Transforming Downtown Springfield
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1. Dr. Seuss John Simpson, Holyoke MA
“Dr. Seuss was born a street away at the Howard St. Armory. That's why I painted this mural. I'm trying to show the impact that the City of Springfield might have had on his inspiration. His father was a Superintendent of Parks at the Forest Park Zoo, so I also have an image of the Fairfield Street House which is where he grew up and which is right next to Forest Park. The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins relates to the Howard Street Armory. There's castles in it that remind me of the Armory. I also think Loring Street might have had some impact on his coming up with the Lorax. Dr. Seuss's grandparents owned a Swiss bakery on the corner of Main and Howard Street. The smell of the gas plant across the street was noxious. They made these wonderful pies but the overwhelming smell of the toxic plant might have led Dr. Seuss to a consciousness about pollution and the environment.
We are trying to make downtown Springfield a walkable city and to help make the newly opened riverfront park really exciting. A Seuss mural here helps connect the waterfront to the Seuss Museum at the Springfield Museums.”
John is an art professor at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and has been a frequent collaborator with the City of Springfield as well as the Quadrangle Museums and Symphony Hall creating various art displays. Simpson credits his skill with portraits to realist painter Gregory Gillespie who Simpson trained with for a while. He also learned from Tibetan Tongka artist Kalsang Lodoe Oshoe and German painter Emil Schnorr.
2. Damien Mitchell, New York, NY
“It's been awesome to paint this mural here. Travis's cousin Jay is an artist and come by to lend a hand almost every day It seems that it's worked like a place for people to meet each other and develop connections and a sense of common understanding.”
Since Springfield is the birthplace of basketball, Damian created this mural based on photographs he took of Travis Best, a Springfield native and current resident that played in the NBA. Damien is originally from Australia, but now resides in Brooklyn. He started his street art career focused on stencil art, and this aesthetic continues to influence his larger scale free-hand work. Damien has painted murals across the US, Latin America, Europe, and Australia.
http://www.damienmitchell.com/ IG: @damien__mitchell
“It's great working on street, and it’s always a challenge. You're going to run into some pretty interesting people and you'll have stories to tell for the rest of your life. I love doing flowers, and I thought to myself that in this neighborhood, flowers would bring some tranquil, positive vibes. And so far, so good. I just wanted to do something that was easy on the eyes and make people smile. And I've gotten a lot of good feedback from people loving the flowers. I'm glad to be a part of Springfield’s first mural festival - hopefully the first of many.”
Nero is a self-taught, multifaceted artist with over 24 years of experience.Nero was drawn to the graffiti world early on as a pre-teen. Living in New York, the graffiti culture was around every corner, and Nero found the murals that decorated the walls of the city were intoxicating. With so much art, history and culture Nero’s passion to explore his own talents began.Nero has been painting walls since 1994, and has been working as a tattoo artist since 2006.
4. Home, Here / En Casa by GoodSpace Murals, Minneapolis, MN
“We develop our murals through a collaborative process that starts with listening to residents and what images and ideas are important to them. This is a very beautiful and unique community and it's been an honor to work with them and make a big mural that celebrates who they are and their identity visible to the downtown community since it is so hidden in these towers.
The mural is based on community conversations that we had with residents in the Chestnut Towers community room. We also had a photoshoot of the residents so we could incorporate them into the design. From those conversations we just got the sense of how much of a home this place is, more so than just an apartment complex, or Section 8 housing, or downtown housing. This is a community that takes care of each other. And since so many of the residents are Puerto Rican, an important theme is their pride in being Puerto Rican. They're really proud of this space. And, we've been made to feel so welcome and at home, and people have shared so much with us. That's what allowed us to create a mural this big, this fast. The way we have been embraced by this community has been a dream for us.”
GoodSpace Murals promotes community development through the creation of works of art. They engage the community in their mural design and painting process, and use art to promote community development and reclaim residents’ stories and identity within public spaces. Greta McLain is the Artistic Director of GoodSpace and has over 10 years of mural making experience focused on exploring the ways that art can bring communities together, the power of visual language to activate voice, and the potential of art as a vehicle for hands-on organizing and educating. She traveled to South America and Europe to study new and traditional techniques. She has created projects in and around Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Memphis, Philadelphia, Argentina, Mexico, and France.
http://goodspacemurals.com/ IG: @goodspacemurals
5. GeoUtopia by Kim Carlino, Northampton, MA
“I work with geometric abstraction and improvisation. I wanted to do something like this in Springfield because I wanted to bring a sense of color, vibrancy, and playfulness. This mural is one big riff on itself. I start from one place and then all the other elements develop in relation to the one before. When I have been painting, everybody wants to come up to me and talk to me about their experience with art and creativity, and that’s exactly what this mural is about. It's a celebration of imagination. And I think that's the power of an abstract mural - it can become different things to each person.”
