Jon the Pointillist

Jon the Pointillist

I rode Blue Cindy, my fabulous turquoise-wheeled bike, across town to have tea with Jon Strand this afternoon.

Jon and I met a few weeks ago. He was walking Archie (pictured here looking up at his owner) and I was walking Alfie. Jon and I agreed that with such perfectly matching dogs, we’d better become friends.

Jon is a world-class pointillist. The pictures you see behind him are the result of thousands of hours spent meticulously painting dots. Local fans include the Detroit Institute of Arts, which owns two of his pieces.

Jon spent most of his childhood in Detroit and returned as a young man. He settled in the downtown area 37 years ago and has not moved away from it since. His stories, carefully recorded in over 90 volumes of diaries, are as vivid and colorful as his paintings.

Nick in Denial at the Grand Trunk

Nick in Denial at the Grand Trunk

Perching atop a bar stool at the Grand Trunk in downtown Detroit, I leant across the counter and engaged my barman in conversation.

“So Nick, tell me what the deal is with Detroit men and all your beards?”

Don’t get me wrong. I am a great supporter of beards, it’s just I’ve noticed a solid three quarters of the men I meet here seem to have one. It’s become so normal, I’ve almost stopped noticing altogether.

Nick looked bashful. It only took him a moment to reply. “What do you mean all our beards?”