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Irwin House Gallery highlights Ivan Quiñones II in ‘The Price of Speech’

Detroit’s Irwin House Gallery is highlighting Black talent in February
Irwin House Gallery highlights Ivan Quiñones II in 'The Price of Speech'
Photo courtesy of Ivan Quiñones II

Ivan Quiñones II is an emerging sketch artist based in Pontiac, Michigan. On Feb. 10, Irwin House Gallery highlighted the work of Quiñones in his first solo exhibition, “The Price of Speech.” He showcased his body of work, which was inspired by a conversation piece he created at the end of 2022 titled, “Not Your Negro.”

“Ivan’s mixed use of styles and media is both skillful and intriguing. He has a strong sense of self that communicates clearly through his work,” said Misha Mcglown, Irwin House Gallery’s director. “We are excited to present his first solo show and to support him in sharing his voice and vision with the world.”

Quiñones spoke with rolling out about the event and explained how he became a sketch artist.

What made you want to become a sketch artist?

As a kid, I was into cartooning and I wanted to do animation. I would get coloring books and I would trace the characters. Then I would switch up and put a hat on somebody or draw some clothes, shoes, and stuff like that. Over the years, I would get into it drawing and I’d stop. [In] my early 20s, I used to mentor a kid who used to sketch. He was 12 at the time, and I used to watch his technique, and he literally taught me how to shade and I just picked it up from there. Then again, I would pick it up, put it down, pick it up, and put it down. When COVID hit we had to quarantine ]and that] is when I tapped into it. I was off work picking up a sketchpad and just got back into it. From there, it just took off.

What is your creative process?

With the Kyrie Irving piece, I saw it on the news the day before. I saw the controversy on Instagram, so then I saw somebody had posted a photo of him and they were commenting. I thought it was a cool picture, and I told myself ,”I can take this and communicate my perception of the situation.” I start with an idea and if I can see a clearer picture, I can roll with ideas I want to do. The process doesn’t end until I sign my name on it and it’s done.

Tell us about your first solo show.

I was approached in December about buying the Kyrie Irving piece. With that, they want to contract me to make a few other pieces, then that turned into them wanting [me] to do a solo show. So this is outside of my realm. I go to my studio, and I do commissioned pieces, so to be asked to do an entire show was pretty cool. And then the subject matter was pretty cool, so there’s a lot of excitement.

The “Price of Speech” solo exhibition will run through March 5 at the Irwin House Gallery. View the show online here:

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