Contestants Announced for the Detroit MSBE 2017

The Middlecott Sketchbattle Experiment is billed as “THE Fight Club of Design” so it only makes sense if we start with some iconic Joe Louis images.  Covering 3 rounds of competition, the 18 contestants will be fighting head-to-head to earn the Title Belt and be crowed the Ultimate Sketchmaster.  Last year’s winner was from Los Angeles, and this year the designers from Detroit are looking to earn the title back, especially as the winner from our recent event is at the Los Angeles Auto Show, John Frye is flying in to take the belt back. Read on to meet the contestants…..

Darby Barber

All you need to know about our first contestant can be found in the profile we did when she won the 2015 Sketchbattle in Detroit.  Since then Darby graduated, got a job, and continues to work on her monster Miata.

Ian Bass

Ian Bass gets second billing here mainly because we are showcasing the competitors in alphabetical order.  Ian is originally from Superior, Wisconsin so the cold Detroit temperatures should make him feel right at home and perhaps give him a step-up on the competition.  He will be graduating nest year from the College for Creative Studies and is spending his spare time interning at Faurecia.  This is only the most recent design intern experience as he previously also interned at Kesta Aircraft Company.  You can see more of Ian’s work on his website.


Ian Broekman

Next up is Ian Broekman from Dearborn, Michigan who is currently a student at Lawrence Technological University and also planning to graduate next year.  Ian has interned at Ford and General Motors and is currently the Lead Creative Designer at Mil-Spec Automotive.  “Mil-Spec utilizes the iconic HMMWV Hummer to build street legal off-road machines that will conquer any condition.”


Clay Davis


Clay is from Kentucky and is currently a designer at an unnamed OEM.  While his profile is under-the-radar we can divulge he graduated from the Transportation Track program at the University of Cincinnati, College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning.  He interned at New Balance and Aspen Medical products before settling into his career in automotive design.


Aurel Francois

We are still waiting for Aurel’s profile but we do know he graduated from ISD (France) in 2007 now called Rubika.  You can see Aural’s portfolio here.


John Frye

John A. Frye developed a passion for all things that have wings, jets, engines or wheels while growing up in Bend, Oregon and went on to study Transportation Design at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. With experience designing vehicles for Hasbro,  Activision, and Boeing, John established a career at Honda R&D where he is currently Principal Designer, group leader of digital modeling group. Over nearly 20 years, he has been a part of the development of many models and showcars such as Honda JV-X, Spocket, Ridgeline, Element, Acura RDX Concept, Acura TL and NSX. John was designated design project lead on the 2003 Acura CL, Studio-E Concept, and 2005 Civic Si Concept. He spends his spare time collecting vinyl records, sketching like a man possessed, and eating ramen. John teaches the Concept Vehicle Design course at Concept Design Academy in Pasadena. Check out John’s portfolio herehis art here and his Instagram here.


Ryan Goimarac

Ryan was born in Colombia, South America and is now living in Rochester, MI.  His passion is drawing cars and creating fresh and interesting designs, but that is not where his artistic life started.  Ryan hoped his Bachelors for Media Arts degree from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh was going to lead to a  career at Pixar or Marvel – but the year he graduated (2007) was a terrible year for the economy and strikes in the creative industry led to him following his father’s footsteps into the auto industry.  A second degree from The Center for Creative Studies has led him to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles – but not in the design field – in engineering.  Ryan is hoping his passion and efforts lead him to a design position soon and judging from his portfolio we believe it is right around the corner.  View more of Ryan’s work here and his Instagram here.


Randy Hjelm

Next up is a Sketchbattle regular having competed in a few previous events.  Randy Hjelm is from Arco Idaho and is currently a student at the Center for Creative Studies. He is an intern in the Ram truck Studio at Fiat Chrysler.  His favorite quote?  “Intellect is Beauty” but we are still waiting for his profile and portfolio.


Aaron Hughes

Aaron Hughes is from Salt lake City, Utah and earned his Bachelor of Fine Art from the College from Creative Studies.  He began his artistic journey at a very young age, drawing all kinds of airplanes and spacecraft, largely because he grew up next to an air force base.  After college he worked for multiple consultancies and design firms across the country such as Nike, Microsoft, HP, Samsung, Callaway Golf etc. but has been focusing his efforts on branching out on his own and starting his own design studio.


Chris Kim

Check back soon for more details about Chris.  In the mean time check out Chris’ Behance and his blog.


Katie Kleinhenz

Katie Kleinhenz is a student at the College for Creative Studies and checks Ann Arbor is her hometown (but with a name like Kleinhenz we know better).  Check back soon for more details about Katie.


Jonie Juan Lopez

Check back soon for more details about Jonie.


Jack Morris

Jack Morris is a design student at The Humber  Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  You can find Jack’s Behance here.


Justin Salmon


Justin received his degree from the College of Creative Studies in 2015 and has since been employed by an OEM working in their Detroit Design Studio.

Kurt Scanlan

Kurt is another student from Humber in Toronto and is currently working at Eventscape.


Siddhartha Shah

Siddhartha Shah is 18 years old and studies Transportation Design at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. He told us he has learned the “technique of quality sketching using the right materials, under the guidance of incredible professors”. Siddhartha is originally from Sacramento, California, but did his schooling in Pune, India. He enjoys playing tennis, cycling, and exploring different places.  his


Casey Swasenger

Casey is a designer at a Detroit-area OEM and has previously worked and interned at Hasbro, Fiat-Chrysler and Fisher Price.  He graduated from the Cleveland Institute of Art with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Industrial and Product Design.

Jason White

Jason White is our final contestant and also a veteran Sketchbattle participant as he has competed in a previous Detroit event.

ted_4270So there you have the contestants.

 Pick a favorite and make sure to root for them on Tuesday night.

You can find your tickets here.



About Frank Schwartz

Frank Schwartz is the founder of and Advanced Automotive Consulting Services, partner in The Middlecott Sketchbattle Experiment and serial entrepeneur. A long time automotive enthusiast, Frank started reading car magazines at the age of 8 and has spent 30+ years working inside the automotive industry. In his spare time Frank races with the Sports Car Club of America, spends time working on his numerous project cars and supports many local charities.
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