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Mural by @jagolactus

Location: 101 N. Tryon Street

Artist: John Hairston, Jr.

Date: 2018

Media: Acrylic paint

Artist Info: @jagolactus


Story: Artist John Hairston, Jr.  grew up drawing superheroes, comics, and cartoons. His Instagram name is a combination of his name and Galactus, a Marvel supervillain. This mural was completed during a live painting competition at the end of Talking Walls, a city-wide mural festival held in 2018.  His mural won the competition and became the featured artwork for Charlotte Shout.  Charlotte Shout is a celebration of art, music, and ideas that coincided with the commemoration of Charlotte’s 250th anniversary and was held in May 2019.  


Key Formal Elements:

  • Asymmetrical balance
  • Lack of negative space

Make the Connection:

In this energetic and colorful composition, the artist gives us a larger than life superhero surrounded by symbols of Charlotte. For instance, can you find a sly reference to a hornet or the handlebar top of the Duke Energy building?  Notice the many dogwood blossoms dotting the canvas. The flowering blossom of the dogwood tree was designated as the North Carolina state flower in 1941. Look around the 4 corners of this intersection to find one more iconic symbol of Charlotte in the mural. Hint: It tells time.

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"Fly Girl"

Location: West 4th Street across from Pearl Dentistry along a loading dock

Artist: Sloane Siobhan 

Date: 2019

Media: Acrylic paint

Artist Info: @namasteloner


Story:  Artist Sloane Siobhan is from Charlotte and received her BFA in Studio Art from Appalachian State University. She now works out of Las Vegas and came home to paint this mural for the Charlotte Shout festival in collaboration with Talking Walls. 


Key Formal Elements:

  • Asymmetrical balance
  • Blue and orange complementary colors

Make the Connection:

Siobhan nestles a profile of an African-American woman in light and fluffy blue and orange cloud-like forms. A flowing ribbon of wild style graffiti lettering leads your eye to the paper airplane. In a description of the work, Siobhan writes, “because despite the cards dealt you can rise.” The mural inspires in its message and delights with its visuals. Can you determine what the wild style lettering says?

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Mural by McMonster

Location: 203 S. Tryon Street

Artist: McMonster 

Date: 2018

Media: Acrylic paint

Artist Info: @mc_monster


Story: Portland-based artist, McMonster, created this hidden gem for Talking Walls and it is all things J.R.R. Tolkien. The artist is inspired by Tolkien, nature, science fiction, fantasy, and dreamscapes. His subject matter in this mural, a person in a small boat holding a white balloon with a mountainous landscape behind, speaks to all of those interests.   


Key Formal Elements:

  • Symmetrical balance
  • Outline of the balloon shape and contour lines in the water  

Make the Connection:

What does it mean when something is curated? According to Miriam-Webster, curated means “carefully chosen and thoughtfully organized or presented.” This mural was curated by Talking Walls and we see how a curator can impact your experience of viewing a work of art. If you even walked down this alley, you may have felt a little uneasy. Where were you going? How far is it? What’s at the end? Maybe you experienced a little delight upon spying this work of art knowing, others may have passed it by. As you walk toward the mural and the noise of the city lessens, you are face to face with this work which only leaves you with questions.   

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Mural by Jackson

Location: 219 S. Brevard Street

Artist: Abel R. Jackson 

Date: 2019

Media: Acrylic paint

Artist Info: @artbyabel


Story:  Local artist Abel R. Jackson makes a terrific debut with his first mural in uptown Charlotte. Beautifully executed realistic portraits of three prominent African-American leaders of historic Charlotte float above tightly rendered depictions of the buildings behind this mural. The artist pays homage to the past while connecting to the future.


Key Formal Elements:

  • Linear perspective of the buildings
  • Highlights on the realistic faces

Make the Connection:

On the far left, Thad Tate was an important African-American businessman and founder of the Grace A.M.E. Zion Church, housed in the building in front of the mural. Dr. J.T. Williams was one of the first African-American doctors licensed in NC, and one of the first black diplomats serving as an ambassador overseas. On the right, W.C. Smith was a prominent businessman and the founder of Charlotte’s first black newspaper. How do the colorful graphics on each side draw you into the image? 

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Saphire Spiral

Location: 220 E. Trade Street

Artist: Jonay di Ragno

Date: 2019

Media: Acrylic paint

Artist Info: @jonay_di_ragno


Story:  Di Ragno describes himself as an Abstract Expressionist artist and was raised in both Spain and the Caribbean. He is most known in Charlotte for creating his “Fibonacci Spiral” mural in NoDa. This mural is a project for Charlotte Shout and curated by Talking Walls. 


