Navigating Artistry with “The Urban Explorer”

Deavron Dailey, also known as “The Urban Explorer,” is a Pittsburgh-based visual mixed media artist who moved to the Steel City from Detroit, Michigan. His range of artistic talent includes screen printing, painting, ceramics, writing, and more.

With 10 completed public art works and installations, you may be familiar with some of his projects that are displayed around the city. One of his most popular pieces was a ceramic, stainless steel painting, “The Arms of East Liberty,” mounted on the side of the Duolingo building in East Liberty. You can also spot his work on the North Side, where he was recently selected as one of 12 artists to create an installation led by the Art Supply Co. for a new facility at the Community College of Allegheny County.

A smiling Black man with short dark hair, a subtle closely-shaved beard, wearing a blue button-down shirt and a tan jacket. Behind him in a colorful tiled artwork
Artist Deavron Dailey inside his studio at the Union Project // Photo by Patrick Fisher

Deavron utilizes his diverse artistic mediums to curate conversations around architecture, social justice, and urban renewal. His work assists in the revitalization of community spaces, helping to restore our appreciation of our surrounding world.

We asked The Urban Explorer to reflect on his creative career. (This interview has been condensed for space and clarity.)

A ceramic plate with a 3D ceramic flower at each end bookending the word "inspiration" written in cursive
Artwork by Deavron Dailey // Photo by Patrick Fisher

When did you recognize yourself as an artist?
Identifying as an artist was a natural occurrence that needed to happen in order to provide a means of personal sustainment and viability for my creativity. I began to consciously identify as an artist before relocating to Pittsburgh. I have been creating art since a very small child and grew up with friends who shared my same desire to constantly be creative. My decision to relocate removed me from lifelong relationships and what felt like my comfort zone.

What inspires you to create?
What inspires me to create is the opportunity for self-expression, the positive impact art can have on society, and its ability to stimulate dialogue and form meaningful relationships. I believe creating art is the biggest contribution I can provide to help make the world better and more interesting.

Are there consistent themes that influence your work?
Some of the recurring themes and concepts that can be found in my work are the use of maps as canvasses, social justice, and floriography (the language of flowers and what they symbolize). I also explore the comparisons and contrasts of Detroit and Pittsburgh, with special interest given to the difference in landscape, social climate, and periods of economic hardships and triumphs. There is so much to learn from the histories of these two artistic and industrial cities.

Framed artwork of a Black woman with her arms crossed looking out a window that displays a world map instead of a typical exterior view
"Familial Wisdom" by Deavron "The Urban Explorer" Dailey // Photo by Patrick Fisher

How has your style evolved over time?
Over time my style has evolved to include many forms of artistic media, scalable to be included in the realm of public art, and has become adaptable to be utilized for non-traditional applications and projects.

How do you know when a work is finished?
Based on the initial inspiration, I envision what a completed artwork will look like before starting. I then determine which forms of media will accurately depict the feeling of mood, interest, inspiration, or discourse that was evoked within me to create the artwork and achieve the desired outcome.

Bright yellow tiles splattered with abstract patterns of red, black, and bluish gray paint
Artwork by Deavron Dailey // Photo by Patrick Fisher

What would a world without art look like?
Since art is found in every aspect of our lives, directly and indirectly, a world without it would be far less advanced and lack context as to who we are as humans on this plane of existence. To live in a world without art would be in direct conflict with who we are and make the gift of being alive far less rewarding and enjoyable.

How do you believe the Pittsburgh art community can encourage and support your career growth?
The Pittsburgh art community can encourage and support my career growth by presenting me with more opportunities to create large-scale public artworks and commissions to add more beauty and distinction to our surroundings. I would appreciate more opportunities beyond the region for professional development and networking so that I may return and share what I learn with the community. Lastly, a role within an arts organization will allow me to make use of the wide range of creative professional development experiences I have accumulated throughout the years, thereby making me a more valuable member of our art ecosystem.

See more of Deavron’s work at


Artist Profile