BeautifulNow April 28, 2013
Graffiti gets a bad rap. It’s the red-headed stepchild of the art world. At best, it’s considered a passing fad. At worst, it’s reviled. Graffiti artists are misunderstood creatures. They often hide, with paint-splattered hoods pulled over their heads, creating their art under cover of night, in decisive swipes and dashes, globs and sprays. But perhaps that perception is expanding with projects like Atlanta’s “Elevate South Broad Mural Projects.”
The project began in October, 2012, at the 100 block of South Broad near the intersection of Broad & Mitchell Street, a longtime overlooked block in downtown Atlanta. The city commissioned several street artists to douse the rundown buildings with life and color. Atlanta artists, HENSE, Tilt, Server, and Born, as well as LA artist Push, answered the call to mural.
According to the City of Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs’ website, “Each mural is designed to enliven each building and, in some cases, the businesses within.” The idea for these murals to improve the quality of life in troubled parts of the city, using aesthetics to raise spirits and inspire economic activity.
HENSE and Born are no strangers to enhancing Atlanta’s concrete. They worked together in 2011 to create “Fruition,” a mural, painted along the Atlanta BeltLine, an urban redevelopment effort that is re-using 22 miles of historical railroad corridors circling downtown to connect trails, parks, and neighborhoods.
(Photo Credit: Tim Song)
It isn’t only Atlanta’s streets that are bursting with graffiti murals. One of HENSE’s crowning achievements is the candy-colored church that stands at 700 Delaware Avenue, in Ward 6, a waterfront district of Washington DC. Working under a private commission in 2012, HENSE created a splashy, multi-sided mural that acts as a beautiful exclamation point in a neighborhood where beauty has been hard to find.The wonderfully random chaos of color transformed the abandoned place of worship into an awe-inspiring art installation for the community.
(Photo Credit: HENSE)