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"Bloom"

Location: 3200 N. Davidson Street side wall

Artist:  Osiris Rain

Date: 2017

Media: Acrylic paint

Artist Info: @osirisrain


Story: “Bloom” is a 46-foot by 10-foot mural by artist Osiris Rain with assistance from Nick Napoletano. Originally the mural included a branding logo for Stella Artois, but the current rendition reflects changes. A signature component of many of Rain’s murals are his grey-scale human faces.


Key Formal Elements:

  • Dominant colors are warm hues of yellow, orange, and red 
  • Delicate use of the cool color blue around the lotus flower creates a focal point

Make the Connection:

Iconography of the lotus flower is shared by many ancient religions. As the focal point of this image, the lotus flower has potential symbolic meanings. How may the lotus flower be symbolic of rebirth in this location?  Also, can you locate the crowns, which symbolize of the city of Charlotte? And can you see the letters Charlotte spelled out in the mural? 

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Medallion and Benches

Location: 3204 N. Davidson Street Center of the Earth medallion and benches in 3200 block

Artists: Ruth Ava Lyons and Paul Sires

Date: 1980s

Media: Mosaic tile embedded in concrete

Artist Info: @ruthavalyonsart, www.jpaulsires.com


Story: Ruth Ava Lyons and Paul Sires are artist legends in Charlotte. The artists found studio space in the NoDa area in the early 1980s, invested in properties, and started the artistic renaissance of the area. Their gallery was called Center of the Earth Gallery and located in this shopfront. 


Key Formal Elements:

  • Symmetrical balance

Make the Connection:

The artists also completed the mosaics on the benches in front of the shopfront. Both artists use a great deal of natural forms in their work. Lyons works mostly in two-dimensional mixed media paintings. Sires works as a sculptor mostly in marbles and granites. 

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Street Paintings

Location: Loading zone in the 3200 block of N. Davidson Street

Artist: Osiris Rain

Date: 2018

Media: Acrylic paint

Artist Info: @osirisrain


Story: This project was a partnership between the Charlotte Department of Transportation and Sustain Charlotte for the OpenStreets704 biking celebration in Spring 2018. CDOT removed the parking lanes to create a loading zone and to ease congestion in front of the fire department. 


Key Formal Elements:

  • Repetition of patterns
  • Warm, secondary color of orange forms the main area of the flower


Make the Connection:

During the OpenStreets704 festival, the artist provided stencils so that members of the community were able to contribute to painting the flowers and be a part of this community art project.

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Wall Poem

Location: 3204 N. Davidson Street Wall Poem

Artists:  Wall Poems of Charlotte, Amy Bagwell, Graham Carew, The Mural Shop

Date: 2016

Media: Acrylic paint

Artist Info: @wallpoems, @emotiontapes, @grahamcarew, @mural shop


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. “Untitled” is a poem by William Harmon, a North Carolina native and retired professor of poetry at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Key Formal Elements:

  • The repetition and uniformity of the letters suggest the ocean on a calm day
  • Cool color blue suggests water

Make the Connection:

Read each line carefully. Are they all the same? Do the words you can see have any relationship to each other? Is there a reason the poem is painted in Carolina blue, the official color of UNC Chapel Hill where the poet taught? Can you make a connection between this poem and Harmon’s service with the Unites States Navy in Vietnam?

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Mural

Location: 3204 N. Davidson Street painting beside the Wall Poem

Artist: William Puckett

Date: 2012

Media: Acrylic paint

Artist Info: @mr_puckett


Story: William Puckett’s political painting celebrates Barack Obama’s 2012 candidacy for President of the United States. 


Key Formal Elements:

  • Primary colors of red and blue
  • Strong vertical lines of red stripes suggest power and strength

Make the Connection:

The idea of appropriation is central to contemporary art works. Appropriation in art is the use of existing imagery in new works. Puckett draws upon some imagery in the iconic “Hope” Obama poster design by Shepard Fairy, which was also created in 2012. Perhaps Puckett also makes a connection to Faith Ringgold, a prominent African-American artist and her work done during the Civil Rights Era. Do you feel that art loses any of its originality if artists borrow from historical sources?

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Mural

Location: 3306 N. Davidson Street side wall at Salud Beer Shop

Artist: Nico Amortegui

Date: 2012

Media: Acrylic paint

Artist Info: @nico_malol


Story: Artist Nico Amortegui is a native of Columbia. His Abstract Expressionist style of art has parallels to several historic artists. With his emphasis on abstract figures, use of line, and incorporation of elements of graffiti, the work of Amortegui connects with that of Picasso, Basquiet, and Lam. 


Key Formal Elements:

  • Strong use of outline in all of the figures
  • Abstract figures

Make the Connection:

Salud is the name of this popular beer shop. Salud is the Spanish word for cheers, or bless you, and is used as a toast for people raising their glasses. Cerveza is Spanish for beer. The artist includes several references to the name of the business and beer in his mural. Together the figures, the dog, and the musicians all communicate the joy of having a beer with one’s friends.

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Mural

Location: 3306 N. Davidson Street side wall at Salud Beer Shop

Artist: Nick Garris

Date: 2013

Media: Acrylic paint

Artist Info: @ngarrishighart


Story: In a second mural on the side wall of Salud Beer Shop, Artist Nick Garris celebrates this art-supporting business.


Key Formal Elements:

  • Symmetrical balance
  • Strong use of outline and contour lines in “faces” of beer bottles

Make the Connection:

Two beer bottles with faces and arms tilt slightly outward to frame a sign for the beer shop. Their “hands” raise a toast to connect with the meaning of salud. Why might the “eye” of one of the beer bottles be falling out?

