"FOR SEEDS TO GROW THEY MUST BE POLLINATED BY MANY"
Another mural for my hometown of Baltimore made possible by Rhizae Renewal Collective which is a project on the adjacent vacant lot in East Baltimore that is experimenting taking lead and toxins out of the soil by use of sunflowers.
The mural represents the community of pollinators the garden has attracted and the life and beauty it provides. Many pollinators are needed for seeds to grow, just like many community members are needed for a child to grow as well.
"THE GIVING TREE"
1111 SE PINE ST. PORTLAND, OR
Painting at Esquela Viva Community School in Portland was a rewarding process! The director of the school asked to have a mural that represented the school as pillar in the community, their commitment to donating produce from their garden to the neighboring homeless shelter, and a place of joy, love, and security for the preschool children who attend the bilingual school.
I wanted the mural to feel story-book-like and like my other work, relate the human experience to something of the natural world. I chose an oak tree, loosely based on the famous Angel Oak in South Carolina, a contorted large fantastical tree to represent the pillar of a community as it would in a forest as the mother tree. Hands appear from either side of the tree as if they are giving. One holds seeds to grow. The other, holds a glowing silhouette of a hummingbird holding a heart shaped key representing love, security, and joy. Children stand around the tree with gifts representing reciprocity. Monarch butterflies flutter about throughout, a nod to the schools Latin American roots and staff.
Big thank you to Angela Garcia, Phil Busse, Stephanie Renfro, and those who independently donated to the project. Major funding provided by The Awesome Foundation and The Regional Arts and Culture Council of Portland - also Portland Parks and Recs for donating native white oak trees to give away!
"ART FOR THE PEOPLE" APRIL 2021
UNITED STATES EMBASSY - BEJING, CHINA
I received an email back in early fall of 2020 asking if I would like to be a part of a project meant to represent the expressive street art of United States artist that often tackle social and environmental issues. Something difficult to do under Chinese censorship. Art for the People is meant to show the Chinese people and government what art can be and say in a diverse country with diverse perspectives like the US where we have such abilities to express ourselves without direct fear of repercussion. (Mostly) There is issues around even photographing the work as a Chinese citizen, work that to me, from an American perspective, is barely pushing the envelope.
The participating artists are
Louis Still Smoking
Michell Angela Ortiz
Detour (Thomas Evans)
Press Release Below:
Behind the storm of daily conflict and crisis, the dramatic confrontations, the tumult of political struggle, the poet, the artist, the musician, continues the quiet work of centuries, building bridges of experience between peoples, reminding man of the universality of his feelings and desires and despairs, and reminding him that the forces that unite are deeper than those that divide.” -U.S. President John F. Kennedy
The U.S. Embassy in Beijing proudly announces the launch of Art for the People, a public art exhibit showcasing street art from the United States. The Art for the People exhibition is the first of its kind to decorate the exterior walls of the Embassy compound. This effort highlights the universal value of freedom of expression, as well as our ongoing commitment to direct engagement with the Chinese public.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken: “We want a U.S.-China relationship that includes space for direct, honest, and robust public engagement. Art for the People represents the diversity of American society. It also embodies our deep commitment to genuine exchange with the Chinese people.”
American cities are home to countless examples of street art--some commissioned and some created organically. All are part of a rich tradition of public art that proves art does not belong only in private museums or galleries. Art is for the people, by the people, and represents public expression at its most fundamental.
The goal of street art is not always beauty; sometimes the art seeks to inspire reflection or spark public reaction. Sometimes it is popular, sometimes it is controversial. The point is to raise awareness of important issues that affect communities, such as immigration, police reform, or drug addiction.
In showcasing 23 examples of street art we do not endorse any particular message. The artists and works on display include the voices of immigrants and visitors to the United States and represent a range of political views and social commentary from communities across the country. We are proud to create a window into this vibrant and critical part of American arts and culture.
Chargé d’Affaires Robert Forden: “Art for the People celebrates freedom of expression. We believe that out of the cacophony of public debate American society emerges stronger and more dynamic.”
The outdoor exhibit is scheduled to remain on display for six months and will also be shared virtually on the Embassy’s Weibo and WeChat accounts.
"THE LARGER SELF" JUNE 2020
INTERSECTION OF N. BROADWAY AND CUTIS STREET