Thursday, June 3, 2010

May 2010: Baltimore Love Project

Jess, Lindsay, and Hui-Chen are already in Baltimore and more folks are moving this summer (yes, Crockett, that's you). Therefore, I'm already working on a trip down this fall. When I'm there, I'll be sure to keep an eye out for Michael Owen's Baltimore Love Project. He writes:
"Street art and I met in Baltimore, in 2003, while I was attending MICA. The first date was a two-story wall on the front of a community center. We courted through my senior year, as my thesis focused on murals throughout the city and have been in a committed relationship over those last 7 years, though I am married. I just finished a 6 month adventure down in Miami, but am now back in Baltimore. While in Miami, I did a 6 story mural on a hotel, among other things. Baltimore has been the focal city of my portfolio with about 40 murals, interior and exterior, throughout the area. There have been some great pieces, but for me, The Baltimore Love Project is the crowning jewel."
"My work can be hammered out pretty fast, so I usually work alone. That said, I did a quarter-mile project last year, one of the longest murals in the country. I had an assistant with me most of the time on that one, due to the sheer volume of paint that needed to be thrown up. I have also worked with kids in the community on a few projects. My artistic style is, in part, a product of my understanding of and connection with minimalism. I want my art to engage and relate with the most people as possible, especially the pieces on the street. I strip down the imagery to this point where you know what's going on, but the details are questionable. Over the last year, I have experimented with some of the more loose and gestural brushstrokes found more in my studio/gallery work, while maintaining a very straight-forward and graphic approach."
"I often like to paint in very public places, during busy times. I have my audience in mind throughout my concept and design stages, so I enjoy hearing what people think (usually). My studio work is my break from the chaos and a nice quiet balance to the more communal process of street art. Oh and being on a sunny wall is great too. "
"My 'experiences' are more humorous than crazy. For example:A shady car pulls up while I'm painting a mural. The man cracks the window and asks 'Do you paint murals?' As I look around at the quarter-mile project I am about to complete, I reply, 'Uh, yes'. 'My boss wants a mural,' he states in his thick Eastern European accent. A card is passed through the window opening and drives off. The card is shiny and gold in color, much classier than the car. Then again, it was for a Larry Flint Hustler Club. I just laughed.""I am currently knee deep in the Baltimore Love Project, a self initiated, city-wide project consisting of 20 identical, love-themed murals. I am also about to show with Dirty Pilot, put a mural up in Seattle this summer, working on a cloab in NYC later in the fall, and showing at various fairs during Art Basel Miami in the winter. I'm also futilely working on maintaining my tan, now that I'm back in Baltimore."

Thanks, Michael! I'm excited to see these murals in person sometime soon. To get involved with the project, visit his website.

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