I‘ve photographed a lot of street art over the past ten years, mainly in NYC, often just random shots during my walks around, camera around my neck or in my bag. There is so much freedom, diversity, and talent in this art, paintings that sometimes appear overnight under the cover of a darker sky, or sometimes just commissioned by a company. I love walking around a corner to see a mural staring back at me, or finding a tiny little sketch in a corner, hidden by a colourful tag. Streets shouldn’t be perfectly bland and clean, they should be flamboyant, dusty and loud, full of each and every one of us. Streets should represent us all and streets should change over time, capturing our thoughts and actions, portraying what we are and where we are going. Art isn’t meant to be kept behind lock and key, art is for us all to appreciate, take in and assimilate, look at and smile. We have so many forms of expression and visual art is one of the most evocative and also the one most open to interpretation. It always makes me happy to be in a city that allows artists to freely express themselves on walls and railways and bridges.
It’s sometimes hard for me to walk around Sacramento. I still feel a little disconnected, slightly lost, and wonder why everything is just so quiet. I’m slowly getting more used to it, and continue to walk around hoping to find that part of me that I left back in NYC 7 months ago. I may never find it, as it’s probably just waiting for me to come back, but I am finding that there are more and more things that inspire and motivate me. The Art Hotel 916 back in February for example, and just recently the Sacramento Mural Festival. The festival took place between August 20th and 27th and involved 11 artists (and some assistant artists) and 11+ walls around the midtown and downtown areas of Sacramento. During the week the artists each created a mural (or more than one mural) for us, the people who walk around the streets of Sacramento. These 11 artists (Add Fuel, Alicia Palenyy, Andrew Schoultz, David Fiveash, Dog and Pony, Drew Merritt, Irubiel Moreno, Jake Castro, Kristin Farr, Michelle Blade, and Nate Frizzell), were picked earlier in the year (thankfully they made sure to represent some local artists too) and all went out of their way to really make some buildings and alleyways look spectacular. You can find more information on the official website, including a map of locations and artist bios.
I walked around the area on the 20th, the first day of the festival, where some of the artists were just starting up, laying the foundations of their work. I then went back again on the Tuesday, August 23rd, and took more photos, walking around the J, K, and L streets, and then over towards Old Sacramento, and shot some of the works in progress. And then back again during the day on the 27th to see some of the pieces getting their final touches and others already finished and dried. The only mural I didn’t manage to get to was Dog & Pony’s over on C Street, and as soon as I do I will add some pictures to the album. Other than that I have seen every mural in some form or another, and most of them more than once. While I have my own personal favourites, every single piece of art is super original, beautiful and inspiring. To take an idea and to recreate it over such a vast canvas takes such skill, and it was amazing to see it happening in real time.
I chatted briefly to Irubiel Moreno about just how beautiful I found his mural to be, and he was so humble and friendly, explaining that it was all for us, people of Sacramento. He also told me that he didn’t know exactly what he was going to do or how it was going to turn out until he had actually finished it. The pastel colours were a wink to the name of the location, Lavender Heights, and I found that the sheer amount of work that he put into the mural over the space of a few days was just spectacular. I’m really looking to go back and see the final, final result, and again, stroll through the streets of Sacramento and discover more.
Sacramento is all-in-all a beautiful city, still hovering between small town and big city, and for its size has a huge amount of artistic incentives, festivals and exhibitions. I need to get out and about more to join in. You can find the full album of photos taken last week HERE, as well as a collection below. If you know of any events that you think I would enjoy around here I would love to hear about them, and maybe even join in! All photos taken with a FujiFilm XE-1 and a Canon Rebel.