September 10, 2007

Chambers Response

After viewing all the work at Chambers, I decided to choose the mural painting in the stairwell of the building. I have always been interested in graffiti art. When I walked into the stairwell, I immediately recognized one of the artist’s works. I met Josh Lemke this summer through my boss. We talked for some time about his and my art but he did not mention that he had done a piece at Chambers. He told me that he was going to be working on a piece on 1st and 1st in downtown Minneapolis and said that I should come down and check it out when he was working.

His style is very unique. For the most part he tags his own first name instead of using a ‘tag name.’ He also really likes to use about of bold colors and blends them very well. This lettering is also extremely 3D and twice around its self. His work at Chambers is no different. The work here was commissioned to Juxtaposition Art, a nonprofit organization that teaches inner-city youth how to spray paint in an educational and responsible way. The entire piece was done by a team that covers all five floors of the stairwell. It was done with Aerosol spray cans applied directly to the cinderblocks. The job took about two weeks to finish. During the process, they place a fan at the bottom and opened doors and the bottom and top of the stairs creating a wind tunnel to somewhat clear the air. They also wore masks to protect themselves from the fumes.

The whole concept of the piece was the four elements of the earth. The piece starts on the first floor with fire and moving up from there they had earth, wind, and water. They then added the human being at the fifth element on the top floor. This is depicted by a woman with the word Divine behind her. Other images such at earth, they had the tree of life. Also in the tree they placed a fetus which represents how nature is the root of birth. As you walk in to each floor you will see a symbol on the wall which stands for the element on that floor. They then related the five elements of life to elements in hip hop. For this they illustrated a DJ, Break dancing, Graffiti and other icons to the hip hop culture.