Renowned artists from all corners of the world gathered in Worcester, MA for 10 days with one purpose, to beautifying the local landscape. These artist took there talents to the walls of Worcester in magnificent feats of passion and creativity, covering walls so big it’s hard to imagine them being covered in paint until you see it with your own eyes. All this was made possible because of POW! WOW! Worldwide and their team of volunteers and various sponsors/partners. SprATX was proud to be one of the sponsors of the first ever POW! WOW! Worcester earlier this month.
POW! WOW! Worldwide is on the leading cusp of today’s love and demand for quality large scale art. They’ve organized some of the world’s most captivating mural festivals. We were first introduced to the POW! WOW! crew here in Austin during SXSW for the Impossible Walls project in 2015. Good times, good times! We’re grateful to our friends at POW! WOW! for the opportunity to have met and work with some of the world’s most spectacular muralists while exploring Worcester, MA. Local artist, Jason Eatherly says, “The best part of my stay was meeting so many great like-minded people; and having the chance to meet artists that I have been looking up to for years. The incredible energy from this event gave me so much inspiration to bring back home with me.”
Our experience during the festival was unimaginably inspiring. Check out the video recap and enjoy perusing through both progress and final shots of each mural. Want to learn more about the festival? Show some love to Pow! Wow! Worcester on Facebook or Instagram.
Arlin, Christina Angelina, Greg Mike, IMAGINE, Jallen, Marka 27, Morgan Blair, Rustam Qbic, Sabek, Sophy Tuttle, Tavar Zawacki (ABOVE), Dan Witz, Askew One, Jason Eatherly
Scott Boilard, Kai Griffiths, Anthony Mancuso, Pamela Stolz
Sabek is a Spanish based street artist and traveling muralist. He prefers to paint more on the streets than in his studio. Much of his work figurative, drawing inspiration from nature. His pieces are easily recognizable by animals that are depicted as black masses. Below is his “Reversible” piece in Worcester.
Originally hailing from Kathmandu, Nepal, Sneha Shrestha (a.k.a. IMAGINE) is now a local resident of Boston, MA. She has established herself in the Boston grafitti scene with her integration of the Nepali alphabet and graffiti style. Sneha has shown her work on walls all over the world. In 2013, Sneha established Nepal’s first Children’s Art Museum in an effort to provide a space where kids can learn to express themselves creatively.
Askew One has been creating art for over 20 years, showcasing miraculous one-of-a-kind murals around the world. This mural in particular was painted of two young girls that attend the school in which he painted (YWCA Central Massachusets). Askew One uses the abstract and gestural elements of his work as framework for scaling up the figurative elements, in this case the portraits of these two students. This makes him one of the few prolific muralist today not using a projector or grid system to scale up his work.
Born in the city of Tatuí, in São Paulo, Brazil. Arlin’s deconstructionist style depicts fragmented animals that create a sort of “synthetic nature” juxtaposed against urban landscapes. Currently based out of San Francisco, Arlin canvases and murals can be found in cities as diverse in size and culture from Worcester,MA to Sao paulo, Brazil, “bringing a little more of color to city walls.”
Jason Eatherly is one of the original SprATX artists based in Austin, TX. Specializing in depicting the beauty found in urban decay and —- landscapes. Jason has learned first hand that “the life of an artist is one big lesson. During every project a new challenge arises and you have to learn right then and there how to get through it. The most significant lesson I’ve learned thus far is to remain humble no matter who you are meeting or what big sale you made, whatever the case, a huge ego can only take you so far.”
Victor Quinonez (Marka27) was born in Juarez, Mexico, raised in Dallas, Texas, and now based between Brooklyn, NY and Boston, MA. You can find his murals, artwork, and custom line of MIniGods: Givers of Devine Sound vinyl toy speakers, all over the world. His Neo Indigenous exhibition in 2012 marked a shift in the subject of his work, seeking to explore ancient indigenous aesthetics. He has been producing art for over 20 years, and he believes his journey is just getting started.
*Photo by Jasper Wong for POW! WOW! Worcester
Morgan Blair is a New York based artist that uses shapes and colors to create abstractions that emphasize patterns and value gradients. Her inspiration often comes from her beloved collection of VHS tapes.
Currently based in Atlanta, GA, Greg Mike blends the colorful energy of graffiti styling with the aesthetics of iconic American mid-century cartoons. His work is a captivating blend of familiar imagery with elegantly twisted compositions. Though his work has evolved to incorporate some more photo realistic elements, his signature LOUDMOUF characters remain a integral part of his compositions (seen in the bottom right corner of his Worcester mural. Greg is also the “founder and creative director of ABV AGENCY / GALLERY, a multi-platform studio specializing in branding, apparel design and visual production. A hub for Atlanta innovators, ABV also functions as a gallery exhibiting artists from around the world, highlighting emerging talents alongside globally recognized names.”
