Atom Art, the new gallery that just opened in Ferndale, has quite the origin tale. And for an art gallery in Ferndale, that’s as it should be. Atom Kaiser — his real name bestowed on him by a hippie mother, he says — moved around a lot as a kid, spending time in places like Jamaica and Michigan. It wouldn’t be the last time he returned to Michigan.
As a younger man, Kaiser was interested in neurology and planned to pursue studies in the field. But a head injury altered his path — and perhaps the way his brain worked, he theorizes. Kaiser says that the injury made him think in a more visual way and, after struggling with the side effects of his prescribed medications, found himself drawn to painting.
After two degrees in the visual arts, Kaiser moved to Barcelona, establishing himself in the art world there before a stay in Mexico City was cut short by his dad falling ill, which drew Kaiser back to Michigan. That’s when he decided to open Atom Art in Ferndale.
Kaiser wants Atom Art to be different than the higher-end art galleries around metro Detroit. He wants to be more inclusive, offering more group shows and opportunities for less-established artists. He says he plans to keep the space sparse, leaving room for classes and whatever else artists may need.
“I’m an artist that has an art gallery, not a gallery owner collecting pieces,” says Kaiser. “There’s a difference.”
Following a soft opening on February 6, Atom Art officially opened its doors April 16. Kaiser says he’s been flattered by the warm reception he’s received, from the artist community to the Ferndale Chamber of Commerce.
Atom Art is located at 522 E. Nine Mile Rd. in Ferndale, sharing the building with Go Comedy! Improv. It’s generally open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., but hours change for special events.