Magic Trash

Overview

Vacant lots. Abandoned houses. Trash--lots of trash. Heidelberg Street was in trouble!

Tyree Guyton loved his childhood home--that's where his grandpa Sam taught him to "paint the world." So he wanted to wake people up... to make them see Detroit's crumbling communities.

Paintbrush in hand, Tyree cast his artistic spell, transforming everyday junk into magic trash. Soon local kids and families joined Tyree in ...

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Overview

Vacant lots. Abandoned houses. Trash--lots of trash. Heidelberg Street was in trouble!

Tyree Guyton loved his childhood home--that's where his grandpa Sam taught him to "paint the world." So he wanted to wake people up... to make them see Detroit's crumbling communities.

Paintbrush in hand, Tyree cast his artistic spell, transforming everyday junk into magic trash. Soon local kids and families joined Tyree in rebuilding their neighborhood, discovering the healing power of art along the way.

This picture book biography of Tyree Guyton, an urban environmental artist, shows how he transformed his decaying, crime-ridden neighborhood into the Heidelberg Project, an interactive sculpture park. The story spans from Tyree's childhood in 1950s Detroit to his early efforts to heal his community through art in the 1980s. Tyree's awards include Michigan Artist of the Year and International Artist.

MAGIC TRASH offers strong themes of working together, the power of art, and the importance of inspiring community--especially kids--to affect action. The Heidelberg Project is internationally recognized for providing arts education to children and adults and for the ongoing development of several houses on Heidelberg Street. Not only does the Heidelberg Project prove that when a community works together it can rebuild itself, but it also addresses the issues of recycling, environmentalism, and community on a global level.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
When Tyree Guyton was a child in Detroit, he learned to reuse items that others threw away, which became a passion for transforming trash into art. After witnessing his neighborhood split apart by rioting, serving as a soldier, and enrolling in art school, Guyton returns to dilapidated Heidelberg Street. Shapiro richly describes the activism behind much of Guyton's work: "When trouble still sizzled in one discarded home, Tyree coated it in dots and squares of pink, blue, yellow, and purple, then perched a magenta watchdog on the porch." Brantley-Newton's vivid compositions, which incorporate paint, newsprint, and photo-collage, honor an artist who created the world he wanted to live in. Ages 6–9. (Oct.)
From the Publisher
"An inspiring, exciting introduction to avant-garde art and social commentary, this biography convinces young readers that art can exist, thrive and effect change outside in the real world. " --Kirkus Reviews "Brantley-Newton's vivid compositions, which incorporate paint, newsprint, and photo-collage, honor an artist who created the world he wanted to live in." --Publishers Weekly "This engaging picture-book biography delights as an affectionate portrait of a transformative artist and inspires as a call to find and make beauty wherever we are." --Booklist
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
On the East Side of Detroit, young Tyree Guyton picks up what "junk" he can in the streets to make into imaginative toys. In school he dreams and draws. From his housepainter grandfather he learns the delight of painting with colors; he determines to be an artist. After time as a soldier and firefighter, Tyree enrolls in art school. When he returns to his neighborhood, he is shocked by how rundown it has become. He and his grandfather begin to pick up the trash and paint the houses. Then the city sends bulldozers to knock it all down. For eight years the neighbors work with Tyree to rebuild and paint. When the bulldozers return, the people march to court to get the neighborhood declared "art." The project is now world famous. The text is straightforward and informative, with brief rhymes interspersed. Mixed media images of the people, buildings, and street trash generate a vitality to visualize this urban neighborhood's efforts to construct its own environment. There is a positive sensibility to the cooperative actions and shared values of the characters of various ages and ethnicities. Notes and a bibliography are included. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Kirkus Reviews
Multi-colored, multi-layered, multi-media illustrations trace the life of Tyree Guyton and his visionary artwork, which used reclaimed trash to turn a derelict Detroit street into community-activist art.

Tyree's magic—his ability to find whimsy, brightness and joy in junk—make him both an endearing and an unusual person to young readers fixated on shiny products hermetically sealed in plastic. Buttons, Popsicle sticks, crayons, broken wheels and bottle caps bounce around pages, conjuring Tyree's excitement as he makes his own funky toys as a child and, later, trash artwork as an adult. Warm, comedic renderings of neighbors and family (particularly Grandpa Sam), offset somewhat jarring multi-media elements: creepy, dirty stuffed animals, slapdash patches of newsprint, random-feeling rounds of fabric. But when Tyree's childhood street becomes his art, these compositional choices make more sense. On Heidelberg Street, neon vacuum cleaners line lawns, houses pulsate with polka-dots and doll-babies hang from telephone wires, bringing a similar discomfort and disorientation—and making shady characters flee. When a judge stops bulldozers from destroying Heidelberg Street, declaring it a work of art, a victory dance seems in order. Readers whiz through Tyree's story, propelled by his energy and zinging, trippy triplets that cap each significant event in his life. "Let rockets fly! / Boards tower high. / Bounce, jump and dance, magic trash!"

An inspiring, exciting introduction to avant-garde art and social commentary, this biography convinces young readers that art can exist, thrive and effect change outside in the real world. (author's note, bibliography) (Picture book. 5-10)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781580893855
  • Publisher: Charlesbridge
  • Publication date: 7/1/2011
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: 700L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

J. H. Shapiro discovered Tyree Guyton's art while a docent at Michigan State University's art museum. She has been a social worker for the Department of Medicine at MI State. During a year in Hawaii, she volunteered at the Waikiki Aquarium and wrote about marine animals. She now lives and writes in Portland, Oregon, and leads school tours through the Portland Art Museum.
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Read an Excerpt

Tyree barely heard the thwump-thwack of his brothers' games while he dreamed up designs. In school he sat alone, drawing pictures. When his report card came, his aunt asked, "Is Tyree dumb?" "Maybe crazy," his mama whispered.
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