muckraker report

Striking murals pay tribute to graffiti artist Nekst in Detroit

Nekst on GratiotStreet artists descended on Detroit over the past week to pay tribute to Nekst, one of the world’s most prolific street artists.

Nekst’s untimely death at the age of 33 late last year has spurred a long line of tributes in cities where the Texas native had loved to paint – Detroit, New Orleans, San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York City.

Askew One, a world-renowned New Zealand graffiti artist, painted a large-scale mural of his friend, Nekst, on the side of a liquor store on Gratiot on Detroit’s east side. The photo-realistic mural was created with chrome and black Rustoleum bucket paint that Nekst had left behind. Nekst’s tag is scrawled in stark red paint.

“The first time I really got to know Nekst he had me loading so many buckets of this paint into the trunk of a rental car we drove from Chicago to Detroit,” Askew One wrote, adding he got permission to paint the mural.

Nekst_3225Over the weekend, artists using the same colors painted Nekst’s name on the front and side exterior of the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit on Woodward. The striking red, chrome and black is hard to miss.

Nekst, AKA Sean Griffin, made a name for himself in Houston in the 1990’s before he elevated his status in New York City. He visited Detroit shortly before his death.

“He was a pure and sensitive, creative personality who lived life with flair and charisma,” his obituary read.

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.