Murals of hope, love, unity, and justice
June 25, 2020
If you’ve returned to the district this week as part of New York’s Phase 2 reopening plan, you might have noticed artwork on the corner of 15th Street and 10th Avenue by Artists and Fleas in solidarity with Black Lives Matter.
On June 4, Artists and Fleas called for muralists on their Instagram page who could use their Chelsea Market storefront to spread love + solidarity alongside Black communities and spread the Black Lives Matter message. Five NYC artists answered the call and were given a blank canvas of plywood to decorate. The result created a beautiful corner in Meatpacking filled with messages of hope, love, justice, and unity. Below, each artist provided insight into their work and the message they hope it conveys.
In the neighborhood? Make sure to check out the murals before they’re gone on July 6th. While Artists and Fleas is closed for the time being, support the market’s Black makers and artists by shopping unique products on this list.
Name Of Artist: Marthalicia Matarrita
Name of Mural: The Feminine and Masculine Black Lives Matter
Artist’s Statement: I wanted to include the feminine and masculine persona through their stillness, profile, and gesture. I wanted to have the portraits of the subjects evoke stillness of thought while being in the middle of two distinct environmental stressors: 1. The pandemic and 2. The uproar against police brutality; though in my mural they don’t demonstrate either. Their stillness and awareness is what I wanted to capture without adding too much visual information which could have been cluttering the overall composition of the murals.
Name Of Artist: MAST
Name of Mural: Justice, Love, Unity
Artist’s Statement: Mast is a graffiti artist and mural painter from NYC. The murals focus is on the words LOVE, JUSTICE, and UNITY reading clearly and boldly across the textured surface. Love is the message. A call for Justice for all Black lives lost to police brutality. Police need to be held accountable for their actions, just like the rest of us. And it is only through Unity that we will be able to make any sustainable and progressive change.
Name Of Artist: Britt James
Name of Mural: #BLMchalktalk
My name is Brittany James, and I’m the Artist and Founder of Afrome LLC. Afrome is a luxury lifestyle brand featuring uplifting artwork to embrace and empower Black and Brown People. #BLMchalktalk is a combination of creative lanes I (Britt) have been dedicated to for the past 3 years: Afro-centric imagery, chalk murals, fashion design and coloring books! By allowing the public to create artwork together, it unites our voices when we aren’t physically together. Some have asked what they can do to support the movement, some want to do more, and there are some who are confused but want desperately to help fight the fight. This wall is a space for anyone to leave a positive note, an honest truth, an uplifting remark, for change that is past due. This wall holds space where our thoughts will never be silenced or go unnoticed. #BLMchalktalk is a movement and should be a continuous project throughout the states. Be sure to reach out and bring a #BLMchalktalk to your community.
Name Of Artist: Vincent Ballentine
Name of Mural: “Same Old Same”
Artist’s Statement: The artwork depicts two adjacent children in two different time periods of American history. On the left is an image of a child holding an American flag. Depicted in black and white the intent is to age the image as it was taken in the 1960’s. On the right is a current 2020 child raising his fist during recent protests. His face is covered for protection from the pandemic of Covid-19. His fist breaks through clouds which are represented in both panels. These clouds are indicative of imagination. Similar to games played where people would find images in the clouds. What once is behind the child on the left is being interacted with by the child on the right. The words in the middle Same old Same old, is a quote that we have been here before, as well as a nod to another street artist Samo, who became a staple in the Chelsea art scene.
Name Of Artist: Rodney Williams and Casey Block
Name of Mural: Black Lives Matter Black Music Matters
Artist’s Statement: We live in an extremely polarizing moment in history where the thoughts and words of an entire race of people are being heard at a previously unknown decibel. There are a lot of layers to what Black Lives Matter means. For the mural, it was important to say a bit more. As the month of June is traditionally BLACK MUSIC MONTH, I decided to add the names of a wide spectrum of Black musicians/recording artists that have impacted my life in music and media from a variety of music genres. I cannot explain the impact of Black Music on the entire world in a sentence or two, but with the mural, I can begin a conversation where people will read the names of artists they may be familiar with alongside those that are completely unknown to them. They all hold the same weight and are worthy of research and study. Black Lives Matter and… Black Music Matters.