Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I love murals

The reason I love murals so much is that they are two experiences in one...the traveling-quickly-catch-a-glance experience and the up-close-and-personal-with-the-artist one. They almost always have several levels of messages and they are free art for everyone.

My daughter and I recently walked the Philadelphia Mural Arts "Mural Mile" walking tour (with those gigantic museum cell phones for punching in codes to listen to descriptions). It was more like 3 or 4 miles, with detours for ice cream, drinks of water and resting our feet. We were tourists in our own city on Memorial day weekend when everyone else was at the shore. It was kinda nice to "have the place to ourselves".

We learned that there are 3,000+ murals in the city, both private- and public-sponsored, produced over the last 25 years. There are books to buy but seeing them in person is an experience like no other and we got to listen to the stories too.

First we stopped to get tickets at the Gallery shopping mall and learn a little of how murals are made
It starts out like paint-by-numbers for the undercoat.
The grid was used to enlarge and transfer the design from a smaller version, just like you learned in school.

Then the artist blends and creates the painting.

Another example partially finished.

Then we were on our way. It was like a treasure hunt with a map. Of course, my photos cannot give you the same experience as in-person on foot, but here's a go at it.

This one at 13th and Market is called "The Tree of Knowledge" by Michael Webb.
I love how it blends with the building above. All those bricks are painted to look like the bricks above.

Murals usually have social, political or historical messages.

This gives the idea of scale. Like I said, it's a different experience from afar than...

...the experience close up.

Being a tourist in your own town is a must. We do it all the time. Don't miss what's in your own backyard.

I have many more to share in upcoming blog posts. In the mean time enjoy these resources:

Philadelphia Mural Arts Program
...on Facebook too
National Museum on Murals and Mosaics
MuralFarm.org - search the database of 1,757 Philadelphia murals
Other views of the Tree of Knowledge


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