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Brooklyn Street Art

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Boston’s “Underground Mural Project” Opens With 11 Artists

Posted on October 31, 2017

“I love transforming a raw space for everyone to discover. It’s the best feeling to see people enjoying themselves in front of my art,” says artist Cey Adams in Boston as he finishes his “LOVE” mural in a letter style recalling the funky late 70s.

Cey Adams. Urban Art Park. Beantown, Boston. September 2017. (photo © Todd Mazer)

At the start of September Adams and 10 other artists joined the Underground Mural Project to transform 150,000 square feet of walls and pavement in a park here, curated by Street Theory Gallery, a creative studio founded by Liza and Victor ‘Marka27’ Quiñonez. The 8-acre public underpass located between Boston’s South End and South Boston neighborhoods has been leased to a privately owned company that has turned it into “an active urban park, cultural attraction and parking amenity”, now named Underground Ink Block.

Ewok-MSK. Urban Art Park. Beantown, Boston. September 2017. (photo © Todd Mazer)

Our thanks to photographer Todd Mazer who shares some of his images with BSA readers today from the event. Todd also conducted an interview with painter, muralist and graffiti artist Rob “Problak” Gibbs, a native of Roxbury, a neighborhood in the southern part of Boston. As participant in the project, community arts advocate, and a lifetime Boston citizen who believes strongly in the power of public art, graffiti, and HipHop culture, Poblak offers a unique perspective to the Underground Mural Project.

Todd Mazer: In your origins as a writer you have spoken about the importance of outdoor classrooms like Peters Park what are your hopes that a place like the Underground at Ink Block can be a catalyst for?
Problak: I hope that the Underground at Ink Block can be a catalyst for the next generation of graffiti writers, muralist and landscape artist to be inspired to take what we contributed to the space and add on to the practice. If our times are documented the stories can be told better through a variety of disciplines artist come to the table with.

When a place like the Underground exists, up and coming artist can work on creative ways to contribute towards a venue that exhibits community art for the people of greater Boston at a world wide scale. The Underground can be a bridge that takes anyone (young or old) on an adventure through the creative process of an artist that may have work in that space.

VyalOne. Urban Art Park. Beantown, Boston. September 2017. (photo © Todd Mazer)

Todd Mazer: As an artist, activist and architect/educator how have you discovered the importance to expand your skill set in order to create opportunity for your own and others artistic endeavors?
Problak: I discovered how important it is have to have a variety of ways to tell your story. Pose2 always told us “your only as good as your last piece” and Kem5 added “ and the people you place yourself around” When that whole phrase is combined positioned my mind in a place to have my skill set be in a good position to always grow.

“Walking the talk” confidently comes from paying dues. Dues that range from humble beginnings to bad experiences that I learned the greatest lessons from. Expanding my skill set opened up new doors to meet and build a variety of relationships with other artist who too are skilled and tackle tasks through creative problem solving. The more skill you have the less you’ll find yourself saying NO to a majority of the challenges you’ll get approached with.

HOXXOH. Urban Art Park. Beantown, Boston. September 2017. (photo © Todd Mazer)

Todd Mazer: As a follow up more specifically could you offer some insight from 91 til infinity… in other words how has your involvement in AFH (Artists For Humanities) shaped your actions and given you perspective on the importance of this new space?
Problak: LOL from 91 til………..

My involvement with AFH is very instrumental to what I do because the creed we practice in our studio has become the DNA to my life’s work. I grew up around a small nit of artist who are gifted and who challenged me along our journey. That small crew grew into the organizations leadership. The ethos has evolved and revolved off of our actions. We took responsibility for our own learning and shared that practice with a large amount of youth for the past 25 years.

Don Rimx . Problak . Marka27. Urban Art Park. Beantown, Boston. September 2017. (photo © Todd Mazer)

The importance of this new space is that concept of giving space and opportunity for a genre that is powered by energy in this city that is untapped. An energy that has the interest of the youth and the ability to challenge them to think, digest, seek their own truth and hopefully contribute. Sometimes you have to be exposed to or shown the examples to develop your voice. This space could serve as a megaphone to help project it. The examples are the trailblazers who show everyone in the space what’s possible.

Todd Mazer: Why is it so important to artistically reclaim overlooked spaces?
Problak: It’s important to “Add to” vs. reclaim because with all due respect to the city’s architecture, I view these spaces as a series of blank canvases embedded inside of what I would compare to the city’s respiratory system. The work we do would breathe life into these spaces so that the city would not have to hold its breath and encourage others to do the same. These spaces can be landmarks and spark the next mind to be great or be that picture worth a 1000 words that would speak to the generations to come.

The participating artists include: Vyal One, Imagine, Cey Adams, Don Rimx, Marka 27, Problak, Ewok MSK, Thy Doan, Upendo, Percy Fortini-Wright and Hoxxoh. Our thanks to Todd Mazer for sharing his photos and interview with BSA readers.

Marka27. Urban Art Park. Beantown, Boston. September 2017. (photo © Todd Mazer)

Ewok-MSK . Thy Doan. Urban Art Park. Beantown, Boston. September 2017. (photo © Todd Mazer)

Thy Doan. Urban Art Park. Beantown, Boston. September 2017. (photo © Todd Mazer)

 

Perci Fortini-Wright. Urban Art Park. Beantown, Boston. September 2017. (photo © Todd Mazer)

Perci Fortini-Wright. Urban Art Park. Beantown, Boston. September 2017. (photo © Todd Mazer)

Imagine876. Urban Art Park. Beantown, Boston. September 2017. (photo © Todd Mazer)

Upendo. Urban Art Park. Beantown, Boston. September 2017. (photo © Todd Mazer)

Problak . Vyal . Marka27. Urban Art Park. Beantown, Boston. September 2017. (photo © Todd Mazer)

Having fun at the block party. Urban Art Park. Beantown, Boston. September 2017. (photo © Todd Mazer)

Having fun at the block party. Urban Art Park. Beantown, Boston. September 2017. (photo © Todd Mazer)

 

 

Underground at Ink Block from National Development on Vimeo.

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