want to grab peoples’ imagination, supporting and fighting for the common struggles that unite us. I have also learned that I like my leisure time, especially sitting down to a good meal. I’ve rediscovered cooking during this unusual time.”