Dominic Pangborn Is Designing In Detroit
That building is the artistic home of Dominic Pangborn — a painter, designer, artist. Pangborn says he has been described as an evolutionist, “And I think its probably a perfect description for me because every day its all about evolution. Every day I create new things, every day my mind set is different from yesterday.”
Pangborn was born in a small Korean village in 1952 in the midst of a war. The son of a Korean mother and American father, he was brought to the United States at age 10 by a Catholic missionary.
“I was adopted into the Pangborn family and the Pangborns had 11 children of their own,” he told us. Soon after coming to this country, he began he artwork. “As soon as everybody went to bed about 11:30 at night, I snuck down in the basement and worked down there til 2 or 3 in the morning until I got tired and put everything away and went to bed.”
Pangborn believes he was born with an artistic flair, but his childhood helped develop it, “When you don’t have anything that’s where the creativity comes from. You have to learn to survive, you learn to make things.”
Today he makes all kinds of beautiful things. He may be best known as a designer. His bold, colorful neckties have become popular worldwide. He also makes scarves, purses and other items sold at upscale stores like Saks.
His personal sense of style is as unique as his art. You’ll seldom see him without his trademark red shoes.
Recently has had begun to spend more of his time on fine art.
With all of his success, Dominic Pangborn is committed to Detroit. He says, “I specifically chose Detroit because I really firmly believe that businesses should be in the city. So I moved into the city of Detroit.”
His attractive Rivertown studio and gallery wasn’t always a showplace. When he bought it, “There was no roof, there was three feet of water in the premises. I decided to buy it, take it off their hands and put a lot of money into it and restored it.”
Pangborn became involved in a long list of community organizations. He often speaks to students. He urges young Detroiters to be aggressive and take chances, “I tell kids, ‘Believe in yourself first. If you have no respect for yourself, no faith in yourself, then how can anybody else believe in you. It starts with you.’”
As for his little piece of Detroit — he remains optimistic. And Pangborn continues to create fine art in an area filled with a different brand of art, “I think in two years you’re going to see a beautification, right around my building, so I just need to hang on and keep my fingers crossed and I still believe in it.”
Click here for more on Dominic Pangborn’s art.