Beginning in late December of 2012 and stretching into the new year, Freddy Sam brought together a group of artists known for creating art that engages their surroundings. The project, titled Acrylic Walls, is associated with his organization A Word of Art, which has been fostering contemporary art in the area through community outreach since 2009. While this project has the familiar ring of other blockbuster mural programs, such as Open Walls Baltimore, Freddy Sam has added a component that hopes to reach a larger audience than those who will immediately come into contact with their murals: a diary-like Tumblr for all on which all of the artists can contribute.
The Tumblr for Acrylic Walls allows all of the participating artists to post photos from their adventures as they travel from city to city painting and engage themselves with their surroundings. Whether they are recounting adventures in stick and poke tattoos, museums, or sharing stories of people they encounter, each artist brings a dimensionality to not only themselves, but this program through their photography. By sharing funny moments alongside those of poverty and historicism, Acrylic Walls gives an intimate and insightful view of personalities of the artists as well as the cities where they find themselves.
More photos after the jump.
Engaging with themes of poverty, apartheid, and colonization, Gaia, Jaz, Know Hope, and Freddy Sam traveled to prominent cities in the area, such as Cape Town and Johannesburg, to bring the citizens face to face with divisive issues from its past and present. By pairing a local artist, Freddy Sam, alongside those from outside the area, these murals become an embodiment of the city, rather than being seen entirely as the work of outsiders. By delving into history in their adventures with their host, the muralists were able to glean information from local cultural institutions in addition to their host.
In addition to being able to follow each artist on their adventures, the Tumblr also gives those interested insight into the mind of the muralists. For example, one could follow back through the archives to see Gaia researching apartheid and colonialism for this specific mural. Then, no matter where you were located, you could follow as he and Freddy Sam built layers, outlines, and shaded their way through this Edwardian figure. While Tumblr may be primarily seen as a way to access whatever easily consumable thing is cool this minute, Freddy Sam and Acrylic Walls have utilized the platform to its potential.
In addition to cataloguing their adventures, minds, and murals, the group have been updating it with progress of their studio work. The final component of this program will be an exhibition of the pieces created during their residency with A Word of Art. These pieces will be exhibited January 24th- March 9th with an opening from 7-10pm on the 24th.
All photos courtesy of Acrylic Walls