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Brooklyn Street Art

…loves you more every day.

La Pandilla and Trek Matthews in Cabbagetown for Living Walls Atlanta

Posted on April 2, 2012

Let’s start off the week with our 2nd installment of Living Walls in Atlanta for 2012, a splendid overview of Cabbagetown and the installation by three of this years participants creating new murals over a nearly two week stretch, just finished and fresh for you.

La Pandilla and Trek Matthews

Text by Alexandra Parrish
Photos by Dustin Chambers
Video by Albert Lebron

Before I engage you with an individual take of La Pandilla and Trek Matthew’s twelve-day long mural production, I must foray into a brief history lesson; Cabbagetown is a tight-knit neighborhood in Atlanta that is rich with folklore and idiosyncrasies. Adjacent to the Fulton Bag and Cotton Mills, the neighborhood began as a mill town complete with shotgun-style houses built by Jacob Elsas, the factory owner. After recruiting poor whites from the Georgia Appalachian region to work in his factory, Elsas offered free housing to compromise for insignificant wages and working conditions. Legend has it that the neighborhood assumed the moniker “Cabbagetown” after a truck-load of cabbages spilled across the neighborhood; many recount a brutal smell of cabbages that could be assumed to have followed the accident or maybe it just permeated from their kitchens.

La Pandilla (photo © Dustin Chambers)

After an extensive effort towards revitalization (some would say gentrification), Cabbagetown reigns as a treasured locality in Atlanta. Although Krog Tunnel features an ever-changing display of graffiti and street art, the CSX walls that enclose the neighborhood have remained four shades of grey. Surprisingly, when Living Walls contacted the Cabbagetown Neighborhood Association to allow La Pandilla, from Puerto Rico and Trek Matthews from Atlanta to paint two murals, they more than accommodated.

La Pandilla (photo © Dustin Chambers)

As soon as La Pandilla and Trek Matthews began on their wall, joggers, walkers and rubberneckers routinely stopped to chat and observe. Throughout production, community support yielded endless tokens of gratitude – fresh baked bread, beer runs, grilled cheese sandwiches, salvaged fresh-till packaged meals, oral histories and loud music. Even the infamous rogue buffer that verbally threatened La Pandilla (yes, Cabbagetown is home to it’s very own vigilante, occasionally violent buffer) grew to appreciate the finely detailed work that replaced decades of juvenile tags.

The truth is, Alexis Diaz and Juan Fernandez of La Pandilla are insane. Their method of using Chinese ink to translate immensely detailed drawings into full-scale murals costs a lot of time. Although they’d camp out at their wall from sunrise to sunset each day, they failed to finish on time. Hardly defeated, La Pandilla opted to stay an extra day and completed their 25-foot mural in their last hours.

La Pandilla (photo © Dustin Chambers)

Three blocks down, Trek Matthews, an emerging artist from Atlanta, began on his first public wall. His work incorporates a mash of Aztec patterns and Native American designs, which turns out nicely on the grey concrete. Despite the daunting height of his wall, Trek toughed it out on a scrappy extension ladder.

In a perfect world Living Walls would serve as proverbial residents of Cabbagetown forever. I could tell Juan felt the same way as he waved saying “bye y’all.

La Pandilla (photo © Dustin Chambers)

La Pandilla (photo © Dustin Chambers)

La Pandilla (photo © Dustin Chambers)

La Pandilla (photo © Dustin Chambers)

La Pandilla (photo © Dustin Chambers)

Trek Matthews (photo © Dustin Chambers)

Trek Matthews (photo © Dustin Chambers)

Trek Matthews (photo © Dustin Chambers)

Trek Matthews (photo © Dustin Chambers)

Trek Matthews (photo © Dustin Chambers)

Trek Matthews (photo © Dustin Chambers)

La Pandilla and Trek Matthews by Albert Lebron (VIDEO)

 

 

To learn more about Living Walls Altanta: The City Speaks and to make a donation to help this year’s conference click here. BSA thanks you for supporting this good work.