“What are you doing this weekend?”
“Let’s go find all the murals in Norfolk.”
So we did! Not all of them – it was like 40 degrees outside and the wind was chilly. BUT – the sun was shining and it was a beautiful day to explore Norfolk’s art district. I’m not going to tell you where to go to find all of these murals, because, well, I’m lazy. And that’s a lot of googling and linking, and just.. sorry. No. BUT – here’s a handy dandy Google map that was created for the NEON Arts Festival (HERE) that shows you exactly where to find everything. (And honestly, everything is so close, you can just park near Bob’s Gun Shop and just walk around. You’ll find it all!)
Norfolk’s first official arts district is called the NEON District (NEON standing for New Energy of Norfolk) which pulls inspiration from the “neighborhoods history with the automobile industry as it moves into a new vibrant future”. The district includes the Chrysler Museum of Art (one of my fave places) and the Harrison Opera House while also creating space for creatives to make and show artwork at places like the Glass Wheel Studio. The Art District itself is small enough that you can walk the entire thing, stopping for coffee, a comedy show, or to get a tattoo! There are plenty of stand-alone sculptures, light-up works of art, painted benches, unique fences, and more to see while visiting the NEON District.
The handful of times I’ve been to Norfolk with Kyle, we’ve stopped at a few murals. But there are always those few you see while driving that you never get the chance to pose in front of like a basic ass bitch, so.. THIS WAS OUR TIME.
While I am lazy, I do want to at least give you some background info on some these murals because some of the meanings are actually pretty neat, and I need this to not be just a long post of my friend and I in front of wall murals. SO.
“R R O B O T S, aka Nick Kuszyk, was inspired by the old-time Navy camouflage method of razzle-dazzle in this piece, which was made possible by a generous donation by Robert Marcus, owner of Bob’s Gun Shop.” Nick has done work all over NY, all the way down to FL, and all the way over to CA! – even at the Etsy HQ! His work is seriously amazing – he is such an amazing muralist!
Artist website: http://www.rrobots.com/
“Labor of Love” by Hannah Kirkpatrick is a really cool piece, to me. It’s written in her own handwriting, and sits up high on the wall of the Glass Wheel Studio. At night the neon runs through like an EKG of an unsteady to represent the “energy, hardships, and frustration to sustain one’s passion”.
Artist website: www.hannahkirkpatrick.com
“Happier Times” by artist Troy Summerell has been a leading piece in the development of Virginia Beach’s arts district, The ViBe. He actually purchased a building on the corner of 17th Street and Mediterranean Avenue in VA beach and turned it into a gallery meant to promote artistic expression. Troy is a surfer and finds inspiration in the water. His work is easily noticeable as he creates the same vibrant and bold look in every piece. He named his company “OnieTonie” after his grandmother and it’s sort of his way to carry on her legacy!
Artist website: www.onietonie.com
Internationally-acclaimed artist Alex Brewer, aka HENSE, was recruited to paint this mural to for the grand opening of Glass Wheel Studio in 2015. Alex is an Atlanta based artist and is seriously skilled in creating huge colorful pieces. And you know that colorful church in Washington D.C.? He did that, too!!!
“His process and product is a unique battle between the beauty of fine art and the bricolage of the street. The works that result from this unfolding do not serve as an interpretation, but rather as a presentation—an unconditional gift, an invitation with no destination.”
TED ELMORE – RVA NEWS
Artist website: www.hensethename.com
This mural was created by John Rudel and students from Virginia Wesleyan College. John creates works that explore the existence of a “cloud” – where we store all of our information these days. A look into the digital age.
“The clouds are represented in both a pixelated graphic style and in a realistic modeled approach. The image reflects a synthesis of multiple modes of perception and reverberates with the energy of the collaboration of individuals and the progress of ideas.”
Artist website: http://johnrudel.com
Right next to the clouds mural, there is an alley with several different murals of different styles and creative perspective. I couldn’t get them all because there were two women yelling at each other about being in the way/not being able to get out of the way/ etc.
Matt Lively’s “27 Beecycles” – Beecycles are Matt’s thing. It’s an image he’s reworked and done several times, and I love it! Apparently so do a lot of people because his iconic Beecycle is displayed is ALL 7 continents! He is even working with a non-profit to help restore the disappearing bee colonies. GO MATT!
Artist website: http://mattlively.com/home.html
This is Transparent Seas by Jason Levesque. Probably my favorite one, to be honest. They were painted in a range of colors that show depending on the light. “reactive sensors hooked up to a rainbow of lightbulbs adjusts the colors cast onto the mural, depending on how close or far the viewer gets. Upon approach, Transparent Seas shifts from ladies, to a quartet of skulls, to a series of elemental symbols embedded in each character.”
“As colored lights illuminate the mural, the artwork reveals elements of earth, sea, and air across a group of female figures—the artist’s statement on the connection between the world and the human body,” Grow tells The Creators Project. Levesque adds, “This planet in all its beauty is a part of our identity. We should take great pride in its beautiful landscapes, we should be inspired by its vast oceans. I wish to remind people that we are, in every moment of our lives, a part of this world.”
You can see a video of this mural in action HERE!
Artist Website: http://www.stuntkid.com/
Widow’s Walk by Mickael Broth and Barf Comics. This mural was just… badassery at its finest. It was dark, ghoulish, zombie-esque, but still kind of nautical. And they finished it in three days. Really? Sweet. The mural is 18 feet tall and 100 feet long.
“It was named “Widow’s Walk” to depict a woman waiting for her sailor who’s never coming home. The term is actually a railed rooftop platform often that’s often found on 19th-century North American coastal houses. The romantic myth holds that the platform was used to observe vessels at sea. It’s supposed to watch for a returning spouse or family member that is out at sea. We talked about doing something that was kind of the personification or embodiment of longing or missing someone.”
SAGE is the creator of this piccasso-inspired piece on the side of the restaurant Nouvelle. I couldn’t find anything on this piece in particular, but you can visit his website: http://www.sageart.us/about-us/
The fang mural! Or as it’s actually named: Bloom. The light was so hard on this wall when we went to see it, but it’s so .. pretty.
“The mural by Carl Medley III and Charles Rasputin features a bright, floral background with a bold white graphic on top that speaks to the idea of intense energy. The pink roses and white fangs symbolize the NEON District’s inspirational yet fierce atmosphere for creativity. Images projected onto the white spaces create an interactive experience for the viewer.”
Artist website: http://www.carlmedley.com/
If you’re ever in the Hampton Roads area, doing a quick walk through the Norfolk NEON district is a must! It’s such a fun scene and offers a lot to be inspired by!