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Mural

Location: 1516 Central Avenue wall of the Coultrane’s Char Grill

Artists: Matt Hooker, Matt Moore

Date: 2017

Media: Spray Paint

Artist Info: @hookermedia, @puckmcgruff


Story: The artists celebrate the diversity and eclectic quality of the Plaza Midwood neighborhood with themes of fantasy, children, magic, and animals.  


Key Formal Elements:

  • Variety rules this post-modern collage
  • Polychromatic color scheme


Make the Connection:

Can you make out the letters on the left of the mural and figure out what they spell? What is one object in the mural that relates to the theme of families and children? How is the idea of creativity or transformation expressed by the artists in the mural?

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Mural

Location:  1600 Central Ave on front wall of Pizza Peel

Artist: Darion Fleming

Date: 2018

Media: Acrylic Paint

Artist Info: @da.flemingo


Story: This mural is a part of the 2018 Talking Walls Festival, a week-long celebration of murals and street arts. During @talkingwallscharlotte, 17 artists live-painted murals across the city. Local business sponsors supported the effort and the artists with walls to paint. 


Key Formal Elements:

  • Outline and contour lines in the skeleton
  • Limited palette – warm colors and the use of black and white


Make the Connection:

Darion Fleming is a young, talented artist who got his first start relatively recently designing cans of beer for local breweries. He quickly moved to a much larger scale designing walls for Catawba Brewery and Divine Barrel. With his two major murals in Plaza-Midwood, he’s exploring subject matter of animals but with a twist. In his mural at Sushi Guru he slices his fish. Here he shows the viewer the body of the snake but allows his snake to escape out of the frame of his mural. Does this heighten the awareness of this slithering snake or merely seem like a design decision? Or both?

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Mural

Location: 1600 Central Avenue

Artist: Niki Zarrabi

Date: 2019

Media: Acrylic Paint

Artist Info: @nikizarrabi


Story: Atlanta-based Niki Zarrabi painted this mural for Talking Walls 2019. Zarrabi, an Iranian-American mixed-media artist, works in both a smaller studio scale and very large outdoor mural projects. 


Key Formal Elements:

  • Green and reddish-pink hues work as complements
  • Organic shapes

Make the Connection:

Zarrabi explores a type of vanitas or imagery that suggests the fragile and fleeting quality of life. She is also interested in portraying power in typically feminine images. What details of the mural suggest the idea of the transience of life? How does the artist use feminine subject matter to suggest power?  

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Mural

Location: 1217 The Plaza, side wall of the Sushi Guru restaurant

Artist: Darion Fleming

Date: 2018

Media: Spray Paint

Artist Info: @da.flemingo


Story: On a large side wall of the restaurant, a massive fish entices you to dinner.


Key Formal Elements:

  • Color – primary colors of red and blue make up the fish
  • Space – Lack of negative space brings the fish to the forefront


Make the Connection:

The artist creates a humorous connection to the type of restaurant located in the building. How specifically does he design the fish?

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Mural

Location:  1912 Commonwealth Avenue, side wall of Okra Charlotte yoga studio.

Artists: 

Date: 2018

Media: Spray Paint

Artist Info: @dr.rickamortis, @you_are_jah


Story: The artists created a mural with the quote, “Before I die, I will live” on one side and a meditating seated figure on the other. 


Key Formal Elements:

  • Symmetrical balance of the seated figure in the circle 
  • Line – traditional use of outline in letters along the side


Make the Connection:

The meditative figure is cleverly arranged around a pipe on the exterior on the building. The locations of the seven chakras of the body are depicted vertically down the pipe. Chakras are various points in the body used in ancient meditation practices. What other imagery connects this piece to the yoga studio and wellness center?

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Mural

Location: 1801 Commonwealth Avenue

Artist: Ashley Graham

Date: 2018

Media: Spray paint

Artist Info: @grahamarts


Story: Playful, fun monkeys and luscious fruit flow around two sides of the Smooth Monkey smoothie shop. 


