A few months ago I had an idea to bring together my favorite contemporary artists to contribute large beautiful pieces of art in public space for all of my city to enjoy...
On Tuesday March 17, my big idea materialized before me as I watched my Jersey City neighbor Ron English spray stencils on the wall of Hudson County Art Supply at the corner of First and Coles Street in downtown Jersey City. This is the very first mural to take place since I conceived of this program in November 2008. My goal is to have 5 murals by the end of summer 2009.
For the very first mural, Ron went above and beyond to make sure this project started with a big bang. He invited west coast artist Jason Maloney and Brooklyn's long-haired Kiss-lovin' giant, Bigfoot, to join him on a collaborative improv jam at Hudson County Art Supply. The results of their combined talents were nothing short of stunning, as the colors and characters were so bright and crisp, they looked like they were jumping off of the wall.
One of my beliefs behind this project was that fun, joyful art could actually unite communities. I watched people of all ages and ethnicities stand side by side on the sidewalk, smiling as they watched the guys plot and paint. Several people from the neighborhood, who happened upon the work in progress, pitched in to assist the artists any way they could. I saw parents and children stop at the mural, go home, and then return with cameras to take pictures of the wall together. The diversity of the crowds that gathered to watch the live painting was my confirmation that art can bring all kinds of different people together peacefully. Even the mayor stopped by to give the city's nod to the project.
Below are photos of transformation of the wall, and the artists at work. I scoped it out the previous evening with Jason and Ron as they came up with a very loose plan of their art attack.
Big Thank You to Ron English, Bigfoot, and Jason Maloney. Of course a special thank you to John, Carlos, and Hudson County Art Supply for their wall and generous donation of paint and supplies. Thanks also go out to Greg Brickey at the Department of Cultural Affairs!
Enjoy these first photos, which were taken by me, Dylan Evans, except the group photo with the Mayor which was taken by Irene Borngraeber.
Please give a photo credit and link to this site if you'd like to use them. (Click on the photo to enlarge..)