Wall Therapy firsthand – Part 1

Conor Harrington in progress
Conor Harrington in progress

It seems like all of my friends are up in Rochester at the moment for Wall\Therapy, the mural festival organized by the fantastic Dr. Ian Wilson. I was hoping to go up myself, but instead Caroline and I will be going to Living Walls in Atlanta next month. Daniel “Halopigg” Weintraub is at Wall\Therapy, and he’s been kind enough to share some photos and thoughts with us. For more up the the minute updates, you can keep an eye on Daniel’s instagram. – RJ Rushmore

I arrived in Rochester Monday afternoon and it did not take too long for me to find murals from last year’s Wall\Therapy by renowned artists Roa, Herakut, and Faith47. I checked in as quickly as possible and decided to hit the streets. I popped in the homies LNY and Cern’s coordinates and realized that it was going to a lot easier for me to walk to Cern’s wall, and being a man of constant efficiency I decided that was to be my first stop of the week.

Cern in progress

Cern, aka Cernesto, aka CernYMI, aka CernTWD, was just getting started on his mural and my presence did not help the early progress. With some artists I just like to sit and watch but when Cern is painting the undiagnosed ADD just comes out in both of us. We chilled for a bit but I figured I needed to let the man get to work so I hitched a ride from a nice volunteer over the LNY’s mural across town.

It was at this point when I realized I have a car, and I should be driving my own self around! It is just my instincts to put my car away and forget it when I get to an urban environment; just a heads up, there seems to be ample parking in the ROC as they like to call it here.

LNY in progress

LNY, or Lunar New Year, was stationed in a very residential urban community, and his mural reflects that. In the early stages of his mural you can see Corinthian columns “holding up” the windows of the house, along with images of Trayvon Martin, and Frederick Douglass. LNY has a knack for connecting and communicating with his surroundings, with this mural being no exception. I am very excited to see the progress of this wall, especially since the community has shown such an embrace for the work in the short time it has been up. I can’t tell you the number of honks, thumbs up, and shouts I heard yesterday in the hour and a half that I was there. Community improvement though art is what Wall\Therapy is all about and it is really nice to see it in action.

Following LNY’s completion for the night we hitched a ride to dinner where the entire team of “Wall Therapists” convened for a night of food, drinks, and dancing. The project is off to a great start! Hats off to Ian and his team, you’ve already succeeded in my book!

Ricky Lee Gordon aka Freddy Sam
Ricky Lee Gordon aka Freddy Sam in progress
Mr. Prvrt
Mr. Prvrt
Adam Francey in progress
Adam Francey in progress

Photos by Daniel “Halopigg” Weintraub

Gaia Erases Revisionism in Woodstock


A few weeks ago, Acrylic Walls shared photos of their mural residency in South Africa, which includes artists Gaia, Freddy Sam, Jaz, and Know Hope. Local Freddy Sam has brought together international artists for, what I termed, a love letter to South Africa. However, sometimes love bites back.


One local took to Gaia‘s wall to voice his disapproval of the piece with not enough buff paint. Being an advocate for community and public space, Gaia used what some would view as heartbreaking into an opportunity to engage with the surrounding neighborhood. A hand erasing his Edwardian-animal hybrid has been accompanied by the phrase “revisionisme, uit te vee,” or “to erase revisionism” in Afrikaans. By commenting on the methodologies behind his piece, Gaia acknowledges the temporality of his work as well as its effects on those who, by their proximity to the piece, become forced viewers.

Photos Courtesy of Gaia

Acrylic Walls: A Love Letter to South Africa


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. Continue reading “Acrylic Walls: A Love Letter to South Africa”

I Art Soweto

I Art Soweto is the latest stop for the I Art SA project that Adidas and Ricky Lee Gordon’s A Word of Art have put together. Here’s a film by Rowan Pybus of Makhulu with some of the people of Soweto (a suburb of Johannesburg) and the murals that were made for the project:

Living Walls 2011 – The city speaks

Doodles, Swampy and Greg Mike at Living Walls 2010

Later this month, Atlanta is going to be taken over by street artists from around the world for this year’s edition of the Living Walls conference, Living Walls: the City Speaks. From the 12th-14th of August, there will be film screenings, lectures and artists painting murals around the city. Living Walls have brought together an impressive artist roster from around the world including (but not limited to) Doodles, Swampy, Gaia, Roa, Labrona, OverUnder, Sam3, Freddy Sam, White Cocoa, Nanook, Greg Mike, Paper Twins, Clownsoldier and Gawd. And I can’t complain about the keynote speakers either: Tristan Manco, Gaia, Ricky Lee Gordon and me.

So if you’re in Atlanta, come out check out the opening party at The Sound Table on Friday the 12th, lectures at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia on the 13th during the day, a party at The Goat Farm the night of the 13th and a tour of all the new murals on the 14th. I’ll post more details about exact times later. And of course, I’ll be posting plenty of photos from the conference as well.

In September, another Living Walls event will take place in Albany, NY. More on that later.

Photo by Greg Foster Photography

Weekend link-o-rama

Labrona and Troy Lovegates aka Other in Chile

Freshman year is almost over and soon I’ll be leaving Philadelphia for NYC and London (just for the summer though). And yet, I still have finals to study for, so I didn’t get time to write about these things…

Photo by Labrona