Key Formal Elements:

  • Cool colors of blue with accents of orange
  • Focal point is center of spiral

Make the Connection:

Di Ragno’s mural is again based on the Fibonacci Sequence, a mathematical series of numbers. These numbers are often expressed in nature and are seen to have divine or perfect connotations. His mural in NoDa has its own Instagram page @noda_charlotte_mural_fibonacci and quite a few followers. According to unscientific statistical analysis, the NoDa spiral mural is the most Instagrammed mural in Charlotte. Do you think this one will rival the NoDa mural? 

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Mural by Hoxxoh

Location: 408 E. Trade Street

Artist: Hoxxoh

Date: 2018

Media: Acrylic paint

Artist Info: @hoxxoh


Story:  Miami-based artist, Hoxxoh, is interested in exploring time and the energy of time in his work.  He created this work for Talking Walls.  


Key Formal Elements:

  • Saturated cool color blue dominates the far right
  • Pattern and repetition are important

Make the Connection:

Color, pattern, and repetition mix together to create the effect of a tunnel, or a time travel tunnel. Even the gear-shaped edges of each layer suggest the precision of time. Do you feel trapped by this tunnel and its intense structure or do you feel movement and escape? 

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Wall Poem

Location: 328 N. Brevard Street

Artist: Wall Poems of Charlotte, Scott Nurkin, The Mural Shop

Date: 2015

Media: Acrylic paint

Artist Info: @wallpoems, @themuralshop 


Story: Wall Poems of Charlotte is an effort to integrate poetry into urban areas of the city. The organization has completed over a dozen installations featuring the poetry of North Carolina artists. “Bus Stop” is a poem by Donald Justice, a Pulitzer Prize winning poet and educator who studied at the University of North Carolina. This installation was funded by the Knight Foundation with support from the building’s owner, Levine Properties. The Treolar House, as the building is known, is a rare residential building in uptown Charlotte. It was built in 1887 by a prominent business man who came to the area from England to work in gold mining. 


Key Formal Elements:

  • Installation
  • Repetition of key phrases of the poem on three walls of the build

Make the Connection:

Much of the writing by Justice centers around memory or reimagining the past in some way to make a connection. In beautiful language the poem invites the reader to linger for a moment. Imagine those “black flowers.” Engaging with this building, one of the few remaining historic structures in uptown Charlotte, encourages the viewer to both slow down, and to anticipate the future a block away at the light rail stop. If the poet was painter, he would be Edward Hopper. 

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Perspective at Spirit Square

Location: 111. E. 7th Street 

Artists: Anne Duarte and Sydney Duarte with assistance from Nick Napoletano 

Date: 2019

Media: Acrylic Paint

Artist Info: @duartedesigns, @traveling_gypsy, @napoletanoart


Story: This is a mural by the mother and daughter team of Duarte Designs, a relatively new mural artist team here in Charlotte. As artists, they are interested in spreading positive messages of love, laughter, and hope. This mural was commissioned by Charlotte Center City Partners. 


Key Formal Elements:

  • Scale
  • Limited palette of purple tones and some yellow accents

Make the Connection:

With the simplicity of a gray-scale figure and limited colors, the artists use this vertical, four-story mural to spread their message of happiness. With the Dr. Wayne Dwyer quote “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change” and their upside-down figure, their message is to see things differently. I feel happier already.

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Spirit Square Mural

Location: 300 N. Tryon Street located on side wall down E. 7th Street

Artist: Caitlin McDonagh

Date: 2019

Media: Acrylic Paint

Artist Info: @caitlynmcdonagh


Story: Canadian artist and illustrator Caitlin McDonagh painted this mural as part of “Dripped on the Road” for Talking Walls 2019. “Dripped on the Road” is a traveling artist residency program based out of Brooklyn. For several weeks resident artists and mentors travel and camp in an RV in national parks, give talks to universities, and paint murals.


Key Formal Elements:

  • Flowing lines

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Make the Connection:

McDonagh is interested in folklore, fables, and fairy tales. And giving your imagination a workout. Follow the flowing ribbons in her composition through the trees, human-bird figure, eyes, and moon. Now tell your own story about what is happening here. 

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Continuum

Location:  401 N. Tryon Street

Artist: Ben Long

Date: 1998

Media: Fresco

Artist Info: www.benlongfineart.com


Story:  North Carolina native Ben Long was commissioned by the former NationsBank to create this fresco. The fresco painting method was known to the ancient Romans and was prevalent during the Renaissance. Fresco painting involves painting into wet plaster directly onto the wall and is ideal for creating murals. Long has several other fresco commissions in uptown Charlotte including the Bank of America Corporate Center, the CMPD building on Trade Street, and First Presbyterian Church.