Key Formal Elements:

  • Highlights present on the fruit
  • Warm colors of the bananas and the oranges contrasts with the cool colors of the blueberries and raspberries


Make the Connection:

Notice how the monkeys are rendered in a greyscale, or the use of only black and white. Think about how that choice by the artist impacts how you encounter the other parts of the composition. 

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Mural

Location: 1212 Pecan Avenue, The Peculiar Rabbit Restaurant

Artists: Mike Wirth, Dustin

Date: 2018

Media: Spray paint

Artist Info: @southerntigercollective


Story: Large, outdoor, story and a half mural on the side of a popular restaurant features a friendly rabbit inviting you in for a drink. 


Key Formal Elements: 

  • Primary colors of red, blue, and yellow
  • Strong use of outline in the figure of the rabbit


Make the Connection:

Check out the swirls and movement in the blue and yellow background of the artwork. The artists use the famous Vincent Van Gogh painting “Starry Night” for inspiration. According to Google Art, there are more searches for “Starry Night” than for any other painting. What is your favorite painting?

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Mural

Location: 1228 Gordon Street on the side wall of Snug Harbor

Artist: Shurkin

Date: 2014

Media: Acrylic paint

Artist Info: @themuralshop


Story: This large wall mural draws upon the timeless story of the Sirens in the Odyssey. A sailor is tied to the mast of his ship so that he cannot follow the call of the Sirens in the ancient Greek poem. 


Key Formal Elements: 

  • Large wooden boat is focal point for the image
  • Visual texture in the mountain, sky, and sides of the boat


Make the Connection:

Snug Harbor can sometimes refer to a safe or comfortable place. How does the story of the sailor resisting the charms of the Sirens refer to this business’s sense of place?

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Mural

Location: 1510 Central Avenue back wall in the parking lot at corner of Central Avenue and Thomas Avenue

Artists: Matt Hooker, Matt Moore, Nick Napoletano

Date: 2016

Media: Spray Paint

Artist Info: @hookermedia, @puckmcgruff, @napoletanoart


Story: Large wall mural features a portrait of Brandy Alexander, a celebrated North Carolina drag queen, and uses her image to create awareness around the HB2 conflict and discrimination against the LGBT community. 


Key Formal Elements:

  • Modeling or shading makes the face look three-dimensional
  • Floating necklace creates a sense of implied motion in contrast to her intense stare and solid stance


Make the Connection:

The use of iconography or symbols in this artwork is important. Who is Pat McCrory and what was his role in Charlotte?  Why is his portrait delicately included in the cameo earrings? How does the gender-neutral charm at the end of the pearl necklace relate to the HB2 issue? What may be the significance of the breaking shackles?

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Wall Poem

Location: 1500 Central Avenue side wall and back wall on the electrical boxes

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

Date: 2016 

Media: Acrylic Paint

Artist Info: @wallpoems, @muralshop, @grahamcarew


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. “Love Comes Quietly” is a poem by Robert Creeley, an influential American poet associated with the Black Mountain Poets. 


Key Formal Elements: 

  • Notice the asymmetrical balance of the text and the mural

Make the Connection:

Creeley was known for the emotions in his poetry. What emotions do you feel when you read his poem and see the art that accompanies it? How does the emotional quality of his work fit into the artwork’s surroundings? Also don’t forget to walk around the building to the Central Avenue side and look up to see the other part of the work. 

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Mural

Location: 1429 Central Avenue on side wall of The Nook apartment building

Artists: Matt Hooker, Matt Moore, Tucker Sward

Date: 2017

Media: Spray Paint

Artist Info: @hookermedia, @puckmcgruff


Story:  This massive mural on the side of an apartment building greets you with the formidable figure of Poseidon, the god of the sea in ancient Greek mythology.


