Last week a family friend contacted me about painting a family tree on their wall. I’ve never painted anything larger than a 12-by-16 inch surface. 12-by-16 FEET is absolutely unknown territory. Naturally I turned to google and began researching popular precedents. Style, color palette, type of paint, brushes, surface, cost, etc. I had a human moment and got distracted for a while admiring other people’s art. I love when people make their work the entire community’s business. At times art communicates more adequately than words, and today’s society knows it.
I can find a mural everywhere I go promoting the city, a cause or a company. Today people use art as a communications tool to connect the dots between people and common interests. I came across a clever mural that Nike created for a relay in Pennsylvania. A common interest among all ages no matter where you go is music. A form of art itself, music gives people something to relate to and a way to express themselves. Being able to make or break a day, I hear people swear by their playlists all the time. Nike took music and athletics and incorporated both into a giant interactive mural that states “Break Tapes. Shatter Records.” I’m a fan of wordplay, and I’m also a fan (and jealous) of clever people/companies. Companies that show they can understand and relate to their relevant publics are successful.
We love pictures! We’re raised on them from picture books, and now we’re glued to them on our Instagram accounts. There’s even a Banksy mural to prove it. If Banksy painted it, I believe it. Murals have become an increasingly effective way to get messages across. If you’re interested in art and communication, and you haven’t checked out the artist JR, I highly recommend doing so. JR has made a variety of statements to his audiences across the world through his own murals of portrait shots. A couple noteworthy projects are “Women Are Heroes,” which pays tribute to women who play a crucial role in society but are primary victims of war, crime, rape, and political or religious fanaticism in seven different countries. “The Wrinkles of the City” acknowledges and appreciates the history of six countries, and “Face to Face,” his largest illegal photography exhibition done in Palestine and Israel, asks both countries why they can’t get along. JR received a Ted Prize and is a favorite of mine. Illegal? Yes. Criminal? Absolutely not.
So back to my being distracted, I was looking up murals and noted a handful around the world that I’m aiming to travel and see someday. They’re all over the place. Maybe some are close to you! Here’s the first ten from my “Walls of Wonder” list if you’re looking for some inspiration for your own, enjoy!
- Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo – 5200 Woodward Avene, Detroit
- Banksy Mural: Peaceful Hearts – San Francisco
- Os Gemeos – Boston
- Open Walls Baltimore -Baltimore
- Daniel Johnston Mural – Austin, Texas
- JR and Inside Out Project – 1568 Broadway, New York, New York 10036
- Banksy Airstrike Mural – San Francisco
- The Bushwhack Collective – Troutman St at St. Nicholas Ave, Brooklyn
- DDB Mural – 126 Putnam Ave, New York
- Mama Ayesha’s – 1967 Calvert St. NW Washington