GOOD

Street Artists Transform Community Devastated by Violence Into a Colorful, City-Wide Mural

Drugs and gangs were destroying the Mexican city of Palmitas. So the government decided to fight back—with paint.

El Chapo’s escape might have been a great source of Tweetable entertainment for many Americans, but the country of Mexico continues to struggle with violence. Over 60,000 people, many of them young people, have died due to drug-related violence in just the last decade alone. That’s why the Mexican government recently came up with a small and imaginative solution. In the city of Palmitas, the government hired local street artists “Germen Crew” to repaint 209 houses—that’s 20,000 square meters of façade—and turn an entire town into a big, beautiful, rainbow mural.

Keep Reading
Articles

A Graffiti Art Revolution Brings Life to the World’s Deadliest City

In San Pedro Sula, Honduras, graffiti artists and activists are reclaiming their beleaguered home through the power of design.

Artist Rei Blinky is part of a new movement taking back the streets of San Pedro Sula. Image courtesy of the artist.

It’s a popular lament that graffiti artists face dangers from possible arrest to street harassment and muggings, but what about death? Recently, freelance writer Nathaniel Janowitz of Hyperallergic traveled to San Pedro Sula, Honduras, ranked the world’s deadliest city for the fourth year in a row, to shadow a collective of graffiti artists and activists as they tried to reclaim their hometown through design. The medium-sized metropolis of less than 500,000 has a staggering homicide rate of 171 per 100,000 residents—that’s three to four murders per day—which has created a climate of fear few are brave enough to challenge. “Most houses are surrounded by walls with barbwire fences,” says Janowitz. “Locals rarely linger outdoors, and the people you do see standing outside are usually security guards holding shotguns and automatic weapons protecting businesses 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.” In an ironic twist, graffiti artists frequently call the police in advance of their tagging to help secure protection against local gangs, many of whom associate graffiti with turf wars. “It’s difficult for street artists; the risks from the Maras are high,” said Baruch, a San Pedrano street artist, in reference to one of the area’s most feared gangs.

Keep Reading
Articles

Roving Gang of Grannies Tag Blighted Buildings With Amazing Graffiti

After learning the finer points of spray paint art, these grandmothers took to the streets to show off their newfound skills.

Say the word “Grandma,” and you’re probably not going to think street art. While traditions vary by culture, the art form hasn’t been historically embraced by the grandma community, but some artists want to change that. So Lata 65, a group of Portuguese artists, decided to organize a team of volunteers to teach senior citizen women how to make their own street art.

Keep Reading
Articles

Fabian Williams Captures Atlanta’s Friction and Soul

There’s something bubbling in Atlanta.

There’s something bubbling in Atlanta. The music scene is on fire, it seems like more films are being made there than in Hollywood, and there’s a burgeoning arts scene tied into everything. The reason behind that, says artist Fabian Williams, is that Atlanta’s artist community is supportive and open. “Artists definitely cross-pollinate,” says Williams on a phone call from the studio in the basement of his home. “The graffiti muralists mess with the tattoo artists; the tattoo artists mess with the fine artists; the fine artists mess with the muralists; the photographers get down with everybody. There’re really no restrictions. I think that’s what you need for a healthy, robust art community.

Williams has seen the city grow up since he moved back from a brief period in Los Angeles, where he honed many of the skills he employs today as an artist. “I went out to Los Angeles because I got hired to be an illustrator, and then I just got lonely and came back to Atlanta,” he says with a laugh. “I live in Decatur. It’s a ‘gray neighborhood,’ which means it’s black and white. It’s convenient, because I’m 20 minutes from anywhere.”

Keep Reading
Articles