I wanted to focus on art that strays a little bit farther away from Milwaukee as well as something more recent. I found the 500 Main Murals in Lacrosse were finished just this September. There were 8 artists working on the collaboration and in my personal opinion I like the murals there better than Black Cat Alley.
One news website that reported on it lists contact info from the coordinator, so I have reached out to her to get names of the artists so that I can ask them what their experience was like, how the public have reacted, why they chose to make the work they made, how the pieces work in conjunction to each other and the surrounding area, and how they feel culture shapes a community specifically talking about art. The published photography of the murals in nothing special and it is hard to see, so I am hoping to go drive to Lacrosse and source the photos myself.
I wanted to focus on murals that were not too deep in meaning, as well as murals I was drawn to, because I think it will allow for the artists to talk more about their inspirations, and focus on the main question about the culture of the art community with local communities. The more digging I do, the more potential for a strong article I see coming along.
How does culture shape a community? Michael Jacobs, who has a bachelors in psychology and masters in anthropology, defines culture as “meaning the sum total of all learned knowledge and behavior that is passed on from generation to generation in a given society. That includes everything except for those hard-wired instincts and processes that are part of our genetic makeup, such as, the way our brains process visual or auditory images, the way we smile, and other human universals.” Cultures of specific communities are all unique in their own ways, whether it be technology, cuisine, economy, religion, politics, clothing, music, art, and more. Through my writing I will be exploring the way physical art shapes a community, through artist both local and distant.
The first artist I settled on for an interview is a traveling duo who resided in Milwaukee for 2 years and created the "Milwaukee Monster Mural" near the third ward that many Milwaukeeans are familiar with. The mural on 1st St. and Pittsburgh Ave near Colectivo is influenced by indigenous masks from around the world, not specifically referencing any particular culture. Open for interpretation from person to person, the primary intent of the piece is to flood viewers with positive emotions. Done by the Couto brothers, their portfolio of work is based on pattern play and cultural references that spark joy in the eyes of the viewers. Although they are not local to Milwaukee, their work resides there permanently and affects the people who pass it everyday. I have reached out to the brothers via instagram for an interview either skype or written, and am waiting to hear back. I am going to ask them how they think art shapes a community, how they believe putting their art into the world shapes communities, art that inspires them, and how art can connect people.