East St. Louis man creates art with shell casings to combat gun violence

Mykael Ash sits among his art pieces
Photo credit Whitney Curtis for KHN News

As the amount of shootings in the U.S. climbs higher every year, an East St. Louis artist wants to draw attention to gun violence. Mykael Ash is creating art made out of shell casings that he collects from around his city.

Cara Anthony, a reporter for KHN, shared Ash’s story in an interview. She told KMOX what drew her to Ash’s work, and what it was like learning about his pieces.

“He grew up going to visit his grandfather at the Mississippi Gulf Coast where he would pick up seashells. And so he spent much of his childhood, adulthood in East St. Louis, and he kept seeing bullet shells on the ground,” Anthony said. “And he just thought, ‘You know what, I love art, I need to find a way to incorporate this into my artwork.’ And then he came up with an entire series that really challenges people to think about the present and the past.”

In addition to his art created by bullet casings, Ash has painted murals throughout the city, and more. "He's turning the lemons into lemonade," Anthony said. "You know, he's turning these bullets into something beautiful, parts of the city into something beautiful. And he really believes that East St. Louis will thrive again."

Read Cara Anthony’s original story on Mykael Ash here.

Listen to her interview on KMOX about the story:

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Credit: KHN