The Art of Fisher Body 21, & the End of an Era

Life has quietly breathed on in Fisher Body, though the plant hasn’t manufactured any cars since 1986 or anything at all since its final occupant, a paint company, closed in 1993.  Artists like Julian, Nychos, Yok & Sheryo, Fank, AskerThe Weird Crew, City Spirit and company, Germo, Wah, and hundreds of others grace the ever-changing walls of the dilapidated factory, illuminating every surface with blooms of color, texture, witticisms, and character.  I’ve been planning and photographing this project for a while, but after finding a lot of my favorite pieces painted over by the city today, it feels like it’s finally, sadly, finished.

The very little I know about the graffiti world is limited to contextual clues, so if you see your art and would like a link, leave a comment and a URL so I can give you credit.

In October of 2016, the city of Detroit, which owns the property, painted the exterior walls, windows, and roof of the factory.  Many pieces have been destroyed.

I was there in the building while the city crews were painting, and snapped a few hasty last phone shots of the roof murals that hadn’t yet been covered.  As of my visit today, these surfaces are now blank.

At least with a few old favorites, there is evidence of recent activity as personal styles change and grow.  One of my favorite artists, pictured below, very recently redid a piece that was defaced.

But, I don’t see the city going to all this trouble, just to leave it open just to give artists a fresh, blank canvas with the same freedom to roam that we’ve come to enjoy.  I’ve always known the time will come to say goodbye to Fisher Body 21, an old and dear friend I’ve really enjoyed visiting often over the years.


In all likelihood, this location, one of the last remaining vestiges of carefree urban exploration in the city of Detroit, will join countless others as inaccessible and carefully watched by investors.

Though the vintage bias will still surely linger for years to come, at this point, anybody who doesn’t believe Detroit is rising again is just being willfully obtuse.

6 thoughts on “The Art of Fisher Body 21, & the End of an Era

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