Here's What Happened When A Group Of Artists Painted Scenes From Detroit By Only Looking At Google Maps

Each month, artist Bill Guffey invites fellow painters to virtually descend upon a single location via Google Maps’ street view, find a perspective that inspires them, and paint it.

This month, he chose to Detroit — which, you may have heard, is not doing so great these days.

(The latest conscience-shocker: the city’s fire department has to put up with thieves, as well as drivers who purposefully impede their calls.)

The rule of the paintout is pretty straightforward: the artists may only use images captured from Google Maps — no outside photographs, including ones posted by users to Google, are allowed (Guffey says he does not post links to the views used by the artists).

Guffey writes:

I was anxious to see what the artists chose to paint this month (Detroit.) Wondering who might jump on the ‘dilapidated’ bandwagon, and who might look for beauty in an urban, park or industrial setting. The diversity of the submissions didn’t surprise me.

Here are some of the works that caught our eye (with links to the artists’ websites when available).

Earl Boyer


Soft pencil on toned grey paper

Nancy Farara

“Dog in the window, Goodrich Street, Ferndale”

Acrylic on paper

Murilo S. Romeiro

“Alexandrine Street”

Pen and water colour pencil

Rick Eakins

“Vermont Street, Detroit”

Oil on canvas

Catherine Hale

“Heading downtown”

Oil on canvas

Janell Nishida

“Detroit Mist”

Watercolor and gouache

Cindy Pickup

“Rosa Parks Transit 34 EB, Detroit”

Oil on wood

Carolyn Owen Sommer


Watercolor on Fabriano hot press

Al Woodford

“Rouge River from Fisher Freeway”


Al Woodford

“Last to leave turn off the lights”


(Via Detroit News’ Nolan Finney.)

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