A few months ago Nicole McDonald emailed me and asked if I would be interested in giving a lecture about street art to a small group of kids from Brewerytown to help out a new community engagement initiative that she was starting up. I said yes and we met up to chat about dates and details, but our conversation turned into “Why don’t we just make some stuff for the kids to paste?”
I showed up to her “Art-Space/studio/open house” and it was AMAZING inside. I’m assuming it used to be an old car wash, by what’s written on the walls. But just looking around the space you could feel the potential for awesomeness to come. Nicole showed me a few of the walls that we could paste on and gave me a little tour/history of the neighborhood. For those of you who don’t know, Brewerytown is a neighborhood that is roughly bounded by 30th St., Girard Ave., 32nd St. and Glenwood Ave. It’s an area that is slowly being gentrified and in need of a lot of help. Some of the schools are losing funding, leaving kids with no art classes and no real shot at a future. So that’s where Nicole’s art classes come in. She is trying to get involved with the community and offer free art classes and experiences to all of the local kids. That way they can still be involved and get their creative fix. For some people in the area, making art is what kept them out of making some horrible decisions. Every bit of support and even just the access to art supplies can help give them something to do instead of slingin’ drugs on the corner. You can read a little more about the project/her mission here and here.
For the piece itself, you may recognize the eagle from the piece I did for the Streets Dept Furnessadelphia show. I was in a little bit of a time crunch and frankly, I just wanted to paste it up in more places around the city. But seriously, I thought the eagle with the ruler and nails and arrows perfectly suited this block. There are a ton of unbelievably hard working people looking to rebuild this neighborhood brick by brick so their kids have a better shot at a brighter future. That kind of mentality takes bravery and dedication, walking those streets you realize how hard it is for a neighborhood like this to change. But when you have a few passionate people all getting behind the same vision for the future it can be done. I know I’m being a delirious designer when I say that I hope that these pieces help in ANY way at all, but I really do. I hope that they spark some kind of pride or drive in some people and get them hyped about helping out. Anyway, back to BS design stuff, I’ve been into attempting to make monograms these days so I tried my hand at a PHL one to give it kind of a legacy/historical vibe. Since I knew this neighborhood was a little rough around the edges I wanted make it say something that had a little edge to it. Something aggressively positive. “No compromises, no regrets” is something I wrote down in my notebook a little over a year ago and it’s been sitting in the back of my head ever since. So when this opportunity arose I thought it would be the perfect excuse to toss it on a poster. I wanted the wording to feel as raw as the neighborhood that it was being pasted in. I had a great time chatting with some of the locals that stopped by to help put it up, and I hope it’s something that the neighborhood enjoys for months/years to come. Thanks so much Nicole, for being a true inspiration and doing things that most people would be too scared to do.