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Maurice Greenia, Jr. Collections
Poetic Express Volume 01
In 1985 and 1986, I started working at Crowley's Department Store in the New Center area of Detroit. I was painting a lot. This first Volume went for close to two years instead of the usual one year. Only the "scratchboard" piece in Number 21 is on thicker stock. The rest of the masters are all just on thin paper, with some "glue-ons" added.
Poetic Express Volume 02
In 1987, I was still making art and working at the store. I was "doing everything but selling and management." The second volume marks the beginning of my notorious "comic strip" SURREAL THEATRE. The master copies are on thin paper with Numbers 4 and 14 on cardboard.
Poetic Express Volume 03
In 1988, I started the year with a trip to Athens, Georgia. In June, I did my first public puppet show performances Detroit's old Trobar Gallery. I was in a two person art exhibit there. In this volume, I continue doing the master copies on thin paper. Only Issue 5 is on Bristol board. I played with collage, frottage and used the typewriter some.
Poetic Express Volume 04
In 1989, I continue to do the masters on thin, cheap paper in this volume. With the last issue of the year, Number 14, I finally got wise to myself. That issue starts a long run using thicker Bristol board. I continued to do this for nearly every issue from 1990 to the present day.
Poetic Express Volume 05
In 1990, I was in group exhibits at the Willis Gallery and the Michigan Gallery. All of these master copies were done on Bristol board paper except for Number 8. This was done on thin paper. Number 6 is on scratchboard, with the black scratched off with a sharp instrument to reveal the white beneath.
Poetic Express Volume 06
In 1991, I had a big solo show at Detroit's Willis Gallery called More than Meets the Eye. It was up in late January and early February. This year, all issues were done on Bristol board except for Number 11. I think that the quality of my work improved a lot this year, on all fronts. This is toward the end of the period where I lived in my parent's attic. I was still working in Detroit's New Center at Crowleys. I was making art and doing puppet shows.
Poetic Express Volume 07
In 1992, I moved down to my favorite neighborhood in Detroit. The New Center, Cultural Center and the Cass Corridor are all close by. I also worked with the Space Gallery and the Michigan Gallery. All issues were done on Bristol board except for Number 2. Numbers 1 and 2 were created in Athens, Georgia. Number 8, was done in New York City.
Poetic Express Volume 08
In 1993, I was digging into my new living space, making new friends and alliances and doing a lot of puppet performances. It was a good year for me. Things were flowing. I'm sure this was the year I spent nearly a month in New York City, on three separate trips.
Poetic Express Volume 09
In 1994, I joined the Don't Look Now Jug Band. I still play and sing with them, though more rarely. It was always a "big band" with eight to twelve people. A smaller side group, the Fireflies, plays more often these days. I had a small solo art exhibit at Rabbles Coffee House in St. Clair Shores. My friendship with Jacques Karamanoukian was underway. I started getting up to Ann Arbor again to visit and to exhibit at Galerie Jacques. This was a time of experimentation. It was another good year for me and for THE POETIC EXPRESS.
Poetic Express Volume 10
In 1995, I marked the first ten years of this publication. I celebrated this with an exhibit of the POETIC EXPRESS at the 2-South Gallery in Detroit. Eleven issues in this volume include my comic strip SURREAL THEATRE. I was still working at Crowley's. I was busy performing, writing and making art.
Poetic Express Volume 11
In 1996, I got to France and I started doing large chalk drawings on Detroit's Hudson's Building. Three issues in this volume do not contain the comic strip. September and October issues were done in Paris as Express Poetique. I exhibited 20 of my artworks in a group exhibit Les Jardiners de la Memoire at the Musee Creation Franche, in Begles.
Poetic Express Volume 12
In 1997, I continued drawing all over the soon-to-be-demolished Hudson's Building. In December, I participated in a group show thanking me for doing the art on there. It was fenced off by then. I was in art exhibits in Detroit and Pontiac. The Zeitgeist Arts Space opened in September. I was part of that from the start.
Poetic Express Volume 13
In 1998, with Jim Puntigam, I founded a new musical group, the Space Band. This was later changed to the Spaceband, one word. I was in four art exhibits, including a two-person show at the Zeitgeist. It was a full, busy year. My work on the Hudson's Building in downtown Detroit was demolished with the building in October. It had been fenced off all year, so I couldn't work on it.
Poetic Express Volume 14
In 1999, I was in two more art exhibits in France. I didn't get to go there this time. After 14 years, my work situation came to an end. Crowley's went bankrupt in February. I spent most of the year "unemployed" and tasting life as a full time artist. I can make a lot more work without having 40 or 50 hours a week being otherwise occupied. I was also in four art exhibits in Detroit and one in Canada.
Poetic Express Volume 15
In 2000, I got the POETIC EXPRESS into the early stages of the new millennium. It was a crazy year for me due to health problems. Most of the year, I was out of a job. There was more time being a full-time artist. I did work for the U.S. census. That was really interesting. In October, I spent my birthday in New York. I did a public art project and had a public screening of a short film starring my puppets.
Poetic Express Volume 16
In 2001, I was really on the move! It was a bad year in many ways. The high point was that I started working here at the University of Detroit Mercy library. I'd been back doing "retail time" at Value City, in Warren. My friend Tim Knoll died this year, and I dedicated Old Lost Jug Band Song to him in Number 11. I put out a third page in September to include my poem September 11, 2001 in Number 17. It was written on September 12. Issue Number 19 includes other responses to these attacks.
Poetic Express Volume 17
In 2002, the order shifted so that the odd numbers are the issues without the SURREAL THEATRE. The series mainly inspired by objects and places continues. My good friend Jacques Karamanoukian died this year. Issues Numbers 9 and 10 are in his memory. These include a large drawing and a poem in fractured French.
Poetic Express Volume 18
In 2003, I finished the objects and places series. My email address now appears on one page a month. The SURREAL THEATRE goes into a nighttime setting and winds up its impressions of a day. It concludes with a larger strip with two rows of panels. I conclude the Emotional Digest series.
Poetic Express Volume 19
In 2004 my long standing Detroit Street Art project was painted over, see Number 11. For years I had done drawings on viaduct walls as a bridge between drawing on sidewalks and on buildings. This one, on Woodward, was the longest lasting and most visible of these drawing projects. Also, in September I closed my P.O. Box and started listing a different postal address on the sheets, see Number 18.
Poetic Express Volume 20
In 2005, I celebrated twenty years of continuous publication of the POETIC EXPRESS. For the anniversary in April, I did three issues including another Inventory poem and a full-page comic strip version, with drawings and poetry. Also, in October, I had an exhibit marking this milestone. It was at the library, here on the McNichols Campus of the University of Detroit Mercy.