Mercedes-Benz Financial Services


Berlin Inspires Cranbrook Graduate

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

Emerging Artist explores unexpected contrast between concept and materials

Partnering with local art institutions allows Mercedes-Benz Financial Services in the U.S. and Canada to create partnerships that inspire diversity of thought and new ways of thinking. In addition to the exhibitions that display the artists’ work, each year one student from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., is awarded the opportunity to work in Berlin, Germany for two months.

The goal is to support emerging artists through more than just financial donations. By providing artists with an entire experience, the company promotes diversity and a global perspective on artwork.

This is the tenth year Mercedes-Benz Financial Services has given the Emerging Artist Award to a Cranbrook Academy of Art graduate— In 2015, it was presented to Aaron Patrick Decker. Decker, the 2015 metalsmithing graduate, recently returned from his two-month stay at the Kuenstlerhaus Bethanien with new artwork creations, many interesting stories and memories that will last a lifetime. Along with his residency, Decker received a $5,000 expense stipend, a vehicle to use during his stay and an art pass that grants free access to museums in Berlin.

“I went with an idea, but that quickly flipped,” Decker said. “I changed my entire vision and idea after my arrival in Berlin.”

Decker specializes in jewelry-making with a twist of military inspiration. During his residency, he explored a new medium that involved knitting strands of tiny beads to form shapes and garments. He contributes the idea behind his designs to the post-9/11 world and the generation of kids who were born after.

“The inspiration for my work also relates back to the Berlin Wall,” said Decker. “There’s this underlying prejudice between East and West Berlin still alive today. People are pushing against these stereotypes, but also owning and embodying them.”

The opportunity to work in Berlin allowed Decker to take time for himself by exploring Berlin and meeting and collaborating with German artists in the area. Decker hails from the east coast of the U.S., but has decided to remain in Detroit to establish his artistic practice.

The artwork created during Decker’s summer residency in Berlin will be unveiled at the company’s 2015 Experiencing Perspectives art reception in Farmington Hills on Thursday, Oct. 29, from 5 to 7 p.m. To RSVP for the event, visit

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