Key Formal Elements:

  • Primary color of blue on the left and primary color of red on the right meet in the middle and merge into purple tones
  • Scale matters

Make the Connection:

The artists speak about using the primary colors of red and blue in a symbolic way. In their mural, the red and the blue combine to form purple. How might this be symbolic of the divided political environment of today?  Also, the use of Poseidon from the ancient Greeks brings some relevance to a 2500-year-old culture. Why make that connection? What does that say about our culture today?

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Mural

Location: 1319 Pecan Avenue on side wall of Providence Auto Service 

Artist: Nick Napoletano

Date: 2017

Media: Spray Paint

Artist Info: @napoletanoart


Story: This 250-foot wall mural starts on the far-right side of the building closest to Pecan and features a small girl holding a rod with fishing line. Follow the line to the left, and turn the corner to see the catch. 


Key Formal Elements:

  • Blue concentric circles create the illusion of movement in the water
  • Line leads your eye to the surprising catch


Make the Connection:

Stand on the water bubble floating in the parking lot to see the perspective and optical illusion that make you question what is real.

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Alley Mural

Location: 1401 Central Avenue on the back wall of the alley behind Midwood Smokehouse

Artist: Desism KTC-MPC

Date: 2016

Media: Spray Paint

Artist Info: @thedesism


Story: Superheroes are the subject matter of this mural covering the wall that hides the trash collection areas for the restaurant. 


Key Formal Elements:

  • Outline – heavy use of line in the figure of Spiderman
  • Polychromatic color scheme


Make the Connection:

Spiderman, Captain America, Ironman and other superheroes are the subject matter of this mural. Even Moms are depicted as superheroes. 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: 1226 Central Avenue

Artist: Georgie Nakima

Date: 2018

Media: Acrylic Paint

Artist Info: @gardenofjourney


Story: Georgie Nakima is a Charlotte-based artist who completed this mural for the inaugural Talking Walls Mural Festival in 2018. Three larger-than-life-size female faces boldly occupy the main space of the mural along the side wall of the hair salon. Nakima creates strong and fierce women in her art as a way to empower women of color and all womanhood. 


Key Formal Elements:

  • Complementary color scheme of the orange background and blue figures
  • Use of light blue outline at each edge

Make the Connection:

The women in her mural represent the growing cultural aesthetic of afrofuturism and its emphasis on examining African culture and technology. Think Black Panther. Nakima’s background in math and the sciences is often expressed in her work through her use of geometry, patterns and nature which connects her art to ancient artistic cultures. Which features of the faces demonstrate strength to you? Which features look futuristic? 

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Mural

Location: 1300 Central Avenue

Artist: Tucker Sward

Date: 2019

Media: Acrylic Paint

Artist Info: @t.v.c.k


Story: Local artist Tucker Sward painted this mural for Talking Walls 2019. Sward, who studied at UNCC and apprenticed with muralists duo Matt Hooker and Matt Moore, is also a tattoo artist. His recent works include murals at Camp North End and Myers Park Baptist Church.


Key Formal Elements: 

  • Asymmetrical Balance
  • Focal point of the white sphere

Make the Connection:

Sward suggests a sense of wonder and discovery with this portrait of his sister staring intently at a white ball of light mysteriously escaping her hand. Use of a black and white value scale contrasted with the unusual colors may suggest two realities.  Perhaps the white sphere symbolizes the blank canvas of an artist or the blank canvas of our lives.  The colorful bolts could be a metaphor for imagination.    

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Mural

Location: 1306 Central Avenue 

Artist: Valeriya Volkova

Date: 2019

Media: Acrylic Paint

Artist Info: @valtastic


Story: Valeriya Volkova 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:

  • Repetition of the purple pods
  • Organic shapes 

Make the Connection:

Volkova likes to paint cities, houses, and landscapes of your imagination. Her fantasy worlds are connected to Surrealist painters like Salvador Dali and the world of comics. In this mural, individual purple islands flow across the wall of the building. Perhaps, but maybe not, this is a commentary on social isolation. Or just a fun, colorful imaginary place. What do you think?