By Centurium Frost, BFA
College for Creative Studies, Detroit, MI
My name is Centurium Frost. This is my real birth name, and yes there is a reason why my name was given to me. Most parents tell their children to go after their dreams or reach for the stars, so mine named me after the Alpha Centauri star system and said “that’s your destination”. Its also loosely related to a Centurion, who were officers of the ancient Roman armies. But for short, you can call me by my nickname, “C”.
I am a 31 year old from Detroit, Michigan, raised most of my life by my father and older sister. My mother passed away in 1990 when I was 5, due to cervical cancer, and then my father remarried when I was 13. My father was co-owner of an electrical supply company. But after my mother’s passing he closed the business down and became a residential electrician, allowing him to create a schedule that filled the void of a parent that was now gone. A work ethic was instilled in me at a young age. I can recall my father telling me stories about me carrying bricks around as a toddler and doing a full electrical service change in my teens. My father kept me busy! He had me involved in any and every activity. Boys & Girls Club, basketball, T-ball, gymnastics, you name it I probably did it. Of all of the activities that I had participated in, the one that I stuck with for 20+ years was martial arts. Being involved in martial arts definitely helped develop discipline and reenforced my work ethic. That discipline rewared me in the form of acquring several black belts/degrees while becoming a lead instructor of different styles and then going on to win a national Kickboxing title.
The other “art” besides martial arts that I was heavily involved in were the visual arts. I was introduced to it by my stepmother. I would watch in amazement as she would doodle on a napkin or make caricature retirement cards for coworkers at her job. It was then that I knew I wanted to make this into a career. I would beg and plead asking her to teach me how to draw and her response was “it’s easy, all it is are shapes”. She encouraged me to keep trying and also bought me art supplies as well as enrolled me in art programs during the summers. I thought going to school for art was going to be fun and easy (You know what they say…if it sounds too good to be true, then IT IS!).
I was a professional collegiate student! My first year was at the College for Creative Studies (CCS) and then transferred to Henry Ford Community College (HFCC). It took me a total of 7 years to obtain my Associates in Fine Arts and another 3 years to obtain my Bachelor with a focus in Illustration. It was during those 10 years I found my passions. At HFCC, a ceramics class was required for the Fine Art degree. I was not fond of this new media or process, but once I was introduced to the potters wheel and glazing, I was addicted! The idea of going from a blob of clay to some type of functional piece was mind blowing to me. Once back at CCS, I still couldn’t “shake” this ceramic thing. So I embraced it and made clay my canvas by digitally creating my illustrations and then applying them using decals.
During my last semester at CCS (winter semester 2013) I was diagnosed with stage III cancer. Receiving news like that is devastating at any age, but at the age of 27 when your 20’s are supposed to be your prime years, it was world shattering. Devastated but not defeated, though Gods grace and favor, I successfully completed 8 rounds of chemotherapy (96 hours of continuous chemo every 3 weeks) while continuing to work part time, go to school, prepare my senior showcase and graduate! I am proud to say that I am in my third year of remission. Experiencing death at a young age and then two decades later almost experiencing my own demise forced me to re-evaluate my life. We are never promised tomorrow so we MUST make good on today. With that mindset I wanted to get my artwork out for the world to see. I didn’t want to establish the victimizing mentality of many artist of “it has to be perfect before I show you”, especially with the age of social media. There is no time better than now.
Towards the end of 2013, I encountered the mother of Paul Rosenberg (Eminem’s manager) at a movie theater in Birmingham, Michigan. Even though she was not Eminem I was still star struck! I mentioned to her that I do art and would really like to give Eminem a piece of my work. She graciously extended the invitation to accept the artwork when it was ready. Before completing the customized mug for him, I was watching FOX 2 Morning News and noticed that the anchors all had their own issued coffee mugs. The thought of “It would be sweet if those were my mugs” came into my mind, and with that I made the entire cast their own customized mugs as well. I delivered the mugs to everyone and then waited to see if I would receive a reply.
December 18, 2013 was the day where everything had changed for me! I had went through my day as normal (being in the studio from early morning until the evening) but noticed that my Facebook activity was unusually busy. I look at the notifications and there are people congratulating me for being on FOX 2. Perplexed at first, I was overcome by sheer disbelief and amazement. I then realized that the cast talked about my work on air!!! They gave me a shout out on air, on their FB page, and sent me an email to give me thanks and express their gratitude. This was the birth of my website Centurium’s Creations! That single moment has been a launching pad for me and my brand! Since then I have personally been interviewed and currently have a piece of my work as a part of the FOX 2 set. My work has been in the Detroit Free Press several times, gotten into boutiques around the Metro Detroit area, featured nationally and internationally, personalized commissions, and now doing whole/retail and vendor shows.
People talk about “living up to your name” when I was younger. Knowing the meaning of my name…that seemed unattainable. I feel that I haven’t reached the Alpha Centauri star system yet, but I am well on my way.