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Renowned Artist Creates Paintings to Raise Funds for Local Restaurants

Tony Roko is selling artwork of bartenders, industry workers to support his favorite Detroit businesses

An image of a painting that shows a female bartender pouring a drink into a cup
“Straight Shot” hangs in Karl’s at the Siren Hotel
Courtesy of the artist

Metro Detroit visual artist Tony Roko has created a series of paintings based on local restaurants and bartenders, which he’s selling to help support is helping some of his favorite businesses in the industry.

The 10 pieces of art are hanging in restaurants such as Grey Ghost, SheWolf, the Apparatus Room, and Karl’s in Detroit with a QR code next to the piece. Customers can scan the code and it will take them to a website where they can purchase a print, and a portion of the proceeds will be given directly to the restaurant to be used as it sees fit. Each print in the series is a signed, limited-run 16-by-20-inch giclée, and costs $100.

“Heavy Pour” by artist Tony Roko shows a bartender with a cigarette in his mouth holding a lighter in one hand and pouring liquor from a bottle in the other hand into a glass
“Heavy Pour” by artist Tony Roko
Courtesy of Tony Roko

Roko says many of his friends and family members work in the restaurant industry and this was a way to help support them. “I’m just trying to come up with concepts that illustrate the hard work and devotion of the restaurant industry workers and the challenges they have faced in the last year,’’ says Roko of the idea.

“The Butcher” by Tony Roko is a painting that shows a butcher in a tall chef’s hat, holding a cleaver in one hand and a live chicken by the neck in another
“The Butcher” by Tony Roko
Courtesy of the artist

A former Ford assembly worker, Roko became the auto company’s plant-resident artist and painted murals in many Ford facilities. His profile has risen in the last 30 years to become one of southeast Michigan’s most well-known and successful painters. He counts Jay Leno and Lady Gaga among his clients.

“Paper Planes” by Tony Roko is a painting of a woman bartender, holding two bottles upside down, pouring liquid into one glass
“Paper Planes” by Tony Roko
Courtesy of the artist


1509 Broadway Street, , MI 48226

Grey Ghost

47 E Watson Street, , MI 48201 (313) 262-6534 Visit Website

The Apparatus Room

250 West Larned Street, , MI 48226 (313) 800-5600 Visit Website


438 Selden Street, Detroit, MI