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Sculptures

  

Location: 3310 N. Davidson Street sculptures of water tower, faces, and paper airplanes at Mercury Apartments 

Artist: Lauren Puckett

Date: 2016

Media: Stained glass and metal

Artist Info: @thepucketteers


Story: Artist Lauren Puckett designed three separate sculptures for this apartment complex. Look for the airplanes at the front entrance at 3310 N. Davidson Street, the water tower at the end of the driveway, and the faces along East 36th Street.


Key Formal Elements:

  • Free-standing sculptures
  • Primary colors used for the faces


Make the Connection:

The iconic NoDa area water tower is re-created in a smaller scale and marks a sense of place for this project. Along with the faces rendered in different colors and the planes, perhaps the artist is celebrating both the history of this place and idea of growth. How do you think the sculptures communicate this idea of history and growth?

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Mural

Location: 511 E. 36th Street front wall of Neighborhood Theatre

Artists: William Puckett

Date: 2015

Media: Acrylic paint

Artist Info: @mr_puckett


Story:  Built in 1945, the Neighborhood Theatre was originally called the Astor Theatre.  At one time, it was an African-American theatre and by the 1960s it was showing X-rated films. 


Key Formal Elements:

  • Polychromatic color scheme
  • Use of white outline around the animals

Make the Connection:

Puckett uses a variety of animal forms in this large, flowing, bold mural. The artist intends for this mural to represent the dynamic forces of the future and change, while preserving the past. What elements of the mural represent change to you? What elements of the mural represent the past to you?

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Sculpture

Location: 514 E. 36th Street sculpture out front of Smelly Cat Coffee

Artist: Theron Ross

Date: 2011

Media: Metal

Artist Info: @theronross


Story: Playful sculpture in front of Smelly Cat Coffee House draws attention to the business and it is a bike rack that acts as a functional element of the streetscape. This project was a collaboration between NoDaRioty, the arts committee of the Historic North Charlotte Neighborhood Association and the Neighborhood Energy Challenge Grant. “Pimp my Rack” allowed Ross, a metal-worker and blacksmith, an opportunity to create six artistic bicycle rack designs. Five are still located in the neighborhood.


Key Formal Elements:

  • Three-dimensional, free-standing sculpture
  • Clever use of negative space

Make the Connection:

The sculpture was recently yarn bombed by fiber artist Jessica Allen (@desertroseknittco.) Yarn bombing is a type of graffiti or street art that uses colorful displays of knitted or crocheted yarn or fiber arts. Be on the lookout for other items that have been yarn bombed in NoDa.

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Murals

Location: 3221 Yadkin Avenue walls of the NODA Company Store

Artists: Matt Hooker, Matt Moore

Date: 2016

Media: Acrylic paint

Artist Info: @hookermedia, @puckmcgruff


Story: Artists Matt Hooker and Matt Moore researched the history of the North Davidson Street area for inspiration. NoDa has transitioned from rolling farmland during the American Revolution, to a major textile center during the 20th century, to one of Charlotte’s art and entertainment centers today.  


Key Formal Elements:

  • Entire mural rendered in grey-scale tones
  • Variety created through the contrast of light and dark

Make the Connection:

The history of NoDa plays a starring role in these murals. Starting on the front wall, the artists draw connections to farming, and include a portrait of American Revolution leader General William Lee Davidson. Around the corner, can you locate the reference to the Highland Manufacturing Co. Mill No. 3 which opened in 1903? The mill produced mostly gingham fabric. Can you find where the artists included gingham? There are also humorous references to the criminal element that oral histories tell us existed in NoDa over the course of its history.

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Mural

Location: End of alley along side wall of NoDa Company Store

Artist: Osiris Rain

Date: 2017

Media: Acrylic paint

Artist Info: @osirisrain


Story:  This piece of art transforms a concrete block wall that houses garbage behind this business. 


Key Formal Elements:

  • Highlights located on the eyelids, forehead, and chin
  • Geometric patterns create contrast with organic lines of figure

Make the Connection:

The owner of this business turned a potentially unattractive garbage collection area into an opportunity to showcase art. On your walk, see if you can imagine other spaces that could benefit from an artistic intervention.

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Mural

Location: 510 E. 35th Street wall at 510 Expert Tattoos

Artist: Tom Michael

Date: 

Media: Acrylic paint

Artist Info: @uglytom


Story: Large eagle with fully spread wings covers half of a side wall of the tattoo studio. Blue and white fluffy clouds fill in the rest of the areas.


Key Formal Elements:

  • Implied motion of the bird in flight
  • Asymmetrical balance with the focal point behind the eagle at the point where the red sunbursts begin

Make the Connection:

The eagle can be symbolic of many things in art. Going back to the founding of the United States, the eagle can be a symbol of power, courage, independence, and freedom. How does the choice of subject matter for this mural relate to the business?

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Dumpster Mural

Location: Directly behind the building located at N. Davidson Street and E. 35th Street and across from 510 Expert Tattoo

Artist: Osiris Rain

Date: 2017

Media Acrylic paint

Artist Info: @osirisrain


Story: Neighborhood arts leader, Paul Sires commissioned artist Osiris Rain to paint a mural on the private dumpster Sires installed behind the building he owned. Rain painted one of his trademark portraits in grey scale and covered one side with flowers. 


Key Formal Elements:

  • Realistic highlights on the tip of the nose and forehead
  • Cool colors of the blue background contrast with the warm colors of the flowers


Make the Connection:

Shortly after this piece was completed, it generated a good bit of controversy. Apparently, city zoning regulations require a fence or screening to hide a dumpster from public view. Articles in the paper and news segments debated whether the city should enforce this zoning regulation or issue a waiver and allow the mural to remain. Since it would take 2 years to get a hearing from the city, official are waiving the $50 per day penalty until a solution is found. Do you think the city should issue a waiver or enforce the rules? Why?