New WB PD gym covered in graffiti — on purpose

West Bloomfield Beacon | Published October 6, 2017

 The West Bloomfield Police Department brought in Antonio Agee, owner of ShadesDet, a graffiti artist, to spruce up its new gym.

The West Bloomfield Police Department brought in Antonio Agee, owner of ShadesDet, a graffiti artist, to spruce up its new gym.

Photo provided by Antonio Agee

WEST BLOOMFIELD — The West Bloomfield Police Department has some new art on the walls, and it might not be what’s expected — graffiti art. 

Now when officers at the WBPD work out, they’ll be able to get visual inspiration from the artwork of Antonio Agee, a graffiti artist based in Detroit who owns ShadesDet LLC. 

“We have so many young guys and girls in the department, and they’re so interested in physical fitness,” said Deputy Chief Curt Lawson. “We wanted to make sure we had a good facility for them.”

Lawson said the gym at the department had been there for 25 years. He described the equipment as “broken” and in “bad shape.” 

The department ordered all new equipment for the gym and decided to freshen up the walls with some graffiti art. 

“We wanted to do something special for (the officers),” said Lawson. “I know (Agee), and he agreed to come and do this for us. He made a comment saying he couldn’t believe he’s at a police department doing this, but he was really proud of it.”

Agee has been doing graffiti art for nearly 30 years all around the city of Detroit. He said that even though at first it might have not been legal, he’s made his art into a business.

He has done graffiti art for companies and offices in Detroit, including Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Quicken Loans, as well as spray-painting cars that have been shown at Art Basel Miami, an international art fair.

“I started in the late ’80s when no one would hire you, so I had to make people know they needed it,” said Agee. “Now it’s the forefront. It’s a catalyst of cities.” 

The art at the WPBD features an eagle and a colorful WBPD logo. 

“This was basically built upon a new brand for the police and a new feel,” said Agee.

Agee said that though he does a lot of work for corporate offices and businesses, he’s never done a project with police or law enforcement before. 

“Doing this project was quite eye-opening,” said Agee. “I walked into the police station, and all of a sudden I got kinda nervous. ... People in my art form don’t give (police) what they’re due. They’re the bad guys to our good guys. 

“Out of all police stations, you got this suburban police station that did something more forward than most police stations in the state,” he said.