Detroit Performs is catching up with Detroit Performs featured artists to see how their art has been developing and evolving since being featured on the series.

Ackeem Salmon is an emerging artist featured on Detroit Performs season three. Last time we saw Salmon he was a transfer to the Detroit School of Arts from Jamaica. At the Detroit School of Arts Salmon continued sharpening his skills in photography and fashion. Salmon went on to Detroit’s College for Creative Studies. Now, Salmon’s creative journey takes him to France where he’s furthering his art education at the Paris College of Art where he’s studying Fashion, Film and Photography.

Detroit Performs caught up with Salmon as he was just settling into PCA. Here he talks about his art, education and a motto from his home country of Jamaica, which inspires his thoughts as well as his art.

Detroit Performs: What have you been doing in your art career since you’ve appeared on Detroit Performs?
Ackeem Salmon: I have been focusing on my time at College for Creative Studies – classes, curating an exhibit and more.  I have been traveling, working, and building myself as an Artist, and individual, but mostly focused on my education.        

DP: Why did you go to Paris to further your art career and what will you be doing there? What are you learning in Paris and from whom?
AS: Paris has been a big dream of mine for over eight years. I studied French for six years, five in high school, and a year in advance classes at the Alliance Française de la Jamaïque in preparation for my language proficiency and certification (D.E.L.F B1) exams. Though I was introduced to the French Language at Meadowbrook High School in Jamaica, I pursued my love and passion for the language independently. Through consistent outreach to native speakers, pen pals online, and anyone else I could practice my French, it allowed me to experience a taste of a new culture I was dying to be a part of.

For years, I wanted to pursue an education at the Paris College of Art. Founded in 1981, Paris College of Art (PCA) is a private university in the heart of Paris, France. The faculty is comprised of 100 leaders in the art, design, and business. Also, the student body consists of individuals from all around the world: South Africa, Egypt, Mexico, America, Bahamas, Poland, England, India, Lebanon and the list goes on. So the environment is refreshing and I relate with like-minded individuals from vast cultural backgrounds who inspire me.

At Paris College of Art, I am currently studying Fashion, Film, and Photography. As a visiting student – this is my study abroad year at College for Creative Studies – I am enrolled in a unique selection of Masters level courses in combination with my required undergraduate Junior courses. For my first semester, I am taking courses such as Master Level Fashion, Film, and Photography Studio, The Art of Coding Studio, Masters level Advanced Printing Techniques, and the required History of Photography, and Photography in the Marketplace.

I have noticed in Paris that there is a strong historical value and appreciation for photography.  All the professors and all the classes go in depth, providing a very unique perspective of photography and image making.

Finally, one of my main objectives of being here in Paris is to further explore my own existence as a human being. Simply put, to live my life through growth, wisdom, courage, and strength.  I am here to learn new things, discover new cultures, meet new people, and genuinely take care of both my mental and physical health.  So that one day, these experiences may be seen through my future work as an Artist.

DP: What are you currently striving for in your art? How does your home country still inspire you?
AS: Currently, I would say my work is a rational investigation of life. I am constantly striving to question what is my purpose here on Earth, what is my destiny, what is my Identity?

I use art as a platform to express my own personal conflicts and discomforts, empathizing with the universe around me. This is why I travel often, and have such a wide variety of friends, I want to understand everyone’s struggle and highlight everyone uniqueness as individuals.

DP: How does your home country still inspire you?

AS: Though I have not been back since, my home country, Jamaica, constantly inspires my work with our motto “Out of many one People”. Ultimately, this helps motivate my understanding of the world, that we are a very diverse place filled with unique individuals. As humans, we were not all made “perfect”, and we should learn to love and appreciate everyone’s differences regardless of how obscure or abnormal they might seem. As a Jamaican who has lived in Jamaica for 16 years, The United States for 3 years, and currently living in France for a year, I have been acquainted with so many different personalities and personality types. These all-in-fact make life so much more interesting! If everyone was the same, then everything would be boring.

The purpose of life is not to spread hate, or to discriminate, or to chastise, or to reprimand, but, instead, is to help one another find his or her own genuine, and honest, form of happiness. All that any Holy Book is, is a set of instructions given to humans to help find his/her pathway to happiness. But instead, humankind chooses to interpret these Holy Scriptures in ways that spark fear into the world which pushes people away from the Truth, thus, having people failing to understand the true purpose and meaning of life. This is why there are such high suicide rates in the many different communities. Also, this is why there are consistent racial conflicts and arguments of inequality. Our world is so divided and filled with hate, all because of the self-acclaimed “Christians”, “Muslims”, “Jews”, “Buddhists”, and all other major religious and non-religious groups, not working together in making the world a better place. The objective for us, as human beings, should be working together to build a world filled with love, unity, forgiveness, and honesty. Not one of hate, anger, and bitterness.

Even with the current hurricanes that are occurring over the Caribbean and Southern America, we should take this time for us as “Out of many one People” to work together to bring everyone back on their feet. Everyone should have a shoulder to lean on.