Key Formal Elements:

  • Implied lines of the figures pointing
  • Space – the shape of the composition is a dome

Make the Connection:

Drawing on the traditions of illusionistic ceiling painting from the Renaissance and Baroque periods, Long uses heavily foreshortened figures and linear perspective to create the illusion of depth and an opening to the heavens. Individual vignettes or groupings of figures tell stories along the circumference of the dome. Can you find the self-portrait of the artist standing at an easel? Also included is a portrait of Hugh McColl, former chairman of the Bank of America and long-time patron of Long’s art.

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Discovery Place Mural

Location: 301 N. Tryon Street side wall down 7thStreet at Discovery Place

Artist: Alex DeLarge

Date: 2019

Media: Acrylic Paint

Artist Info: @alexdelarge


Story: Alex DeLarge is a leader in the Charlotte mural scene. He was one of the original founders of the TalkingWalls Mural Festival in 2018 and a founder of the Southern Tiger Collective, a cooperative group of local artists supporting the street art scene. DeLarge wants Charlotte to become a destination for mural art and a celebration of public art. 


Key Formal Elements:

  • Warm colors in sunset and fire
  • Implied motion

Make the connection:

Remember Marty McFly and Dr. Emmett Brown? Back to the Future came out in 1985 with its DeLorean Time Machine allowing for travel back in time. The fiery tire tracks and electrical currents that surround the car signify its landing at another time. The artist made one change from the original however. Here the license plate reads “704.” Do you know what the original license plate said? Also, how is this mural connected to the its location?

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Mother of Invention

Location: 301 N. Tryon Street wall along E. 6th Street

Artist: Rosalia Torres-Weiner

Date: 2019

Media: Acrylic paint

Artist Info: @redcalacastudio


Story: Artist and activist Rosalia Torres-Weiner is a native of Mexico and one of the leading mural artists and community builders in Charlotte. Her mural on the side of Discovery Place is a Charlotte Shout project curated by Talking Walls. With murals in NoDa, Plaza-Midwood, and South End, this marks her first mural uptown. The artist is known for her female subject matter, bold and colorful designs, and political statements.


Key Formal Elements:

  • Symmetrical balance
  • Use of white outline

Make the Connection:

Torres-Weiner presents a colorful and decorated “Mother of Invention.” So many symbols are here to help you make the connection to both the location of the mural and her title. Some scientific symbols like the solar system and DNA helix iconography are combined with more mystical symbols like a dreamcatcher. What do you think this may suggest? Also, look closely. Could there be a statement with the inclusion of “2020” and “46” in the bottom left corner? 

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Strange Fruit

Location: N. Tryon Street between Duckworth’s and the library

Artist: Dammit Wesley

Date: 2018

Media: Acrylic paint

Artist Info: @dammit_wesley


Story:  The artist who goes by the name of Dammit Wesley is a community leader, social and political activist, and outspoken supporter of creatives of color. That’s a lot to live up to and he does. His art sheds lights on the black experience through the lens of popular culture, and often can be overt in its meaning, or subtler as in this case. This mural was completed during Talking Walls. 


Key Formal Elements:

  • Strong use of outline
  • Secondary colors of green and orange

Make the Connection:

Without knowing at least something about the reference here by the artist, it is easy to miss the entire content of this work. At the top, “Strange Fruit,” written in bold green letters is a reference to the song of the same name performed by Billie Holliday. The song was based on an original poem written by Jewish-American Abel Meeropol which protested American racism, particularly the lynching of African Americans. Connect the figure and the words to determine the meaning of this mural. 

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Mural by Hooker and Moore

Location: 105 East 5th Street 

Artists: Matt Hooker, Matt Moore

Date: 2015

Media: Acrylic paint

Artist Info: @hookermedia, @puckmcgruff


Story: In one of the first murals completed by the duo of Matt Hooker and Matt Moore, this mural explodes with pictorial imagery related to the city of Charlotte. Hooker and Moore, or the Matts, as they are known, have work all over the city with a style that is always changing and always engaging. 


Key Formal Elements:

  • Focal point on the far right with a bright yellow explosion
  • Asymmetrical balance

Make the Connection:

This mural is rife with symbols. For example, the crown surrounding the bright yellow explosion represents the city of Charlotte’s namesake Queen Charlotte. Can you find one symbol from Charlotte’s past and one from Charlotte’s present?