In the late summer of 2014, JT Daniels and I finished up our 1st collaborative mural. It’s located in an empty lot on the corner of 5th and Troup in Kansas City, Kansas. The owner of the lot hadn’t been using this property for quite some time, so he was ok with having us paint on his wall.
With her recent passing we decided to do a tribute mural to Maya Angelou. Her poem “Still I Rise” spoke to me and I felt her words would make for a great mural for an area of KCK that needed some color and inspiration to “rise” from the neglected drab surfaces in the area.
The wall is about 75 feet wide and 9 feet tall. It took us about 40 hours or more of labor to complete with the help of Chez (Christyna Sanchez) and Intern X (Megan Ebel). Also props to JT’s grandmother for organizing a clean up day with some folks to help clear out the weeds and trash from the lot. That gesture by the community was greatly appreciated. During our painting many hopeful residents were excited that we might be re-opening the BBQ stand that used to be in the building on the corner. “No, sorry…” we said. “We’re just painting a mural for the sake of art.” Deep down I wanted to return the next weekend and sell ribs and pork steaks in that lot out of my trunk just for kicks!
JT’s portrait of a blue haired woman with living hair isn’t intended to represent the physical likeness of Angelou, rather it’s a character from his recent body of work. His paintings deal with expressing ones culture with their hair style. You can read more about his work on his blog HERE.
We’re glad we could paint a mural to share with everyone in the neighborhood just like Angelou made “Still I Rise” for everyone, as she’s stated in the video posted below. I hope she would approve of our visual interpretation of her poem.