Pictured above is Stan Padilla working on his mural that can be found at 917 7th Street, in Improv Alley.
If you’ve been out and about in Sacramento over the last couple weeks than you’re certain to have felt a buzz in the air.
People were all over town, excitedly touring from one Wide Open Walls mural to another.
Watching as artists began murals all the way through to when they were putting on the finishing touches, spectators got to enjoy taking in the artistic process first-hand.
The Wide Open Walls art festival in Sacramento returned for its third year, bringing out local talent, as well as artists from around the world, to contribute to the 2018 beautification of walls throughout Sacramento.
From August 9-19th, artists could be found all over town, from the street level to 15 stories high, creating unique works of art to inspire and enrich our community.
Wide Open Walls Art Festival
Annually produced by non-profit group Wide Open Walls, this year’s ten-day art festival featured over 40 international artists – including some Sacramentans – working to beautify the walls of our city.
With artist meet and greets, as well as receptions and block parties celebrating the festival, people were out in full swing to appreciate and revel in the new art going up all over Sacramento.
With over 40 artists participating, the streets of Sacramento were a flurry with activity. Take a closer look at some of the artists below.
Drawing and painting before he had even started preschool, Sacramento-based artist Anthony Padilla (aka, Kinetic Ideas) was enrolled in airbrush lessons at age 12 and picked up his first spray can two years later, finding freedom in motion.
"Ultimately, my goal is to put some color on the horizon, to inject some inspiration into the void and push the boundaries of aerosol art into the future," Anthony states. "If by doing this I can make someone pause for a moment and think differently about their environment, then I've done something to make the world a more interesting place."
Having completed hundreds of commissioned pieces, he began to explore combining art with functionality in 2009 when he created a 27’ x 27’ self-standing solar mural with funding from the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission and The Boys and Girls Club.
His latest endeavor in merging functionality into sculpture was creating the “Solar Poppy”, a solar powered 8 port USB charging station that was funded by the Crocker Art Museum.
Padilla explains, ”The knowledge I have gained from working with structural and electrical engineers, contractors and fabricators further opens my mind to the possibilities of public art. Ultimately I'm planning a marriage between imagination, sculpture, nature, technology and solar power. When these ideas are combined something beautiful can bloom, helping to power the human race."
The Kinetic Ideas’ mural can be seen at 1121 15th Street, at the Residence Inn by Marriott Sacramento Downtown at Capitol Park Hotel entrance.
Perhaps best known for his red, white, and blue portrait of 2008 presidential candidate Barack Obama, which was used for his 'Hope' campaign, Shepard Fairey is one of the most influential contributors to the street art movement.
Though his works are included in the collections of the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, SF MOMA, NYC MOMA, the US National Portrait Gallery, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, Fairey continues communicating his brand of social critique in public spaces.
The 15 story mural he created during this year’s Wide Open Walls festival was inspired by the 50th anniversary of Johnny Cash’s historic performance – and recording – of Live at Folsom Prison.
Cash was a outspoken proponent of prison reform, as is Fairey. Tying his tribute to both Johnny Cash and a cause that was dear to his heart, it is Fairey’s hope that this man in black mural will generate conversation and further education around the topic of prison reform.
Fairey’s larger than life mural can be seen on the east facing wall of the Residence Inn by Marriott Sacramento Downtown at Capitol Park, visible from the intersection of 16th Street and L Street.
Los Angeles based artist who took part in this year’s festival, Valfré’s self-named art, clothing and accessory line was launched in 2013, and can now be found in over 250 stores worldwide. Her work is described as walking the poignant line between confident and vulnerable, while inspiring the wild at heart.
She was born and raised in Tijuana, an experience that shaped her as an artist:
“There is a lot of frustration in my hometown, but I believe that that is one of the reasons why it is full of street art. You see, frustration and sadness make people create beautiful things. Growing up looking at the street art inspired me to be creative myself.”
Valfré’s mural can be found at 1815 K Street, in the Porch Restaurant Parking Lot.
Italian street artist specializing in large murals, Pixel Pancho works with an earth-toned palette, lending his modern, robotic creations an ancient feel.
A lover of art from a young age, his built upon the early instruction he received from his grandfather with advanced studies first in Italy and then Spain, where he became a well-known graffiti and street artist.
Pixel Pancho’s mural can be seen at 710 J Street.
Sacramento Artists To Watch
While artists turned out from all over the globe to grace the walls of our city with their talents, the following list is a shout-out to all the gifted Sacramento-based artists that participated in the 2018 Wide Open Walls art festival:
Jose Di Gregorio
Lopan And Ernie Fresh
Michele Ann Murtaugh
What is Wide Open Walls?
A non-profit group with a mission to promote and celebrate public art, Wide Open Walls hosts art events created to inspire in the community an appreciation of local art experiences and a desire take part them.
Viewing it as an integral part of the human experience, Wide Open Walls works to promote art throughout the Sacramento area. The organization’s hope is that making art a part of people’s daily experience will empower them and transform their lives.
Their goal in bringing public art to underserved areas is to:
- Promote diversity through artistic expression
- Create public gathering spaces
- Encourage a sense of identity and pride
- Generate impactful, measurable regional economic growth
- Cultivate deeper cultural understanding, and appreciation, amongst diverse groups
The annual August art festival isn’t their only community endeavor. Some other events they produce throughout the year are:
Culture Makers: the People and Places Inspiring Sacramento
Being the subject of film-makers, the maker of film stars, and the city of choice for artists, discover the people and places shaping Sacramento’s culture.
Why Is Public Art Important?
Public art can provide profound and long-lasting benefits to surrounding communities. Increasing quality of life, and in many cases the local economy, public art isn’t just pretty. It’s important.
Public art has a very positive effect on surrounding communities, bringing not only joy through experience, but also generating regional economic growth.
Sparking job growth and a tourism influx, arts and cultural activities are quite often a determining factor when one decides where to travel and how long to stay.
Art installations can inspire travel and persuade those traveling to the area for other reasons to extend their stay.
Public art in underserved communities goes a long way to promote interaction in public spaces, increasing civic participation through celebrations, engaging youth in the community, promoting the power and preservation of place all while broadening participation in the civic agenda.
The Wide Open Walls art festival was an exciting time for community and creation throughout the Sacramento area. Take the time to tour around and enjoy the efforts of the many, diverse artists who came out to contribute. There’s a lot to see.