C.B.: Another late night in the studio last night. It’s cool to see parts of the mural come together and starting to watch the metamorphic progression from a series of 5x5 panels to a large-scale mural. Ernel knocked out the Dice Raw portrait at the crib, so we’re officially on the way to bringing the legendary Roots supergroup from all the ages to life!
K.J.: Things are starting to really pick up, but not out of the mud yet. Each month, there is a struggle to get studio rent. Sometimes things happen to show that you are walking on the right path. The day before rent was due, we did not have it all together. We got hit with our first job from within the building. We pulled an all-nighter and finished a backdrop project for a lady, Anna, on our floor, who sells oils, objects, bags and things. It was painful in the moment, but we, as a group, made it happen. That timing of the project almost made it seem like it was sent from above. It also is another project in a long line that strengthens our bond as a group. Some high-stress instances like these might cause conflict in others, but for us, it brings us together.
K.J.: History repeats while sometimes aiming to defeat / runners’ stride for distant lines / their Achilles heels are broken
Tragedy at the Boston Marathon. Not understanding why this race was a target. To target athletes or artists as an institution is a lame action of intent, an atrocious attempt at a statement. Feeling very appreciative of positive influences. Mural Arts as a career initiator. Friends, family. New blossoms of life and relationships. Other opportunities that are coming to life. My last ounces of health and freedom. No such tragedies to date. A number of tragedies averted. Life, with the opportunity of growth.
C.B.: I like the very specific requests we’ve been getting from the band, like “Can you tighten up my beard?” or “Is it possible to add a chew stick in my mouth?” I think usually, when a mural is approved, changes are frowned upon and often denied, but we’ve been more than happy to accommodate The Roots and how they will be immortalized on South Street. The group always comes with good ideas; their requests are never a burden. And we find them quite comical.
K.J.: The wall continues—definitely crash time. Within two weeks, we see the light at the end of the tunnel. Need things to align to truly finish. Saddened by thought I will be absent the last week. … The energy and air on South Street day and night is intoxicating. The importance of the work we are doing on the wall is garnished by the response and reaction we get, both in content and mural design.
C.B.: Getting down to the last week! The final countdown! The mural has come a long way. We’ve had our fair share of obstacles, but we’re in a good place with the painting, and I must say, it’s looking quite epic. We’re working around the clock to meet our dedication deadline. We have the flood lights to work nights, rotating painting shifts to keep a brush moving at all times and the motivation “specials” at Bob and Barbara’s has to offer right down the street. As the scaffolding comes down, and the mural is revealed, the people of Philadelphia will be given a legendary piece of public art, the band will have a much-deserved homage and visual stamp on the city, and Amber Art & Design will have had the honor of making it all happen.
The Roots Mural Dedication is Fri., May 31, 11:30am. World Communications Charter School, 512 S. Broad St. muralarts.org