BIO & Artist Statement


Yvette Rock received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Cooper  Union in New York City and a Master of Fine Arts in painting from  University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.  She spent one year as a Visiting  Scholar during her post-graduate stint at U of M. It was  during this time that Rock conceived of Detroit Connections, a program that  fostered collaboration between U of M and Detroit schools  and organizations. She has worked as artist-in-residence with InsideOut  Literary Arts Project, founded a local after-school program, is a community  activist, and collaborates with artists of various disciplines. Rock has exhibited  throughout southeast Michigan, including the Carr Center, Detroit  Artists Market, Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center, Ellen Kayrod Gallery, and  National Conference of Artists. She is the founder and CEO of Live  Coal Gallery, a social venture whose purpose is to foster a passion for  art, community, and learning. Rock lives in Detroit with her husband and four children. 



I am a multi-media artist. I use painting, drawing, photography, mixed-media, video, interactive and non-interactive installations to tell stories about the human condition. I love to explore, to play, to discover new methods and materials, and to wrestle with images from the past and present.

For the past eighteen years, I have been passionate about telling the story of the city of Detroit. I have created pieces like “Plague of Racism” and “Plague of Poverty” to share the stories of people I know and have photographed and interviewed. I often employ the underappreciated power of the figurative form (whether conceptually, realistically, or abstractly) to reclaim a vision of people whose bodies or histories are not accounted for, nor treated with care and attention. These themes are also being explored in my “Battle for Life” series. In my recent staged photography series “Money Head,” I confront myself and my viewer with the role money plays in Detroit’s development, the “elephant in the room” syndrome of money, and the correlation between money and African-American/black/brown children.

In the past two years, through collaborating with performance artists for the first time in my artistic career, I am using sound, video and performance to explore and have conversations around themes such as race, money, politics, faith, education, and family.

Yvette Rock

Video by Nathan Clark, Christianity Today, 2012