John Allen is a school teacher and artist in MA. His students call him, Jallen, which was adopted as his moniker. He said his experience at POW! WOW! was “phenomenal and challenging. Meeting the other artists has been truly inspiring and incredible. To see what it is doing for the city, bringing people out, and transforming the architectural environment is really cool.” Most of his work is produced digitally, emphasizing an “obsessive compulsive like perfection in the mark, with a weird, twisted macabre.” This mural was a new challenge for him that fed into his “discover as I go” approach to producing art. The beauty of making art is revealing something to yourself about yourself.” The loose improvisational spirit of his foray into larger scale murals, is captured in the falling man in the background of his painting, which he shared was not part of his original composition.
The collaboration below was done with Soppy Tuttle, who also currently lives and works in Massachusetts. “She is inspired by animals, plants, and anything from the natural world.”
Fanakapan shared that, “POW! WOW! was a top event! One of the main reasons was the fact there was nearly no existing artwork on the walls from before the event but most people welcomed the art with open arms! And positive responses from the locals always makes it worth while!”
Scott Bollard was one of the selected locals to participate in POW! WOW! Worcester. He has described his work and process as a “stream of consciousness” application of symbolism. His “figurative serialist” work pushes the viewer to come to their own conclusions as to its meaning. While “stream of consciousness” may seem to allude to a devil may care approach to composition, Bollard takes his time making several drawings in order to insure the success of the final product.
Christina Angelina is an artist born and raised in Venice, CA. Grateful for all of the help and support from POW! WOW! and the community of Worcester, she said that she received “extremely positive responses to the pieces. Everyone seems to really love them. It is a cool town because there are a lot of really quirky people, they are really expressive and there were stoked.” When asked about the selection of her subjects, she disclosed that, “most of the subjects are friends and family.” The story behind the mural has “more to do with the feeling the image conveys and what I’m feeling or going through in the moment.”
Referring to her mural for the festival, “for me, this image is very emotive but kind of dark. In a lot of my other work the subject is more clear, but I like this one because it is more abstracted by shadows. It is more about the mark, the way it is painted, and the feeling of the piece, the feeling of her dark, shaded face.”
*Photo by Jasper Wong for POW! WOW! Worcester
Although he is no stranger to the international mural scene Tavar Zawacki joined the Worcester crew and shared that he was grateful to be part of the POW! WOW! family now. “Most people know me as Above. I am 35 years old. I am from San Francisco, CA, but have been based out of Berlin for the last three years. I have been doing graffiti, street art, and working the public domain for 20 years now. I painted my first train in 1996 in California. Currently, I am out here in Worcester, ‘the Woo’, painting a mural for POW! WOW! that reads, ‘I Love You. Marry Me.’ It is a bit of a proposal for my girl back in Berlin.”
Tavar shared that his world famous icon of an upward facing arrow, was born of a need to get in and get out so to speak. “I painted the actual letters, A-B-O-V-E for three years, before I decided I wanted to change the name into an icon that represented the name. Mostly because I was painting train panels, and one time the train took off. I realized that as the train picked up speed I couldn’t read it. My message wasn’t being seen. I wanted it to be seen, for many different reason. So I transitioned to an arrow pointing up, symbolizing “Rise Above.”
POW! WOW! Worcester was not only his first POW! WOW! festival, but also his first time in New England. He expressed his gratitude for the growing opportunities for artist through these mural festivals. “It is allowing us to dream bigger.”
*Photo by Stephen King for POW! WOW! Worcester
Spencer Keeton Cunningham is some what of a nomadic artist. His art and murals have taken him from place to place with no official itinerary, just plans to show up at a new place, paint, and make some money so he can move on. His work is overwhelmingly simple and poignant, providing a unique reflection on 21st century culture, as only a person on the road can tell.
*Photo by Jasper Wong for POW! WOW! Worcester
Dan Witz is an artist from Chicago, IL and currently based in Brooklyn, NY. His work is remarkably detailed, often providing photorealist character studies of his subjects. Subtlety is a prominent element in Dan’s work. His street art is unique in that the scale is usually very small. They usually catch the corner of your eye and make you reconsider reality, if only for a moment.
*Photo by POW! WOW! Worcester
Rustam Qbic is a Russian artist. His paintings and illustrations have a unique story telling quality. He is a story teller who’s feet never touch the ground. Regardless of where you find him along his journey, each piece feels like you just caught him in the middle of telling the ‘good part.’
Kai Griffiths is a local artist of Worcester. His work ames at continuing “to push the boundaries
Anthony Mancuso is primarily figurative, and it addresses romantic ideals inspired by the work of Eugene Delacroix and Pietro Annigoni. “I approach my subject from a representational perspective, and use strong value/contrast to transmit a deep emotional response. This tonal approach allows a powerful connection with form, permitting the viewer to relate to the subjects mood.” It was nice to witness is transition into larger scale work at his first POW! WOW!
Pamela Stolz, a local Worcester artist depicts scenes of everyday life throughout her paintings. She has stated that “much of her work is semi-autobiographical and deals with the personal relationships of her peers as well as with her family’s recent past.” Her paintings allow you to take her place as the non-partison observe of her experiences.
Written by: Zuzu Perkal & Erick Gonzalez