The title of this mural is ‘Black Bottom’. As a third generation Philadelphian, my art is directly informed by my relationship to the city. I approached this project with a tremendous sense of pride and responsibility to the people who occupy the West Philadelphia neighborhood. I worked to reflect its long striving history, which spans from The Back Bottom to Powelton Village.
I spent a bit of time observing and participating in the daily bustle of the neighborhood as an attempt to honestly depict the character of the area. The ordinariness of accessing various modes of transportation and delivery trucks, parents walking in hand with their children, signage typography, and workers leaving their shift was the subsistence for this art.
My goal was to offer the vibrancy that animates Powelton’s everyday people as a breathing ornament from which to draw motivation and remind us that being in community demands collaboration. The colors for this mural work together to convey a relationship between joy and contentment as splashes of red accent the legibly calming tones of yellow and gold.
The intentional blank areas of the piece are figuratively holding space for new stories to be made alongside existing important, historical tales. This drawing, then, cannot be divorced from the replenishing energy of people who are determined to keep calling Philly home.
A special thanks to the partners that helped bring this mural to life: People’s Emergency Center Neighborhood Advisory Committee Philadelphia, The Bank Building and community center, and Lola 38 which is a Creative Placemaking project in West Philadelphia focused on the intersections of 38th st., Lancaster and Powelton avenues. Our mission is to encourage civic conversation through the artistic activation of the diverse social and geographic assets which make Lower Lancaster Avenue a gateway to West Philadelphia’s arts, culture, and community.
The exact address of the Black Bottom mural is The Bank at 3750 Lancaster Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19104