News / Arts & Entertainment

Street Artists Create Huge Murals

Street Artists Create Huge Muralsi
X
January 10, 2014 12:44 AM
Street art has reached new heights in Washington, DC. The sides of an empty building have become the canvas for huge murals by street artists. Their creations will last only a few months since the building will be torn down as part of an urban renewal project. But VOA’s Deborah Block tells us, the artists don’t mind and are actually looking forward to the demolition, to show that street art rarely lasts.
Deborah Block
Street art has reached new heights in Washington, DC. The sides of an empty building have become the canvas for huge murals by street artists. Their creations will last only a few months since the building will be torn down as part of an urban renewal project. But, the artists don’t mind and are actually looking forward to the demolition, to show that street art rarely lasts.

Washington street artist Kelly Towles is putting the finishing touches on this mural. He created it with fellow muralist Jasper Wong from Hawaii.  Towles says they wanted to create a fantasy that would make people smile.

“It is two characters basically playing an old child’s game of cat’s cradle, which is a game with two people doing intricate things with a string around each other’s hands. The character on the left is the dinosaur, which is from Jasper Wong, and the character on the right is just a hooded, masked figure created by myself," said Towles.

Besides spray paint, they used paint rollers to create the mural. They worked on it for three weeks, with help from other artists.
 
On another wall, a pair of Australians, who call themselves Dabs Myla, created this bat-like creature.

Towles came up with the idea of painting street art on the building. He approached Forest City real estate company, which is tearing it down as part of urban revitalization in the area. Gary McManus, Vice President for Marketing, says the company commissioned the artwork.

“We thought it was an opportunity to have a kind of fleeting art installation and it would be compelling for people to come down to see it. It didn’t have a lot of windows and it was white to begin with so it was a wonderful canvas," said McManus.

The project, known as Art Yards, began not with a mural, but with Towles pouring a cascade of colors.

“It’s an awesome experience when you actually propose something to someone, and be like ‘Hey, let me dump a bunch of paint down the side of their building,’ and they’re like “Yeah," he said.

Like Towles, Baltimore street artist Michael Kirby creates colorful fantasies - only his are on the ground.

“I want to inspire them, to educate them, to see the world in a different light maybe," said Kirby.

 On the Art Yard’s parking lot, which will also be destroyed, he created a fishbowl with a castle inside.

“I wanted to create something underwater and so I came up with the idea of creating some sort of fantastical fish bowl and instead of goldfish, I had sea monsters," he said.

Kirby is known for his 3D artwork.

“The whole idea is to stretch the whole image, so the horns are stretched really, really long. The face is more elongated. All the vertical lines in the piece are extended, so that from this point of view it all comes together and forms one picture," he said.

Towles has asked that his mural be torn down first when the demolition begins.

“I love that it’s going to be destroyed. That’s street art and graffiti in itself. One minute it’s there and the next moment it’s not," he said.

Towles says he's looking forward to watching his mural come down with a bang.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs

New in Music Alley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harry Wayne Casey – “KC” of KC and the Sunshine Band – comes to VOA’s Studio 4 to talk with "Border Crossings" host Larry London and perform songs from his new album, “Feeling You! The 60s.”