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American Tent and Awning Graffiti
The west-facing American Tent and Awning graffiti wall was created by the DF Crew in 2012 as a part of the annual Subsurface Graffiti Expo.
Subsurface is an event that showcases mural and graffiti artists from all over America and beyond. Since 2002, artists have traveled to Indianapolis every Labor Day weekend to create work and build community. Subsurface seeks to advance the art form through beautifying and revitalizing the landscape of the Fountain Square neighborhood specifically. Subsurface also seeks to raise social and cultural awareness and promote the arts as an institution of empowerment for all involved.
The DF Crew has influenced the graffiti landscape all over the world with innovative styles and was a major contributor to the early ’90s production era. Kwaze, Rapes, Emit, Ewok, Jick, Vogey, and Dero (known as an NYC subway legend) are among some of the artists showcased on this Southside graffiti wall.
The artist who once occupied this building, John Domont, painted the mural both as a demonstration of his skill and as a tribute to rural Indiana.
Bee Mindful: They are Important
Given the opportunity to paint whatever she liked on the wall of this Jiffy Lube store, the artist chose to depict the importance of bees and their drastic drop in population because of herbicides, pesticides, deforestation, and urbanization. When bees are gone, everything in the world, including humans, will cease to exist. True to her style, the artist depicted an illusion of the wall breaking open to reveal a honeycomb, with several bees in various states of maturity flying out from it. The final “bee” is a baby in a bee costume holding a heart balloon, to indicate the importance of bees to human life. The bees appear to be flying towards a giant sunflower, with a world globe in its center.
Although not apparent to the casual viewer, the artist also added several details that ground the mural in the time (summer 2019) and place it was painted and reflect her personal concerns. A careful look at the globe in the sunflower reveals red and orange areas in the depiction of South America, to indicate fires in the Amazon rainforest that were in the news at the time. There is also a tiny hurricane in the Caribbean–indicating Hurricane Dorian, which was just forming at the time and was projected to be one of the most devastating hurricanes in recent memory–and a dot indicating Indianapolis. The baby was created to be of an indeterminate race, and the pattern in the wings of the baby’s bee costume is reminiscent of the chain link fences that controversially characterize conditions in immigrant holding camps along the U.S.’s southern border, also in the news while the mural was being created. All together, they reveal an artist who is passionately devoted to the health of the world and moved by crises that are damaging to humanity.
Pamela Bliss is an Indianapolis-based artist specializing in large-scale, photorealistic murals.
Bee Mindful… was created through a partnership between Jiffy Lube of Indiana and the Arts Council of Indianapolis. The partnership is an opportunity to showcase local artists, beautify commercial corridors with original public art murals, and encourage viewers through positive images while expressing the goals of Jiffy Lube’s programming: Growing People Through Work.
James Whitcomb Riley
Located on the north-facing wall of the American Tent and Awning Company building, this FAB Crew mural features the “Hoosier Poet” James Whitcomb Riley. Created for the Old Southside Neighborhood Association, the mural was unveiled at a Neighborhood Party in June of 2015. The quote depicted from Riley states, “The ripest peach is highest on the tree.”
The mural’s bold images are representative of the dynamic colors and design that 6Cents and Sacred317 have created over their 17 years together as Fab Crew. Though both are trained in fine art and commercial design, graffiti art remains the driving force behind their creativity.
American Tent and Awning has a history of over 100 years in Indianapolis, and was founded by Charles J. Truemper, a German immigrant, in 1873. Truemper was a personal friend of James Whitcomb Riley, and it is said that Riley would frequently visit Truemper in his office when American Tent and Awning was originally located near the Lockerbie neighborhood.
Koch's Electric Graffiti Wall
As one of the few sanctioned graffiti walls left in Indianapolis, IN, Koch’s Electric graffiti wall stands as a testament to the talent of the young, aspiring graffiti community as well as the more well-known graffiti writers in the area. Constantly changing, this living wall has represented the very nature of the art form and the state of graffiti in Indianapolis since 2003.
The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art partnered with Christel House Academy to bring art into this Near Southside neighborhood. A grant from the Christel DeHaan Family Foundation allowed the Eiteljorg to connect students at the Christel House Academy with Native American photographer and installation artist, Will Wilson (Diné), for a mural project that not only introduced students to art and indigenous cultures, but it also helped them give back to the Indianapolis community by beautifying a neighborhood building. As part of the project, Wilson talked to the students about Diné culture and the influence of his culture on his art.
Mihtohseenionki means “the people’s place” in the Miami language, referring to what local indigenous peoples (the Miami, Delaware, Potawatomi, and others) think of the Indiana region.
The students assisted Wilson in tracing and filling in the mural celebrating the Indians of Indiana. The mural, which was placed on a vacant building, was created in part of Christel House Academy’s efforts to bring a multicultural education to their students.
William (Will) Wilson is a Diné photographer who spent his formative years living in the Navajo Nation. Born in San Francisco in 1969, Wilson studied photography at the University of New Mexico (Dissertation Tracked MFA in Photography, 2002) and Oberlin College (BA, Studio Art and Art History, 1993). In 2007, Wilson won the Native American Fine Art Fellowship from the Eiteljorg Museum, and in 2010 was awarded a prestigious grant from the Joan Mitchell Foundation. Wilson has held visiting professorships at the Institute of American Indian Arts (1999-2000), Oberlin College (2000-01), and the University of Arizona (2006-08). From 2009 to 2011, Wilson managed the National Vision Project, a Ford Foundation funded initiative at the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts in Santa Fe, and helped to coordinate the New Mexico Arts Temporary Installations Made for the Environment (TIME) program on the Navajo Nation. Read more about Wilson at http://willwilson.photoshelter.com/index
Montessori Garden Academy Mural
This whimsical mural of flowers and wild life on south wall of school was designed by illustrator Penelope Dullaghan and executed by artist Carl Leck.
Play is not just a frivolous pastime; it has the potential to serve as an important tool in numerous aspects of daily life for children and adults alike. Not only does play promote and aid in physical development, but it also aids in cognitive development and social skills. Simply thinking about play can bring a sense of relaxation and an opening of the mind to new possibilities.
Artist Carl Leck has tapped into the benefits of play for everyone, by offering fun memories of childhood in a bright and engaging underpass mural. Larger-than-life toys greet passers-by and bring a smile to their faces. The design was inspired by the horizontal concrete seams that cover the entire concrete area: he chose not to ignore them, but to convert them into oversized Lego blocks and use their regularity as a bold contrast to the soft, curvy elements of the toys.
Leck is an Indianapolis-based painter and graphic designer. For more information about his mural work, visit http://www.carlleck.net/about-web2011.htm
Subsurface 2005 Mural
As one of the few remaining early Subsurface murals, this exploding water main represents the beginnings of the annual graffiti expo and the exploration of street art style in Indianapolis.
Subsurface is an event that showcases mural and graffiti artists from all over America and beyond. Since 2002, artists have traveled to Indianapolis every Labor Day weekend to create work and build community. Subsurface seeks to advance the art form through beautifying and revitalizing the landscape of Indianapolis’ urban neighborhoods. Subsurface also seeks to raise social and cultural awareness and promote the arts as an institution of empowerment for all involved.
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