JULY 27, 2023
I just been telling 'em "We enjoying today's wins."
“Truthfully... you're making art for the World”
It’s been 2 months since I checked in with y'all. And I must say, it’s been BUSY. That’s what pushing your capacity to the limit looks like. Sometimes that has to be done to see how far you can take it to reach that next level (which looks different for everyone).
Now, let's break it down. For the last 2 months I’ve been working on two public art murals for both the East and West side of Baltimore. The funny thing about mural work is, it takes a lot of prep work and negotiations before the actual execution of the project comes to fruition. Talks for both projects started last fall and we were able to complete them this past June and now July.
First, the Mondawmin Mural. If you’re from Baltimore, you know Mondawmin Mall is important to the city simply for the fact it’s the only main retail shopping mall in Central Baltimore. Not only that, it’s one of the largest transit stations in the city for the bus line + subway line. With so many people traveling there on a daily basis, I just know the impact of what more art shedding a positive message will do for the community. I completed that mural project in late June and the beauty of it was connecting with everyone while painting. Being able to chop it up with people of all walks of life is what makes it fulfilling. I talked to school kids, people whose parents knew Thurgood Marshall, community leaders, and grandparents. Connecting with people through art is an undefeated feeling.
The reactions from the people is what fuels my public art endeavors. The art is my ideas and concepts, but truthfully, you’re making art for the World. You have to keep them in mind when conceptualizing and executing the artwork.
Now let’s get into the timing of these projects. I was slated to complete these projects in the Springtime (April + May to be exact). But of course, original timelines never happen lmao. So, fast-forwarding, we were getting into a pretty expedited timeline. I had to finish the Henderson Hopkins mural (East Baltimore) before summer camp was over. So, between the months of June and mid-July, I had to knock out 2 murals. That’s not impossible, but I would love to have some buffer between projects to decompress.
The Mondawmin Mural project ran from June 1st - June 18th. And next up, was Henderson Hopkins that we started the same day we finished Mondawmin (no days off for real). Henderson Hopkins School is an Elementary/Middle school in East Baltimore. A Johns Hopkins partnership school, Johns Hopkins created this school as a gift to the community after they forced over 500 families to relocate due to their expansion in East Baltimore. The school may not be a 100% cure to that, but it shows how important this school is to the community. Me hearing this history before committing to the walkway mural was enough for me, I was sold. I know the impact this artwork will have on the community, school and children. This project had a different dynamic to it. Since it was a mural at a school, we were surrounded by the motivation and encouragement of school children throughout the project. Children are the future and their outlook on life is so pure and motivating. It kept us going through those 99 degree days and sweltering heat.
This project was publicly funded through Arts Every Day and Maryland State Arts Council. I’m forever grateful for them to provide the capital needed to get this completed. When doing Public Art projects, capital is one of the main components that are vital to the process. Many projects don’t have private funders, so organizations such as these are so important to Public Art and further pushing art to the world.
The reaction that we’ve received from the community, kids, and public leaders have been out of this world. And when you’re creating public art, you have to remember who the art is for. That is so crucial for those types of projects. I think we nailed it from the theme to the messaging of the mural.
I also wanted to give a major shoutout to my brudda Rod (Mr. @RodSzn). He was rockin’ with me for basically the entire first half of the summer. For the Mondawmin + Henderson Hopkins project, he’s been there to assist and provide his mural game expertise, which I truly appreciate. From the dedication to the uncanny methods that are essential to murals, I appreciate having someone in the art game I can lean on. Forever locked in bro!
Most people have been asking me, “what’s next for you?”. And I just been telling ‘em “We enjoying today’s wins.” I really want to live in the moment and enjoy these wins man. A lot of times we are always looking towards tomorrow, we forget what we’ve accomplished today. And that sh*t is major man. I can’t take this lightly and I have to enjoy these accomplishments. We live in a time where we’re on go 24/7 and this year has taught me to slow it down a bit and bask in the present time.
What’s next for me isn’t established yet, but time will tell for sure.
Let art take over the world.