Kim describes herself as an interventionist, mining the space between painting and drawing. She explores the evolutionary nature of mark making and relationships between color, geometry, line and form. Her work playfully employs shifts of scale and illusion in hopes of finding balance and unity in disparate elements. Kim’s work is represented in several galleries, and she has done public murals in Springfield, Easthampton and New York City.
https://kimcarlinoart.com/ IG: @kimcarlinoart
7. "Ellos se van con el éxodo aunque no se quieren ir" By Colectivo Morivivi, Puerto Rico (part 1)
“The two murals will dialogue with each other and try to serve as windows into the two parts of Puerto Rico: the diaspora and those who still live in Puerto Rico. On Taylor Street, you can see a fort at the very beginning, the city, and mangrove and then three young girls that gaze in different directions, and one that looks at the spectator. In the water there will be a message that blends in with the shapes of the water: "Ellos se van con el éxodo aunque no se quieren ir" which means "They leave with the exodus although they don't really want to".
On Hampden Street is a woman and her child in a daily scene, a window into their home. Instead of clothes, she hangs newspapers that have different headlines related to the life of Puerto Ricans. On the street signs we can read: "Brincar el Charco" which means "Jumping the pond” which is an expression Puerto Ricans use to refer to when they move to the US. In the other direction it reads "Pedacito de Tierra” which means "Little piece of land" and refers to a place to call home in Puerto Rico, and which is pointing towards the other mural."
Colectivo Moriviví is a collective of four young female artists, located in Santurce, PR. They have gained recognition for the creation of murals designed in collaboration with community groups and which focused on the human condition, issues of social justice and the Puetro Rican identity. They have created murals in multiple cities in Puerto Rico, as well as in New York City, Buffalo, Chicago, Holyoke, China and Tasmania.
https://www.colectivomorivivi.com/ IG: @colectivo_morivivi
8. Beast in the Paint by Wane One, New York City, NY
Wane One is known for his bold color schemes and abstract designs which draw from classic graffiti styles. In this piece, he pays tribute to Springfield as the birthplace of basketball.
Wane One has painted in mural festivals all over the world, including Germany, Holland, Denmark, Australia, Norway, Sweden, Japan, France, South Africa. Within the U.S. Wane One has painted in many mural festivals, including in New York City, Miami, Albuquerque, Detroit, and San Diego. Wane One has been commissioned by Nike, Reebok, New Balance, Nintendo, RYU and Budweiser.
http://waneone.com/ IG: @waneonecod
6. Victory by Andrae and Priya Green, Springfield MA
“Andrae and I are married and individually we're both painters. Our backgrounds and our wheelhouse is as studio fine artists, so we normally work on canvasses. This is the first time we've been able to do a mural where we can do whatever design we wanted. Both Andrae and I live in Springfield, so being part of the mural festival is really important to us. We're raising our son in the city and really happy to contribute to the city in this positive way.
As we have been painting, it’s been interesting to see that people try to figure out who the girls are and what the words are on the sash. And, it's skewed or elongated. It's not necessarily a fast read -it sets up a kind of puzzle or riddle for people. You have to be in front of it for a while to figure out what it is about. Our answer is that it's two pageant girls, two children. They're winners of a beauty pageant. Usually you get one winner, but here there's two. The idea we have in mind for this is 'working together and winning together.' We felt it was something positive. We call it Victory.” – Priya Nadkarni-Green
Andrae Green obtained his MFA in Painting at the New York Academy of Art. Andrae’s paintings have been shown internationally in the US, Jamaica, Canada, China and France. In 2013, 2015, and 2017 Andrae was selected as a part of the American delegation that represented the US at the Salon de Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, at the Carrousel du Louvre in Paris, France. Priya Nadkarni Green received her MFA in Painting from University of Massachusetts Amherst and her BFA in Printmaking from Rutgers University. She has shown her work in both solo and group exhibitions and she is a recipient of the international Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant as well as a fellowship from the University of Massachusetts, and was a 2013 artist-in-residence at the Blue Mountain Center.
www.andraegreen.com IG: @andraegreenestudios
7. "Ellos se van con el éxodo aunque no se quieren ir" By Colectivo Morivivi, Puerto Rico (part 2)
9. Springfield Sanctuary by Ryan Murray, Springfield MA
”Like all other forms of street art, stencils are confrontational in nature and hard to look away from; and thus, the subject matter must be equally unflinching. In most of my work I concern myself with abandoned buildings, streets, and the under-representation of mental health issues in African-American communities, using both autobiographical and pop culture elements --- at times revealing hidden beauty and at other times unearthing unsettling but important conversations. But for this mural, since it is in Union Station, I focused on Springfield's history as a stop on the Underground Railroad. I felt that this was an important topic because as Springfield's historic landmarks get torn down and replaced with new developments, the importance of its history and people must not be forgotten.”
Ryan studied art and psychology at Carnegie Mellon.
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